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February 3rd, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Giffords' husband: Maybe good will come from tragedy

By the CNN Wire Staff

The husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Thursday that while we may never know why she and 18 other people were shot - six fatally - it could be part of a larger plan and that good may come of it.

"What allowed me to be here today is Gabby's condition," Capt. Mark Kelly said Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. "It continues to improve. Every day she gets a little bit better, and the neurosurgeons and neurologists tell me that that's a great sign. The slope of that curve is very important."

Giffords, 40, was among 19 people shot January 8 as she held a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. Among the dead were a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge; 13 others, including Giffords, were injured. Authorities believe Giffords, who was shot in the head, was the primary target. A suspect is facing federal charges.

Kelly, a NASA astronaut, said the past month has been the hardest time of his and his family's lives, and the shooting left both him and Giffords forever changed. It also cost other families "dearly," he said.

In its aftermath, people are left asking why, he said. "Why were six people killed? Why was a 9-year-old girl, an innocent child, killed, who just wanted to meet her congresswoman? Why was Gabby shot through her head and left barely clinging to life?"

The answers to those questions, he said, will never be known. But he said he told his wife - who is in a Houston rehabilitation hospital - earlier this week that "maybe this terrible event, maybe it was fate."

He said until recently, he had not been a big believer in fate. "I thought the world just spins and the clock just ticks and things happen for no particular reason," he said. He noted that President Lincoln was a believer in fate, and also believed that God had a purpose and a larger plan.

He said he told Giffords, "Maybe it's possible this is just one small part of that same plan." While the event was horrible and tragic, he said, "maybe something good can come of all this. Maybe it's our responsibility to see that something does."

Just before Kelly spoke, President Barack Obama mentioned Giffords in his remarks.

"We have been praying for Mark's wife, Gabby Giffords, for many days now, but I want Gabby and Mark and their entire family to know that we are with them for the long haul," Obama said.

Kelly said he has had the opportunity three times to gaze down on Earth from space, giving "an entirely different perspective of life on our planet ... Earth as God created it, in the context of God's vast universe."

He noted that his twin brother, Scott, is also an astronaut. Scott Kelly was in space when the shooting happened, and he remains there.

He recalled his brother's statement when Scott Kelly was asked by journalists how it felt to be so far away when his family was going through a difficult time. Scott Kelly said that life in space is challenging, and that those challenges are addressed through teamwork - and that he would like to see more teamwork, from government and others, in addressing challenges faced by the country, his brother said. "We're better than this," Scott Kelly said. "We must do better."

"My brother is right," Mark Kelly said. "I know we'll do better, and I know that prayer must be part of that effort."

At one point during his wife's hospitalization in Tucson, Mark Kelly said he visited an impromptu memorial set up in her honor outside the hospital. There was no wind, he said, and amid hundreds of burning candles, "it was like stepping into a church, a place with heaven itself as its ceiling."

It reminded him, he said, that a church or a mosque or a temple or an altar is not needed to pray. "You pray where you are. You pray when God is there in your heart." And prayer, Mark Kelly said, is not just asking of God - it is listening for answers and expressing gratitude - "which I've done a lot lately."

As a closing prayer, Mark Kelly offered a prayer given over Giffords' hospital bed just after the shooting by the rabbi who married the couple in 2007 - that the angel Michael watch over the right side, the angel Gabriel over the left, the angel Uriel - God's angel of light - guiding the path and the angel Raphael - the angel of healing - be behind, and overhead the presence of the Divine.

He asked participants to keep thoughts and prayers for Giffords in their hearts. "It really is helping," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Politics • Prayer

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Timothy Trulli

    Good post! jfgoiprjg

    February 24, 2011 at 4:07 am |
  2. len

    good will from a mass murder? unlikely.
    did it get Mitch McConnell to change on repeal of healthcare?
    did any republican have a change of heart? has the NRA come out for a ban on all handguns?
    have americans stopped buying guns and ammo?

    we watch anderson cooper in Egypt and we watched him in New Orleans. what's the difference?
    America was swallowed up by the power and greed of its own leaders and we have elections and a bill of rights.
    egyptians think you can have democracy if you have elections and free speech. we have both but we have
    NO democracy. we have a vast stranglehold of the rich and super-rich on our lives.egypt has Mubarak. we have many Mubaraks.

    February 4, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  3. michael james

    Prayers to all from the Catholic Church around the World
    Michael

    February 4, 2011 at 5:15 am |
  4. michael james

    Prayers to all from the CATHOLIC CHURCH AROUND THE WORLD

    February 4, 2011 at 5:05 am |
  5. Stacy

    First of all God Bless Rep Giffords and thank him for her recovery. As to all you people who say what does faith have to do with it we'll see what faith has to do with it when you're in a crisis and you call on him. It never fails.

    February 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • len

      you would do better to call 911 and stay in the real world. it never fails- go to Haiti or Detroit. people are praying there,too/

      February 4, 2011 at 6:32 am |
  6. Joe.

    If you see this then know. When you listen with your heart you will hear us. When you feel weak we will hold you steady.You are not alone. You may not know us by name but you may be among us. We are the people of the world that believe in peace and goodness.At this time accept our thoughts and prayers as we focus on the healing and wellness of you and your wife.

