In an interview on Saturday, the day after the shooting that claimed the life of his six-year-old daughter, Robbie Parker spoke about how he and his family are coping with the tragedy.
“First of all I’d really like to offer our deepest condolences to all the families who are directly affected by this shooting. It’s a horrific tragedy and we wanted everybody to know that our hearts and our prayers go out to them. This includes the family of the shooter,” he said. “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know our family and our love and support goes out to you as well.”
Choking back tears, Parker explained further.
“My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving her love and support to all those victims because that’s the type of person she is; because those were the gifts that were given to her by her heavenly father,” he said.
In those poignant sentences, Robbie Parker gave us words to live by. If he can forgive the tortured soul that killed his beloved daughter, we should be willing to dismiss any petty grievances bothering us.
The Parker family’s ability to forgive underscores the healing outlined in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Long after the headlines have faded and the camera crews have packed up and gone home, the Parkers and many other families will have to quietly deal with the day-to-day emptiness in their lives. While there are no easy answers upon entering the long day’s journey into night, their path will be illuminated by the light of forgiveness and the solace it offers amid the darkness.
Kendall Wingrove is a freelance writer from Okemos, Michigan.