It's not very often that the New York Times "Vows" column makes me cry, but this week's story did. Ten years ago, Bridget Kelly was kidnapped, raped, shot, and left for dead. She never wanted her name hidden as she felt she had nothing to be ashamed of. So her father, a columnist in Nebraska, wrote her story.
Now, 10 years later, she is married and happy and more spiritual than ever before. Her story and her love are truly inspirational, in part because if her assault had never happened, she never would have met her husband Eric Strauss. He was a producer on her story when she told it to ABC News.
It's one of those breathtaking instances when something horrible begets something wonderful. What is a person to do with this?
The fact is, life is all about the highs and lows. Over the course of a long, well-lived life, we all experience the difficult -- tragedies, loss, disappointments, violence -- and the wonderful -- love, marriage, triumph -- sometime in equal measure. Those who can come back from the bad and be even more determined to appreciate the good are truly inspiring.
Love can grow and bloom in a desert, so far from water, one might imagine nothing could thrive. But sometimes love can. Few of us have been through anything like what Kelly went through, but we have all had hard times.
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Those hard times can make us hard. They can make us believe that love is evil and bad and that we should hide our hearts away. We have all known that man (or woman) who has gone through a bad divorce and is bitter about love. "It's for suckers" they might say or "good luck" they whisper to a newlywed couple with a roll of the eyes and obvious disdain. It's disconcerting.
I am so much more inspired by the other people, the ones who allow for the awful things in life, but still let the good in as well. In the end, they are happier and they love deeper.
What Kelly went through is worse than any divorce or life circumstance most of us can imagine. But it didn't make her bitter or make her lose her faith in God and love.
People have the power to heal one another and love can truly conquer most things if only we let it.
Have you ever let the painful times hurt the good times?
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