Posts Tagged ‘Newtown Lessons’

Newtown’s Legacy: What Are We Living?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Newtown’s Legacy: What Are We Living?

Written By Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Death is someone you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart. Thomas Merton

I’ve been sitting here for what seems like an eternity with a huge hole in my heart.

Surrounded by pictures of my grandchildren, I cannot get the images of death, destruction, pain, suffering, anger and despair recorded in Newtown, Connecticut, out of my mind.

The senseless slaughter of innocents and their teachers in the sacred space of a classroom torturers my soul. It defies logic and it challenges everything we believe about civilized behavior.

Call it whatever you want, there is no word to accurately describe or explain it. It is madness personified.

On Thursday, Kitch was in Newtown. She called it bucolic and peaceful. Today it resembles a war zone.

“Looking for America,” an article written by Gail Collins and published in the New York Times got me thinking. It opened my mind, and I wrote a comment. This is the long version of that comment:

On December 23, 1862, our greatest president Abraham Lincoln, a father who knew the pain caused by the premature death of a child, wrote these words to comfort a friend:
Dear Fanny

It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you have known before.

Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.

Your sincere friend
A. Lincoln

All these years later, Lincoln’s words ring true for people all over our country and the world who want to ease the pain of parents, teachers, grandparents and students in Newtown, Connecticut.

Several years ago, a child painted five words on a tile and hung it on the wall of tributes at the temporary memorial to the Heroes of Flight 93. Those words put everything in perspective for me.

“Hope is stronger than Death”

On December 14, 2012, we were driven to our knees because, like our 16th president, we had nowhere else to go.

Today we want the people of Newtown to know we are crying with you, praying for you and standing next to you.
We will not forget you in your hour of need.

I think it is safe to say that anyone who has followed this nightmare worries about the children who were in the school when it happened, and the millions of children who saw the coverage on TV. Innocents all. Impressionable all. In pain all.

Words written by Dorothy Law Nolte when I was a child might help us help them:

If a child lives with criticism,

he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.
If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.
If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.
With what is your child living?

In the shadow of the Newtown’s yesterday, we adults would be wise to ask ourselves what are we living?

The words of Thomas Merton will help us find our way from the
darkness of this long night of suffering into the light of healing and recovery.

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone-we find it with another. Thomas Merton

Please provide feedback to: