By DAVID CRUMM
Editor of ReadTheSpirit magazine
Listen to Mindy Corporon.
Take a few minutes. You’ll be glad you did. In her own words, Mindy explains why her new book will inspire you—and may help you to find companions in your own journey toward healing, hope and peace.
Here is a transcript of what she says in the opening minutes of this new video, made with veteran journalist Bill Tammeus. It’s a video you can watch right now (below):
“When we are shattered by life, how do we reassemble ourselves? I’m Mindy Corporon and on April 13, 2014, my life was shattered when a domestic terrorist murdered my father and 14-year-old son Reat as well as another woman. This white supremacist who came to a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas, had planned this attack to murder Jews. My Christian father and my son were not his intended victims—they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Their deaths shattered my soul.
“Perhaps you too are a shattered soul. My new book Healing a Shattered Soul was written for those of you who are grieving a loss or who have suffered a trauma. It’s for those of you who are seeking inspiration and for those who are searching for a glimmer of hope and faith. For all those in need of support during a difficult time, I am sharing my story because I am a shattered soul and I am now in the process of healing that shattered soul. My objective in life right now is to help other people heal, to make something good come from my Dad’s and Reat’s deaths. I am doing this because I believe God has asked me to do it.
“Grief and trauma are invisible. When we are experiencing grief and trauma you cannot see it. You can’t see it anywhere on me that I have suffered greatly and that I still have grief and that I still have instances of anger and sometimes I get very short tempered. You cannot see that on me. You cannot see that like you could see a broken arm or a broken leg. But just because you cannot see it does not mean that it is not there. My book is the story of how a shattered soul ached to find the glue it needed to piece myself and my family back together.
“As you read my book you will find my journey heart-breaking, authentic, thought-provoking and most of all I hope you find it inspirational. My faith in God and in humanity concretely paved my path to healing. My work with interfaith groups of Christians, Muslims and Jews and other faiths has restored my faith in humankind.
“I got a lot of help along the way as I have been grieving. People have held my hand as I have walked this journey—and that’s what I want to do for you. Together we can shine a light on peace. Together we are better.”
And then—Bill Tammeus expands on this inspiring story
After that brief introduction in this first video (below), we meet her friend Bill Tammeus, also from the Kansas City area, who has written Love, Loss and Endurance, his own new book about dealing with the long-term trauma from losing a loved one to terrorism.
“I too have been struck by sudden loss of someone, my nephew who died on 9/11 as a passenger on the first plane that hit the World Trade Center,” Bill says in the video. “Mindy and I are going to talk about grief and ways of dealing with grief.”
Next, they each read a short passage from their books. They describe how they met in the wake of the Kansas City shootings. Then, they talk about the experiences they share in common with thousands of American families, these days. They discuss positive ways to respond to those challenges, including—later in this video—Mindy describes her work advising employers on Workplace Healing. (You can read more about her Workplace Healing program in this earlier story about Mindy.)
The following video is part of Mindy Corporon’s YouTube channel and is an excellent resource to use if you are planning a small-group discussion of her book—or Bill’s book—with your friends, co-workers or in your congregation.
The Bill Tammeus and Mindy Corporon Video
Care to Learn More? Listen to Bill Tammeus
If you are considering discussing these books with friends, you will also want to watch the following video in which Bill Tammeus takes us deeper into his own story.
Want tips on how to use Bill’s book for a one-time program or a longer series of discussions? Read our earlier Cover Story will Bill.
This next video is a great introduction if you want to focus especially on the section of Bill’s book about unplugging extremism. In this video, Bill points out: “I used my book’s last chapters to suggest various approaches that you and I can adopt to try to stand against extremism and I hope readers will spend some time thinking about those approaches and what might work for them.”
The format of this video is a dialogue with Vern Barnet, a former religion writer at The Kansas City Star, the author of a dozen books about religion and the co-founder of the Kansas City Interfaith Council.
The Bill Tammeus and Vern Barnet Video
But, wait! There’s More!
Both Mindy and Bill are committed to providing a wide variety of resources for readers who want to carry this important conversation nationwide. Both of them continue to help produce columns, audio and video that can be used for individual reflection, classes or small-group discussions.
On April 29, 2021, Mindy created another video dialogue with Alana Muller, CEO of Coffee Lunch Coffee and also a board member of Mindy’s Faith Always Wins Foundation. This video begins with the same 4-minute introduction as the first video featured in our story (above). Mindy then reads an excerpt from her book (a different excerpt than she reads in the video above).
In choosing a video to share with friends, your class or discussion group, you may choose this next video if you want to focus more on family dynamics as men, women and children try to grapple with the long-term effects of trauma. Alana’s questions focus more on that part of Mindy’s memoir than the earlier conversation with Bill. “I’m really interested in how this shock and grief affects us in our lives at home and at work after such a loss,” Alana says.
At one point, they even discuss the best comedy movies to guarantee that your family will be able to laugh again after an especially somber experience. (And here’s a hint for discussion leaders: Ask friends, “What’s your favorite movie to make your family laugh when you really need to lighten their spirits?” As you will learn in the dialogue with Alana, Mindy’s a big fan of some Will Ferrell and Steve Martin movies. That’s not a silly question to ask your discussion group. In a small group, that question provides an easy opportunity for everyone in the group to chime in.)