    February 3, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  7. Seoirse S. Farr

    Seem like we all have our troubles to deal with as I also have lost my home to foreclousure...but you need to hope for the best and pray that god will watch over us and that friends and family will be there for support. I wish you the best in all ur efforts...good luck and god bless.. Seoirse, Eureka CA

    February 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  8. Mark II

    With all the angels over her, we ,the normal people, will have no angels looking over us.

    February 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Aren't you being a little selfish, or did I miss some huomour? If you need one, you can have the one supposedly assigned to me...

      February 4, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  9. Tamara

    Dear Mark & Gabby, Forgive me addressing you in a familiar way but I have prayed long and hard for you both, and Mark; your daughters as well...I know this is tough for all of you. I also know that as a family you all will find a way to rise to the occasion. Gabby is AMAZING in her strength and will to come through this experience and make something good of this awful tragedy. You both serve our country in great ways and even though politically, people may disagree with each other, this is still America and we stand together, NO MATTER WHAT. Your words, Mark, at the prayer breakfast were 100% correct: we do have a responsibility to God to do the best we can do...to make good come of heartache...I challenge people reading this to think of and remember the fact that we are AMERICANS and this nation was founded on the very principles of which Mark spoke: a responsibility within ourselves to our Creator to rise to the occasion and make things better... May we all find that courage to do so!

    February 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  10. Joe

    It is so sad that people believe an benevolent omnipotent creator can't figure out make the world work without murdering children. PART OF THE PLAN!? Wake up folks–the only way to stop this is to refuse to be part of the cycle of violence–it's not a plan. If it is a plan it is the plan of a malicious being!

    February 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  11. AMERICA 1st

    Id like to think of nobama as a true Christian than a rabid raghead!

    February 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Zach

      He is a Christian, and while I'm conservative and dont particularly agree with the President he is still in a position of power and deserves respect. I highly doubt hes a "raghead"

      February 4, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  12. Cris

    Mark I believe in what the bible says every word. The word says there's power in the tounge you speak life or death. Speak life tell her body to line up with the word of God and be made whole.

    February 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • larryclyons

      If you believe in the literal word of the bible then consider the following:

      Leviticus 11:6 states that rabbits chew their cud.
      Leviticus 11:20-23 speaks of four-legged insects, including grasshoppers.
      1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 93:1 state that the earth is immobile; yet it not only revolves and orbits the sun but is also influenced by the gravitational pull of other bodies.

      Then which is correct? The bible or the real world?

      February 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  13. Name*Asheki Kimo

    I hope she is get better she will be ok we pray for her.

    February 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  14. Pedro

    Mark, God is with you all. Trust on him and he will give you whatever you need.
    May God keep blessing you and your family.
    Think positive and good things will happen.

    February 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bob

      > Mark, God is with you all. Trust on him and he will give you whatever you need.

      Like how African children trust in God and they still starve to death. Did God give them what they needed?

      February 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • NicNak

      Bob, what about personal responsibility? God uses people for his will and has blessed many people with gifts that they do not use. Why aren't more rich people feeding the starving children in Africa? Why don't those of us who have less use it to serve those in need around us? If he just took care of everything in a flash there would be no personal responsibilty and we would essentially be his puppets. I don't want a God that makes me his puppet. I serve God, who gives us choices and holds us responsible for our actions.

      February 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Zach

      Bob you say you believe in free speech and you dont like when people push their religion on you. 1 all youve done is bash people on these comments (clearly you are liberal, which is your right. Personally I'm conservative) and two any Christian responses made you've tried to ridicule, like youre forcing your beliefs on them. Double standard much. Don't be a donkeys butt. If you dont agree with a comment, you don't have to respond, in fact we would all apreciate if you didn't.

      February 4, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  15. Stacy Heath

    So many people who advocate or speak publicly for political or personal reasons aren't acknowledged as much when it comes to religion when someone is wanting to speak out about there faith a light bulb goes off and says we don't want to hear, or talk, or, air any thing that has to do with the mentioning of God but because of the high profile story and because this is the President of the United States it's ok hats off to them for not being ashamed to speak about there faith I agree with Richard some people just because they profess there faith doesn't mean there trying to push there beliefs on anyone people of faith have a right to free speech also. Amen

    February 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Richard Shields

    Having lost my home to foreclosure and forced into bankruptcy, I don't agree with all of the President's actions. However, in defense of President Obama's religious beliefs, I suggest that maybe much the same as JFK, President Obama truely believes in separation of Church and State and does not want people to think that his religious beliefs in any way influence his political actions.

    Sincerely,
    Richard Shields
    Sugar Hill, GA

    February 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bob

      > Having lost my home to foreclosure and forced into bankruptcy, I don't agree with all of the President's actions.

      Obama hasn't been in long enough to have caused that. Look to George W for your problems there bucko. The economy is on a 4 year lag. Meaning whoever's in power typically isn't responsible for the good or bad. They can only try to improve it.

      There is no quick fix to any problems. Recessions are a perfect example.

