Monday dawned on a new week, seven days from Christmas Eve, three days after the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut.

Like many, my first thought last Friday was for the people known to me there. In a town of 27,000 souls everybody is known to one another, even if only in passing. And in a world of Internet communication, many more are known to one another well beyond passing. Today I am grateful for the speed, the immediacy, and for the intimacy that this ultra-modern tool provides us to reach out in simple ways. Warren Sautebin, my minister growing up, taught me a valuable lesson that I apply here today: community matters. My grandmother, Clara Bartow Legg, who passed on before I was born, put that same thought into a personal measure: Whether you know it or not you live by what you believe. This was her one sentence legacy to me and it is the core of my life’s work.

Experts appearing on television news and talk shows have had a lot to say about the people who perpetrate violent crimes like the Sandy Hook shootings. The profiles are often similar, ending with a two-prong observation: a complete disconnection from their own humanity and the thought that they can leave a legacy in these final acts of their lives. I would suggest instead that those who commit such crimes are disconnected from their divinity, that which unites all of us, as well as their own true purpose in the world that would have been their legacy. Another name for this essential spiritual union is shared creativity. One of those expert voices lifted this light today, saying that in teaching our children the power of creativity the need to destroy is vanquished.

Another expert, a Columbine survivor, also spoke of legacies, those of the children of Newtown, Connecticut, who lived. His thought was that because they were so young they did not fully comprehend what had happened yet. They would, of course, over the years to come. Time and understanding, as he had experienced himself, and witnessed in his classmates, strengthens personal gifts, inspiring greatness in those remaining. He gave me hope that this time may indeed be different. And that is a profound legacy.

Community matters. Warren Sautebin shared this legacy with me and many others in his forty years of ministry. Whether you know it or not you live by what you believe. That is my grandmother’s legacy to me. I’ve been aware of that spirit of creative wholeness, love and belonging longer that anything else in my life. Living that consciously is a daily choice and promise. I believe that time and understanding strengthens personal gifts, inspiring greatness in all of us. My hope is that I create a legacy worth remembering that builds on what I have been given. I hold this hope for all of us.

Author's Bio: 

Cory L. Kemp, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, brings a background in communications, women’s studies and pastoral ministry to her work as a communication coach. Putting into practice the journaling skills she created and teaches, Cory founded Communication Leadership, helping healers, coaches, designers and teachers collect their thoughts, organize and savor their everyday lives. Cory’s unique skill-based Conversation: Journaling program gives you practical tools and simple structures applicable for many aspects of your personal and professional life. Over thirty-five years of journaling experience gives Cory an informed perspective on life challenges and how to transform them into triumphs. Connect with Cory at