What do you do when the world seems full of darkness? Fill it with light. I had the talk with my kids today – the “bad people exist and there’s nothing we can do about them but there’s something we can do about us” talk.

I’d say it went well. I was the only one who cried and no one vomited and they’re currently asleep safe in their beds, hopefully with dreams of sugarplums in their little noggins. I wanted them to hear about Connecticut from me, not from their friends at school.

Today’s massacre makes me sad and sick and steers me toward hopeless. But after getting advice from my wise sister, I told my kids what I needed to hear. We cannot change other people. We can love them. We can pray for them. But we cannot control their decisions. We can only control our own.

So for every crazy, merciless, mentally ill terrorist who destroys life, and light, and innocence in this world, for every act of darkness, I need to do a thousand acts of light. The only way we win is by living better, by pushing back harder, by loving, and by nurturing in tiny and slightly less tiny ways and then repeating. Darkness only wins when the good people of the world stop generating light.

We will never do that.

For every bully who tears someone down, I will build up 10 people. For every guy that cuts someone off in traffic, I will let three people go ahead of me. For every senseless act of violence, I will perpetrate enough acts of love and beauty to help me start to forget the sharp pang of first hearing about it. The ache will never fully go away. But that’s okay. The ache is a reminder of how much work there is for me to do.

If I am part of the light, I need to commit every day to shine brighter, to love stronger. We can never. Ever. Give up. We can never let Sandy Hook be the world we live in. It’s not even an option.

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44 Responses to Light

  1. Nancy says:

    You are able to say what we all feel. Thanks for your words and inspiration!

  2. Heather says:

    Thank you for this.

  3. Jenetta says:

    Thank you so much for putting this feeling into words. Too much I get mired down in the dark things of this world and feel so hopeless I can’t see that there is any good. Thank you for helping me feel the stirrings of hope again.

  4. papaclint says:

    I am so proud of you, my darling daughter.

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  6. MamaChristy says:

    Wonderfully, eloquently put. Thank you.

  7. elin young says:

    Thank you, Sweetheart for expressing what is in my mind and heart so well. When I was first exposed to violence, I remember thinking that I never wanted to bring children into this scary world. But I came to understand that it is only by loving and being loved that we can overcome evil and try to improve our own lives and the lives of others. You and your siblings have been a blessing to me and are making the world a better place – one kind and gentle act at a time. We feel empathy for those who suffer – because their sorrow impacts us all. We pray for comfort and direction in how to move forward. And we try to live more Christ-like lives and to make things better. I still believe that most people are good and caring individuals. May we band together in reaching out to others and in being the very best we can be, as a tribute to the innocent and a way of honoring our God.

  8. thanks. I need to tell my kids. I was hoping they’d never hear but I’m wrong. I need to prepare myself with advice like you’ve got here and then get this over with.

  9. KirstyB says:

    These were the words I needed to hear today as I prepare to talk to my own 4th grader about yesterday’s events. Thank you for being so eloquent and giving me the words I need at a time when I cannot even begin to fathom what exactly to say.

  10. Heidi says:


    And, so happy to have found you again.

  11. Melinda says:

    Thank you. Thank you for being the light.

  12. Michele in CT says:

    Well said. Your words are very thought provoking and soothing.
    This normally cool, collected mom of a 17 year old has completely lost it over this one. The urge to understand is completely stunted by the horrible shock.
    I agree completely with your thoughts and feelings, and will sit with my son again tonight to share this with him – it will completely thwart the sense of helplessness he feels – we all feel.

  13. Tracey says:

    Thank you reminding us that we can only control what we ourselves do. Kindness begets kindness and if we fill our world with love, it can only multiply.
    I too will pass on the light and will spend this Christmas season teaching my young children to do the same.

  14. Joan Allison says:

    Thanks for saying what I needed to hear. Light is what I needed, you just gave me some. Thanks again.

  15. Valerie says:

    Thank you Kathryn! We can only control the controllables and how we respond. I am praying and that is the most I can do. I cannot get them back and cannot prevent the bad from happening around me. Protect how you can while still living your life and love unconditionally

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  17. Pam in Utah says:

    Great Post dearest DYM. That reminded me of Christ’s example that I think of when really bad things happen. It’s the story of what Christ did right after he heard of his best friend (so to speak)John the Baptists’ cruel martyrdome. He went into the mountains and all those who followed him, he cured all their illnesses. Those that were lame or blind or whatever were cured. And there were lots. Now ThaT was a great way to fight the evil that was just exhibited. I love that story because it reminds us Christ is in charge, and we can choose an abundance of good over evil, too. Like you said.

  18. Rachel says:

    I came via Mir @ Woulda Coulda Shoulda. Well said. Thank you.

