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Sunday, January 22

Living Passionately

Today marked a day of at least two major headlines.  One of those two was the announcement that Gabrielle Giffords would step down from Congress.  Ever since the unfortunate events of January 8, 2011, I've paid fairly close attention to the progress the congresswoman has made.  I listened and watched to find out that she survived.  I listened and watched to find out that she was progressing as needed.  I listened and watched to find out if Mark was going to, indeed, make his last mission in space.  I listened and watched as Gabrielle gave her first interview with Mark by her side.  Gabby and Mark went from a couple of people I had never heard of to a couple of people I am grateful to have in this world every day.  

Strip down the public personae, and at the heart of this couple, you have an amazing amount of love, first, but in the backdrop, you also have incredible demonstrations of work ethic, bravery, loyalty, patriotism and inspiration.  It was no surprise, for instance, when I viewed Gabrielle's videotaped message today and instead of feeling disappointed or shocked, there was an overwhelming feeling of excitement for what's to come for her.  Her outlook is contagious and inspiring, and that has never changed.  

While the face of politics contains indelible blemishes from adulterous acts committed and bipartisan disrespect, this undercurrent of hope and bravery that Gabrielle Giffords has introduced to the dialogue seems almost misplaced.  This is not to say that she doesn't have or never had any mistakes to contribute, political or otherwise, but rather to say that out of all the stories we endure with regard to our political system and those participants within it, this one is one that brings unbelievable value to the table for adults and children alike. 

As Gabrielle Giffords dedicates herself to the current task assigned to her, my hope is that her story can bring others to their feet and inspire action.  Gabrielle's story has taught me that to live passionately is to do so across all areas of one's life.  We've heard the stories of her constantly visiting her constituents, dedicating herself to their needs and causes, but what we've had the precious opportunity to also see is how that same spirit of passion has lived on in her survival and recovery. 

I have not seen any stories in which she and her husband are dissecting what happened that day last January or stating what should or should not happen to the shooter.  What I see is two people living passionately, despite an awful situation, and continuing to light up the room with their optimism.  I see two people redirecting their attention from what they did over a year ago to what they must now...but happily so.  Making the best of it.  And if Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords can make the best of a gunshot to the head, then I have great hope that I, too, can make the best of all of the little complications (comparatively speaking) each day brings.  It is also a great reminder that this spirit of hope and optimism is contagious.  Think about this the next time a "downer" conversation comes up and try just a brief application of positive thinking.  The rippling outward of good is amazing to watch.        

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