Tragedy can cause us either to become bitter or better. Scarlett Lewis lost her little boy Jesse in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She made a choice early on in the midst of her grief to choose life and to forgive. Not everyone can muster that kind of courage. But if it can be found, and shared, it becomes a very powerful message indeed, spoken from the most extraordinary and unique platform.
Years ago, a friend of ours lost her husband in a robbery. At his funeral, she stood up and said something that I will never forget. She challenged us all (as well as herself, I would imagine) to choose forgiveness, not for the sake of the murderer, but for our own sakes. She said if we harbour hate it will fester and harm us. It will eat at us from the inside out. She was right, but at that moment, it was only she who could say it.
The title of this book comes from three words Scarlett Lewis discovered on her kitchen chalkboard after the shooting. They were in a misspelled child’s script – Jesse’s script. It was as if Jesse himself was encouraging her and telling her how she should go on without him. Finding hope amidst a series of comforting signs such as this, and benefitting from a solid faith, Lewis was able to move towards healing. In this little book she openly shares her journey. She spoke at Jesse’s funeral and asked everyone who was at the service to consciously change every angry thought to a loving one – to always choose love. Her “Choose Love” campaign resulted in this book and the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation which develops programs that teach children about the power each of us has to choose a life without fear and hate.