  19. squib says:

    Thank you for this. I came here via Mir as well, and your post is an answer to prayer. I’ve been feeling sick, and sad, and angry, and helpless. I actually asked God out loud today, “Okay, we can be sad and horrified, and we can pray, but what are we supposed to DO?”

    This is what we’re supposed to do. Thank you for reminding me.

  20. Keri-Ann says:

    Well done, K. <3

  21. Katherine Hutchinson says:

    This is literally the most helpful and inspirational thing I have read all weekend. I am a psychologist, and I will take your words and message with me as I in turn help the families I serve. Thank you.

  22. Kelly says:

    Hi, I’m Ortensia’s sister-in-law, and I was directed here through her sharing it on Facebook. I was so touched and inspired by what you wrote. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you!

  23. A beautiful blog~very inspirational. Found your blog recently, as I am a new blogger. I started blogging after More Magazine published an article that I wrote on the website. I look forward to following you and invite you to check out my blog at Thank you.

  24. Stacey says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful words. I teach 1st graders… my heart is aching for everyone at Sandy Hook. I love how you are choosing to respond. And can some of our light and energy and love work towards banning assault weapons and helping our fellow humans who suffer from mental health diseases? Please? We can’t let this keep happening, we have to be better than this.

  25. ememby says:

    Yes, because evil exists. But we can choose not to perpetuate it. Because a single candle can cast out the darkness from a room. Darkness might close in, but it will not win.

  26. shawni says:

    This is so very beautifully said. I hope you don’t mind if I link up to this post from my blog. It inspired me so much. Thank you for sharing your eloquent thoughts.
    Love, Shawni

  27. Beth F says:

    This is a beautiful post, and it inspired me to do a thousand acts of light. Around my town, there will be little cards going along with random acts of kindness that say:

    “For every act of darkness, I need to do a thousand acts of light”
    -Kathryn Thompson
    For the kids and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary.
    Pass it on and spread the light.

    I hope you don’t mind I’m using your inspiring quote :0)

  28. Vicki says:

    Perfectly said. Thanks.

  29. I love this perspective! It is SO true! Thank you!

  30. Mychael-Ann says:

    This great post made me think of a favorite quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland: “So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back.”

  31. For each light there is love, with love there is forgiveness. With forgiveness, there is hope. With hope the possibilities in life are endless even with the evil – good will win. Love wins, it always wins.

  32. Christine says:

    You are part of the light. Thanks for sharing it – a wonderful holiday present.

  33. Jo says:

    I came here from Shawni’s site. So inspiring, thank you so much. x x x

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  35. Julie Swaisgood says:

    Please know that your words can be considered hundred acts of compassion, kindness, and blessings, as I’m sure this post will be shared all over the world. I have had such a hard time wrapping my head around this particular event. I still don’t understand, as I’m sure there is never an understanding of something so senseless, but I realize now that it can’t be stopped, but maybe it can be coped with better. I am a grown woman, and am having difficulty with this, so I’m sure our dear children and grandchildren are at a loss. It is up to us to provide the comfort, the support and the emotional outlet that will allow our kids to know that with each small act of kindness, we can make this world a better place…in spite of those whose harbor ill thoughts, or evil acts. God Bless You.

  36. Cristina says:

    I love what you said. Thanks

  37. Victoria says:

    You are a life saver, I was in the most darkness moment in my life, a person hurts my life in a way that I never believe can recover, I was engry, upset and negative for several months and then you bring the light I was praying for and the answers were here in your comments. I was doing the same she did to me and I hurting everyone around me even my family. Today I want to be the person I was before; happy, loving and care person and I started doing 10 good things with my two little angels and husband and everything change and I am so happy and I’m my self again. Yesterday we were in a rush hour in downtown and in each stop light we let 3 and sometimes 4 persons let go ahead of us and even we had a hard time with money because my husband was 8 months with out work we spend our extra money buying some little presents for our neighbors and leaving it by their doors and running away was so much fun :). Then to finish our wonderfull day we we went to the bank on the morning to cash some checks and they gave us $20 dlls extra and we return on the afternoon and give the money back to the cashier and she can not believe it. Thanks forever !!

  38. Darlene Williams says:

    We live in a very rural area and we feel safe until something like this happens. We left California in 1975 and moved back to our birth place. There were armed guards in the hall way of our high school in 1975. Our town is 1 mile square and until this happened we felt safe. We can run but we can’t hide. This was beautiful and thank you for bringing light into our lives on the day before the birth of our Savior. This is beautiful . Nothing more needs to be said.

  39. Beth F says:

    For some reason I get an error when I try to reply to my thread above. Oh well! I’ve done about 10 random acts of kindness, leaving your quote behind. They have all made my heart happy!

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