My family has been to Newtown many times. It is where my wife Denise’s best friend Mira lived with her husband Tom and their two children, Jake and Emily. Our family spent weekends there before they moved to New Jersey some years back. Jake and Emily would have attended school at Sandy Hook Elementary. My memories of the area and people are nothing but pleasant.
In the immediate days following the Newtown school shooting, I found myself unable to even begin to comprehend the evil and hurt that had just occurred. The full realization that twenty beautiful children and six good teachers had been brutally murdered in an elementary school… Well, it was something I just could not fit into my head. People here at Factory Five were waiting for me to say something, but I had absolutely nothing that I could think to say. I am friends with a family who lost a child and I can tell you that no grand gesture can really make much of a difference. It is terrible, bitter, heart-breaking sorrow, plain and simple. In the face of those beautiful children and wonderful dedicated teachers being murdered, I certainly have no answers.
The obvious questions for all good people … “How can we help? How can we lessen the suffering? What can we DO?” The desire to do something is magnified by the peace and beauty of the Holiday season.
Like it does in times like this, my mind went to my own family, our friends, the people at work here at Factory Five, and the Factory Five community. In this company and community I’ve been witness to amazing kindness and fellowship. I know many stories of people helping each other in truly selfless ways. These stories, I rarely retell, at risk that some would believe I might use them for marketing spin rather than what they are, which is simply people helping others and living the way we all ought to.
The Factory Five community is indeed a remarkable one where people help each other and form life-long friendships around the shared passion of building these cars. My own family has been the recipient of great kindness and generosity from customers and friends connected to the Factory Five Community. The underlying truth of Factory Five is that the cars we have built, have in turn built friendships beyond value. It’s what we all DO and what we all LOVE that has made this happen. And there is the obvious answer, and none too original at that.
We can’t heal the suffering of a sick world or really soothe the pain of those in Newtown, Connecticut. What we CAN do is what we’ve been doing, just more of it. We can take more time to spread a smile, to listen to a friend who’s down, to lend a hand to a buddy who’s busy, and to add our small amount of goodness and fellowship to the people around us this season. My dad, who is today a Deacon in the Catholic Church, used to say to me growing up, “Are you going to curse the darkness or light a candle?” Well, I guess my small answer to the evil and darkness of the Newtown murders is simply to light my own candle and dedicate each small act of kindness this season to the precious memory of those children and good people lost last week.
There is evil in the world, no doubt about it. But I believe the road ahead is bright and filled with promise. We can make it that way. I hope you join me in the effort and I hope your family enjoys a peaceful and beautiful Christmas filled with love.