From Darkness To A Better Place

How do you corral twenty mischievous little angels? From Madison School Superintendent Thomas Scarice, "a message of hope that I wrote for the Madison community."


Darkness.  Darkness during the season of lights.  Candles and trees muted.  The din of holiday cheer brought to a despondent whisper.  Hopelessness and despair settle in like the dark grey clouds of a looming storm.  A voice calls and they gather on a raw Sabbath night.  A dim light appears in the form of a candle, followed by hundreds more.  They come together because that is all they could do.  They light a candle because that is all they could do.  One light ignites another.  Suddenly, the candlelight burns like a torch.  They awake and the light burns.  The light burns in the form of a teacher’s fragile open arms extended to her little ones, awaiting their arrival for a new day, while her insides tremble with sadness and anxiety.  The light burns in the form of a uniformed officer gently smiling at a child, backpack in tow, watching over him as he gleefully skips through the familiar doors that will never be the same.  The light burns in the form of a lifelong resident, whose empty nest has now since quieted, and he nods a show of support as a tear slides down his cheek.  The light burns in the primal voice of a dad crying out to keep his baby safe.  The light burns in the form of a group of young adults who scamper to adorn the walls of a new school, miles away, with letters and pictures to welcome the little ones who have been broken.  And the light burns, and the light burns…

Yet, their imaginations have been violated, pierced by unspeakable images.  But now, the light burns a new image in their minds.  An image of restored innocence and flesh made whole again.  Of precious young minds without recollection.  Memories only of bliss.  And the light burns an image of the twenty newest angels as they mischievously play on the soft floor, as soft as mommy’s hand caressing their face before wishing “good night."  They roll and giggle, they chase and tickle.  And the great Sandy Hook Book Fairy smiles.  No recollection, only bliss.  The chatter of busy little angels grows.  “How did my teddy get here?” asks an angel. “There’s no such thing as unicorns," declares another.  “Oh yeah, how about that one?” the impish one protests.  “We fly every night, don’t we girl?” as the unicorn bows her head and drags her front hoof on the soft floor.  And yet another, “This fireman’s hat fits perfect!  Now where’s that hose?”  And quietly, off to the side, a tiny hand presses into a familiar baseball glove as the scent of the leather and memories of a toss with daddy seep into his mind.  And the Book Fairy smiles.  How do you corral twenty mischievous little angels?  She has learned from her helpers, the ones who have followed her here with the angels.  “One, two, three, eyes on me.”  And giggles soften.   She feigns a stern look as their eyes smirk to each other.  And the Book Fairy smiles.  They set their gaze on her, waiting for the Book Fairy to read a story.  She holds the book and gazes back, smiling as if they all know a secret but won’t share it.  And they wait, with the same anticipation and wonder of child at the holiday season.  And they wait, more assured than those left behind that mommy will be OK, daddy will be ok.  Sister and brother will be OK.  Friends and family will be OK.  The thousands that shed tears will be OK.  And they wait with the patience of an angel in a better place knowing they will be joined…and blissfully, they wait.

Pem McNerney December 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Thank you Tom! This is both beautiful and creative. I appreciate you sharing it, particularly today.
jennifer December 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Betsy December 22, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Beautiful! Thanks for putting this into words. We are lucky to have you leading our schools.
Ann Sherer December 23, 2012 at 05:21 AM
This is beautiful and should be printed in the NY Times!


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