Six-year-old Emilie Parker loved making art and playing with her family. Last December, she became concerned about children who wouldn’t have gifts for Christmas. So she went into her room with a box marked “Toys for Kids” and began to fill it up with her toys. It became her last project. On December 14, Emilie was one of 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, 20 of them children.
Sandy Hook: Evil did not win
In preparation for the one-year anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, Alissa Parker narrated a tribute to her daughter. It’s one of the most moving videos I’ve ever seen. She calls Emilie “one of the most giving and selfless people I’d ever met. It’s hard to imagine a world that didn’t have that goodness and that selflessness in it.”
Her family’s pain was beyond words. At one point, “we received a box from the police of Emilie’s clothing that she was wearing. I had to see how she was hurt. And that pain is indescribable. I felt so consumed with how evil can be so powerful, and that evil won.”
Then letters began arriving at their home: “There was an overwhelming response from millions of people, well-wishers, people praying for us, people sending us things. I truly started to feel this obvious strength and power, and that lifted me, that lifted my family. It was time to finish what she wanted done.”
So Emilie’s parents helped begin a school safety advocacy group. Since Emilie loved to paint, they initiated a project to connect children in need with art. Emilie was concerned for poor children, so they helped arrange emergency response medical care in Guatemala.
Then came the hardest question: “People ask, ‘But where was your God when this happened? Why didn’t he stop it?'” Alissa responds: “God allowed others to kill his Son. He allows for us all to make our own choices, good and bad, because that’s the only way good can be in us, is if we freely choose it over all else.”
This is a profound thought I’d never considered before. When we do the right thing from reflex or instinct, others may call our actions “good,” but good is not “in us.” When we do the right thing for the wrong reason, the same is true. Only when we choose to do good can we be good.
So our Father made a world in which lowly field hands can choose to celebrate his Son’s birth, in which lepers and prostitutes and priests and wealthy business leaders can choose to make him their King, in which “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). It’s our choice.
Alissa Parker concludes: “Evil did not win that day. We’ll carry on that love like she had. It’s quiet, it’s not on the news, it takes effort to find it. But what I’ve realized through all this is how strong and how big God’s love really is.”
Will evil win today?
People, Places and Pastimes attempts to offer differing opinions on all kinds of subjects from all types of people in a way that will challenge our perceptions and help us to better understand our differences, while drawing us closer together as responsible individuals.