      February 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bob

      > I agree with Richard some people just because they profess there faith doesn't mean there trying to push there beliefs on anyone people of faith have a right to free speech also. Amen

      You are correct. Someone stating that they are Christian, Muslim or Wiccan doesn't bother me and I don't consider it an impositon to hear such things. However, when people act to prevent people from doing things that they believe is wrong and not covered by established law, then we have an issue.

      For example gay marriage or buying booze on a Sunday.

      February 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Bob, so following “However, when people act to prevent people from doing things that they believe is wrong and not covered by established law” how does the first law become law if people don't act, or enact, policies to allow or prevent an item. Unless you really believe that we have all the laws we are ever going to need?? In certain states it is a law not to sell booze on Sunday. Since it is a established law, you then should not have an issue with it. Or do you only have issues with the laws you don't like.

      People it goes back to the same old tired argument. Agnostics and atheist say people of faith should keep their beliefs at home while not putting the same restriction on themselves. Why is that? Because it is impossible not to act on your beliefs, that is what makes it a belief.

      Now let's say we were going to pass a law on divorce. That law would be form based upon the belief whether you believe that marriage is for growing families, in which case you make divorce difficult or marriage is based on personal happiness where a divorce law would be more relax. But every law we have to date is based on a belief. So it annoys me when childish people like Bob say people shouldn’t act on their beliefs, since they have been doing that since the beginning of time and they continue to do so.

      February 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bob

      Your entire argument refuted in five words.

      Laws are based on rights.

      Perhaps you should take a basic law class to understand what laws actually are and how they are created instead of inserting the nonsense you think is the case. Laws are not created because "I believe in something."

      You're making yourself look like a fool.

      February 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      So Bob, enlighten me? If laws are base on "rigts" why do we have different laws across countries and even states?

      Let's try and take two and you can help me not look so foolish. Woman's rights, are you for them or against them. I am for them based on the [belief] (can't bold) of what the bible teaches, regardless of what you may have been told in your sunday school. But I know where my belief in rights come from? Where does yours, and more importantly are you right? If you try to explain womans rights to a non-western culture why do they not come to the same conclusion of the law, if the law is based soely on rights and not belief in what is right?

      Now let's take this across state? We are both westerners, why does one pay taxes on cars and one doesn't? Is one wrong and one right (pun intented)? What is the law toward someone's rights on guns, cigars, traffic operation? If not for differing beliefs in what is [correct] and what is wrong, wouldn't all the states that subscribe to the same union come up with the same law?

      But it is a group that say "We Believe that is the law that best suits citizens rights" go back to the example of the divorce law

      "We hold these truths to be self-evident,"

      Belief (def 2) confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof

      February 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bob

      > So Bob, enlighten me? If laws are base on "rigts" why do we have different laws across countries and even states?

      A better question is why are laws so consistent across the states. An even better question is why can't you understand that a base does not mean everyone has to reach the same conclusion.

      > Let's try and take two and you can help me not look so foolish. Woman's rights, are you for them or against them. I am for them based on the [belief] (can't bold) of what the bible teaches, regardless of what you may have been told in your sunday school.
      But I know where my belief in rights come from? Where does yours, and more importantly are you right?

      I don't know if I'm right. I can't know what I don't know. However, I do strive to be as correct as I can be with the available information. You on the other hand simply assert that you're correct. There's the difference. I continue to learn, you've peaked.

      > If you try to explain womans rights to a non-western culture why do they not come to the same conclusion of the law, if the law is based soely on rights and not belief in what is right?

      Because rights are not consistent across cultures. Duh.

      > Now let's take this across state? We are both westerners, why does one pay taxes on cars and one doesn't? Is one wrong and one right (pun intented)? What is the law toward someone's rights on guns, cigars, traffic operation? If not for differing beliefs in what is [correct] and what is wrong, wouldn't all the states that subscribe to the same union come up with the same law?

      Nope. Because they'll have different costs. They'll have different trade. They'll have different people with different beliefs. They'd have different terrain and different natural resources. They'll also be smarter or stupider then the neighbouring state. Some will have more births and some will have more deaths. As such, is it really surprising that there are minor differences.

      However, for most of the major stuff, they're all on the same page.

      > But it is a group that say "We Believe that is the law that best suits citizens rights" go back to the example of the divorce law

      It doesn't matter what a group thinks. Again. Even if 99% of the population thinks that slavery is a "Darn good idea" it cannot be made into law.

      > "We hold these truths to be self-evident,"

      Personal opinion again. I happen to agree with them and history has not proved them wrong. Not self evident at this point, but confirmed and accepted.

      > Belief (def 2) confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof

      Ok, and?

      February 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  17. Lisababy

    @Anglican AMEN!

    February 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  18. Anglican

    Faith Hope and Love. May God bless us all. Peace.

    February 3, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Bob

      What part does faith play in the whole situation.

      I mean, I can understand hope and love. What does faith contribute?

      February 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bat82

      What does God have to do with any of this? He certainly isn't present when we need him. We can't not blame God for bad things that happen to people but then praise God the next minute for the good things that happen. God needs to be held responsible for doing both the good and bad if we can find this so called person lol.

      February 4, 2011 at 4:49 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.