Literally as you are reading these very words a woman lies in a hospital bed with a road map worth of wires and tubes monitoring every impulse her body creates. Slowly and without obvious outward signs Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is healing. Deep inside the human complexity of her body remarkable changes are taking place. Unseen to the eye, she is fighting and surrendering to the unwanted and unasked for rearrangement of the body and mind she was born with. God is holding a healing hand over her and providing curative care that medicine cannot understand, and as a nation continues to pray for her complete recovery we are left still wondering why.
Yesterday at the University of Arizona President Barack Obama delivered an address to talk to the nation about this tragedy and in the midst of that conversation he offered a real sign of hope and answered prayers when he shared with the audience that " Gabby opened her eyes for the first time " and elicited a rousing and emotional response from the enraptured audience. I have shared the clip here and I invite you to not only view it but to also experience its power.
Yet even as we pray and dare to hope for a recovery we do not completely understand, there are still great and fractured divides in this country and as much as the political tone I thought would take pause and find some way to come together to focus on real issues and a real opportunity for real commonality, I was naïve in that thinking as the temperature continues to become elevated while the discourse skyrockets out of control. At some very real and human level I am both deeply offended and sadly confused.
I am a political animal by nature, and much to my own demise at times I have allowed the activist that is all too prominent in my soul to control my actions, and sometimes that activist has been too reactionary and not thoughtful enough, I'll own that up front, but as I continue to watch with despair as the political divide becomes Grand Canyon-like in its differences I am not completely without hope.
Gabby opened her eyes today, the President told us, and I immediately thought when will we open our eyes? I believe the metaphor should not be lost on us at a time when every single step we collectively take matters deeply to every person's future. Opening our eyes to some realities is an idea that is long overdue. If we are to succeed as a nation; if we are to begin to heal the wounds that have become a political cancer in this country, the time to open our eyes in now.
The President spoke of believing, in hope, in the higher idea of what America means but for the jaded these words may ring hollow, but to those of us, the vast majority of us, the idea of rising to meet the challenges that our past has forced on upon our present requires an uncommon desire to seek the change we want. In the highest reaches of leadership this is a critical juncture and this journey will be defined and remembered by all of us not by who won the argument but by who created a new paradigm to close the gap between what we knew to be right and by what we finally refused to listen to and support. I beg you all to realize that the power in the words, she opened her eyes, is a profound message that was sent to us as an example of what we now must do.
When you are a messenger, as I am and as are each of you, you have a responsibility to a truth that is greater than our personal political ideologies. The idea of winning or losing has never bees less important than it is today because and until we surrender to what we all deeply know to be the humane thing to do and until we begin to have a dialogue that transcends the importance of what we personally believe to hold true, we will not be able to create a world, no matter how idealistic, that must be created to meet the challenges of our increasingly changing times.
America, ladies and gentlemen, is no longer the final authority of what a realized life means. We must wake up to the realities that we are not meeting global awareness of their potential, and instead of feeling threatened by these challenges we should open our eyes to the indisputable fact that greatness is confined to the USA only.