What Breaks Your Heart?
Note: This perennial favorite is republished with working video links (original date: April 16, 2014).
What Breaks Your Heart?
As I was preparing to travel to a community in western Iowa that lost a fourth person to suicide this past year, I heard about the shooting and loss of lives at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City.
Since writing the story of my life’s greatest mentor (a Jewish judge), I’ve become familiar with the work of Jewish Community Centers – and the good and gracious people that fill them to celebrate messages of love and service. I sent a note of condolence to the Kansas City JCC, tucked the shooting victims, families and community into my heart, and headed off to spend time with yet another grieving community.
I returned home to a note from a dear friend who I didn’t realize lived a few blocks from the JCC and was at a nearby playground with his young daughter at the time a hate filled man shot and killed three people.
My friend told me about Mindy Corporon, who lost both her father and son in this tragic crime, and shared how she has been inspiring grieving hearts to pull together to focus on love and not hate.
When Mindy heard that there was an interfaith service being held the same day she lost her family members, she showed up to speak love to her community:
“People keep saying, how come you’re so strong? I’m strong because I have family. I’m strong because I have faith… I know that there are evil, evil actions. But what we do have is each other, we have love and we have prayer, and we have friends and family.”
He finished his note by saying that Mindy’s call to bring good from evil and to encourage the community to come together in love and hope made him think of the community resilience work we started after we lost young lives.
It has been inspiring for me to watch and read the words of people processing profound loss and grief.
Through my community resilience work, I’ve come to believe this: Heartbreak is an invitation.
In the wake of grieving senseless acts of loss, it was my heartbreak that led me to call on community leaders and say: Not only can something good come from this, but something good must come from this. We have not experienced this depth of loss to not bring forth good for our community and for others.
This is one of the messages I have heard repeated in other post-trauma communities throughout our nation as they dig deep and hold fast to a vision of meaning and goodness that is ahead of them.
While working in the post-trauma community in western Iowa, I witnessed the heartbroken adults, one after another, coming together in a powerful outpouring of love and support to begin a tough conversation. Yet another community coming together to heal. Yet another grieving mother speaking words of hope.
When I heard Mindy’s expression of hope that something good will come from the tragic loss of her father and son… I wanted to hug her and reassure her that much goodness already has come forth.
As one mother wrote after witnessing Mindy in the face of her loss:
“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.” ~Emily Parnell
Much good is unfolding in ways that Mindy – and we – cannot yet see. But do not doubt that it is here.
What breaks your heart?
Listen closely and you will hear an invitation being whispered within your heartbreak…
Your heartbreak is inviting you to be a messenger of love.
Your heartbreak is inviting you to be a messenger of hope.
Your heartbreak is inviting you to be a messenger of healing.
Can you hear it?
Listen. And move forward from there.