Emily Parnell — The peace that passes understanding: Stepping into Mindy Corporon’s shoes

04/17/2014 2:19 PM

04/17/2014 2:19 PM

I want to be that woman.

It is a lofty goal. To be like her would be a worthy achievement requiring poise, faith and circumstance. Everyone in the city, in the country, is in awe.

I don’t want to be that woman. Her burden is beyond what I could bear. I’ll take another path, please and thank you. If asked to stand in her shoes, I’ll grab the hands of my loved ones and run far, far over the hills and never let go.

Mindy Corporon, who lost her son and father in a hate crime — allegedly shot by a man aiming at a religion he couldn’t even pick out of a crowd — please allow me to place a spotlight on you for just a moment. Let me thank you for taking the stand that we pray we’re not asked to take.

I know you don’t want credit, and that you don’t take credit for your strength. Many of us looking on understand where it comes from. We understand the peace that tempers our grief when one of our faith is placed to rest.

A million hearts ache for your loss, weeping together, and we hug our loved ones tighter in your son’s memory. I kissed my children this morning and called out that I loved them one last time, remembering that any goodbye could be the last goodbye.

What a heavy burden, to cherish every moment enough that if it’s the last, we can keep on keeping on. If, by car accident, stray bullets on the highway, a devastating tornado, this is the last time I see the ones I love, have I done enough? Did they know I loved them?

If I’m hit by a bus, if I was cross in the morning, will my family know it was just a fleeting moment? That it’s my love for them that rules? Could my husband let that last disagreement go and understand it was a drop in a bucket? A grain of sand on a mile of shoreline?

Can we let go?

Seeing your strength — hearing your assurance — witnessing your faith that we can say goodbye and move forward — your testament is tangible. Your family’s peace has drenched local news, graced CNN, offered peace on social media.

Our lives are minuscule — barely pinpricks allowing light to shine, here, into the dark side. It’s when the fabric of our life tears painfully that the light can shine brighter — offering a glimpse into the light of eternity. Thank you for sharing your light.

Bad things happen. I knew I was seeing bad things as I drove past Village Shalom that day — before the news crews arrived — as the murder suspect was surrounded in a parking lot — as you comprehended your losses, just blocks away. My friend was near you — she heard the shots that killed your loved ones. Her son was there. And my son’s friend is mourning your son. They were friends. The impact is so close to my own home — it gives me pause.

Your family hopes something good can come of this. And it will. Please know that somewhere, sometime, somehow, it will. Know that people who don’t know your secret — who don’t understand the power of your faith — they’re watching with fascination and longing. As they battle existential crises, they’ll think of you. And maybe some will search for the answers you’ve found.

I want to be like her. But I don’t want to have to prove it.

Reach EMILY PARNELL at emilyjparnell@ gmail.com

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