Entering this new year, we are feeling more world weary than ever before after a fateful 2012 that saved its worst for last. It was a year that rebranded Newtown from that “nicer” place to what one network news anchor called “the saddest place on earth.” But these labels are mostly for those on the outside looking in — convenient classifications, evocations, for those who can’t ever quite know a place where they don’t live. The irony is that if you really want to know how nice Newtown is, looking at it through a prism crystallized by sorrow may give the best view of its goodness.
Sorrow is such a profound emotion because it is calibrated and measured on the scale of love, which amplifies the best and worst of times. The deep hole of sorrow 2012 left in this town is filling quickly, however, with even deeper reserves of empathy, compassion, and willing action on behalf of others that flow just below the surface of Newtown’s various routines and traditions. While it is not part of those Yankee traditions to emote much about love in the context of community life — we use words like responsibility and accountability instead — we are counting on love to amplify our efforts to help each other to know our town as a place that defies whatever labels a given year may affix to our experience — a place where human lives play out against an indelible backdrop of mutual caring and support.
With that in mind, we welcome the new year, for better or worse, knowing that wherever it leads us, we are starting out in the right place.