You Balance Out the Keening Pain of Newtown – UPDATED

“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

My goodness, you guys, I’m not easily moved to tears but the response to this request for toy donations on behalf of an outreach that had none to give — and the kindness and generosity that is so evident in your comments and emails — has more than once made me well up.

You’ve shared the post and notified family and parishes and tweeted it, and the response has been so heartening. Someone quoted Jerry Maguire to me yesterday, “we live in a cynical world…” but you are reaching out with full hands to complete strangers and saying, “yes, please take this; it’s making me happy to know someone is going to smile from this.” More than one of you have shared that giving a toy has been your Christmas gift to yourself.

There’s healing in this, I’m sure of it. So many have remarked that it feels good to donate toys to children when we are in such grief over the deaths of children — that here is some counterbalance to the heavy weight that has been carried in our hearts; perhaps the first assist to a leveling-off that will ultimately help us to move forward and move on.

My contact at Straight and Narrow admitted she almost doesn’t know what to do with all the gratitude she feels. Me too! I want to give something back to all of you, for all you’re giving. I really do feel a little like George Bailey, watching the whole town come up and joyfully explain what they’re doing.

And too, I feel a little like the narrator of “In the Bleak Mid-Winter…” “if I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb…”

UPDATE: Carol at the Family Success Center says that with what you have done, they may actually end up (again like George Bailey) in the unique circumstance of having more toys than they need. Talk about “a good measure and overflowing.” Thank you for what you’ve done.

Sometimes the best response in the face of so much goodness is simply to say “thank you” over and over again, but it also seems like a good time to remind people that, you all gad about, shining like the sun, and that if darkness sometimes seems to be getting the upper hand, it’s an illusion meant to bring us to despair. The light shiness in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.

Thank you.

And here, a little dono; a little gift, sweetly calm, full of people living normal lives, together, and taking a moment to be part of what is light:

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In your light, we see light

Advent Pictures of Christ

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Lisa Hendey

    Hooray – thanks for the happy tears that are being shed across my keyboard. What a blessing! I hope they can take a photo or two to share with us!

  • Kort

    Pictures of the kids enjoying the toys would be a fantastic thank you! And maybe information on where they sent any excess :-)

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  • Gerry

    and Barry balances that out by bullying the Little Sisters of the Poor

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  • Ashley M

    Yay! This is so exciting to hear! I’m so happy and thankful this worked out so wonderfully!

  • Lacey

    Yay! I was so hoping we’d read this news today!! Just what we all need right now, I think: a little Christmas miracle. And what a blessing to be a part of it. Thank you again for sharing with us!!

  • Margaret Rose Realy

    You offered us a lovely opportunity to begin healing from the fire storm. And the music…such balm!

  • Sarah

    Truly Good News! And Thank you for that beautiful hymn. One of my favourites!

  • Sue Roth

    I decided to try to respond in kindness to the tragic events of 12/14/12 in Newtown CT. For each of the 28 people who died, I am performing an act of kindness. With each act, I am giving a card explaining in whose name I’m doing a kindness and why. If you wish to download a copy of the card or learn more about it, please go to or, if you want a tiny url, to

  • Michael

    Just heard about the initial request and so happy to hear of the response. I would like to help as well, but sounds like they have an overflowing of toys… a cash donation more of a need now or does the Center have suggestions for other organizations near them in need?

    [Thank you, your so kind, I understand from someone else that even the Marines Toys for Tots program is falling short of toys...perhaps help them out? -admin]

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  • Kim Whelan

    I got notice this morning that the toys should arrive today or tomorrow! Thank you for giving us this easy way to make a difference!

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