As you get older, a year can seem to go by quite fast. I’ve heard it said, “The days are long, but the years are fast.” That makes perfect sense to me. Sometimes, when you’re in that day, in that moment, it can seem to go on forever, like the day will never end. Then you look back on a year and you can’t believe you ever had days like that because you just got used to writing down the correct year and now it’s on to the next one?!
A lot can happen in a year. It’s 365 days later, so something has to give. right? Last year at this time, it was just Adam and me. Now I have this furry creature running around the house and I can’t remember what it was like to not have her running around chewing all my nice things. Today I’m sitting peacefully at home listening to Christmas music, watching it snow and enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon with my husband. This day last year? Not so much. I was sitting at work, listening to the radio and becoming numb each second that went by hearing of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I’m sure most of us were.
A year ago today. 365 days ago. 8,760 hours ago. To us maybe those hours flew. But to the families of those victims, I highly doubt it. In any tragedy, no matter how much time goes by, it always seems like yesterday. 365 days ago, there was a horrific tragedy. However, 364 days ago, there was a tragedy, too. 363 days ago, as well and 362 and 361 and … you get the picture. Unfortunately in life there’s tragedy everyday. There was a tragedy yesterday in Colorado. Another school shooting. It’s almost normal to hear. That’s sad. Very, very sad.
Just a few days after the Sandy Hook shooting, I had the opportunity to go there in person and pay my respects, pray with folks and listen to their stories. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
On December 14, 2012, I was so incredibly close to giving up on humanity. Weren’t we all? Then I visited Newtown. And after I did so, I remember driving home feeling something in my heart I hadn’t felt in some time. Even in my anger, I had a sense of peace. I realized one thing, even spoke it out-loud alone in my car, maybe saying it to God or maybe just saying it to myself, or maybe I was yelling it out to the devil himself, I don’t know. But as tears streamed down my face, driving on the parkway on a late Friday night, I blurted out,
“You know what?! LOVE STILL WINS!”
I kind of laugh now, because I’m not too sure who I was talking to, but I felt like I just needed to yell it out. Ever have those moments? I do. Maybe it’s just me. I can be weird sometimes. In the moment, though, it just felt so right. My emotions were all over the place after seeing all I saw that day and what I saw was love. Love was sewn into every stuffed animal, every sign, every note, every tree, every light, every person, every rain drop that fell that day. It was freezing. It was wet. It was somber. It was quiet. But it was surrounded by and intertwined with love.
My vow that day was to never give up on the power of love. In all its forms. Because love really does conquer all. Love is the epitome of God himself. “God is Love,” the bible says. Love really does win. We cannot change what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. I so wish I could. More often than not we are not going to stop a tragedy from happening. But in those tragedies we can find ways to expose our sole purpose for living: To love God and love each other. When we do this, no tragedy wins. I repeat, no tragedy wins.
The love inside of us is stronger than we will ever know. And when you don’t spend your days giving out that love and finding ways to love one another, the most precious gift God has given us is wasted. I beg of you do not waste the love that’s inside your heart. Show it, in all forms. Tragedy may strike again tomorrow. Don’t waste our most powerful weapon we have to beat it.
So on Christmas morning, when you’re nestled in with your family, opening gifts and celebrating, don’t take it for granted. Cherish it. And remember not only the families struck by the Sandy Hook tragedy, but to all those around us who simply need a little more love this year. If you have plenty to give, give it. Someone may really need it.
The evil that took place at Sandy Hook took a lot from us. Our hearts are pierced and broken, especially for those directly involved. I cannot imagine and will not begin to imagine what these families are still going through today. But it didn’t take our love. It can never take our love.
Evil did not win one year ago today and it never will. Because God already DID.