Dear Matt and Martha
Matt, I know you’ve been a busy man, in the wake of the tragedy in your beautiful Connecticut town. What’s worse is that it takes an act of violence to make people remember how much someone means to them. I’ve been wanting to get in touch with you for a while, and just let you know how much you both (you all, really) have meant to me, but as we know, time marches forward, begins to get away from us, and the next thing we know, days, weeks, months have passed, until suddenly we are snapped back into the moment by a single event that never should have happened.
I was just entering high school when I first met you both – new church pastor and his super cute wife in small-town, Podunk, NH. No kids, didn’t know anyone in town… so it was a good thing it was a small town, because EVERYONE wanted to know you! But, you brought your enthusiasm, your passion, and your joie de vivre to our tiny little community.
And it was well received.
The church congregation loved your energy every Sunday. You both are such approachable people, and you were able to fit right in with the community. And to top it off, you resurrected the youth group!
Man, we had some times didn’t we? I don’t think I’ll ever forget that mission trip to Connecticut, in which I came home with “more battle scars than Schwarzkopf” (I believe that was what you said the Sunday after we returned). Or the Youth Group Christmas parties. Enjoying pizza in your dining room. Making crafts, telling jokes, and having a great time.
Time went on, we got older, you had your first daughter, I went to college… but somehow, you both still managed to be there for everyone, and yet still make it feel like, in that moment, you were only there for that one person. I can’t figure out how you did that! But boy do I know that when I hit some rough patches in my life, I was able to come to you both, Matt and Martha, and tell you just what my situations were, and have you both offer your guidance without once feeling judged. You helped me become a stronger person than I was. Looking back on it now, it was as if you both were the older siblings I never had.
You had more children, I had several stints with college that didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped. I babysat for your kids, pet sat for your dogs, house sat for you when you traveled. You helped me find a path back to life after some depressing moments, encouraged me to return to college, celebrated with me when I got married.
When I found out you were moving to CT, despite the fact that I was living in the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire at that point, it was almost like a punch in the gut. What did everyone mean, you guys were moving? My little town wouldn’t be the same.
But again, time marched forward.
The town of Newtown, CT, is so fortunate to have you in their midst. The Newtown Congregational Church, as I am quite sure they are aware, is fortunate to have you at the helm, and when you, Matt, addressed the memorial attendees, President Obama, and the country on December 16th, I was so thrilled to say that I knew you… That I have had the pleasure of talking with you, and that it was a very “Classically Matt” speech that was given.
“‘We needed this. We needed to be together, here in this room, in the gymnasium, outside the doors of this school, in living rooms around the world. These darkest days of our community shall not be the final word heard from us.'”
It wasn’t just that I could hear you saying it on my TV. It was that I could close my eyes, and still see you saying it. I could picture that being said back in our little church in small-town New Hampshire.
So what am I trying to say amidst my ramblings? I’m not really sure. I think there is a “Thank you” wrapped up in there somewhere, along with an “I love you both.”
Thank you for truly being the kind of people that I, and others, can admire. Thank you for being strong leaders in a communities time of need. Thank you for being parents that young families can look up to for guidance.
Thank you for being non-judgemental, for caring, for believing.
Thank you for being you.
With much love always,
Melissa “Missy” C.