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Brandi Chambless – The Gift Of Gab

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Rick Warren has inadvertently been driven to a new purpose in life.  Drop-kicking President Obama and archenemy Mitt Romney through the goalposts of civility.  Whether or not Paul Ryan has great abs or Joe Biden is a better Catholic is the least of our nation’s concerns with just weeks to go before the most critical election of our nation’s history.

Worse than having to endure naked photos from any Vegas pool party,  we’ve been subjected to skinny-dipping Congressmen in the holy waters and pundits’ deep discussions of whether Todd Akin’s Missouri Senate bid is legitimate; why we should only be as fortunate as Ryan Lochte to have missed the after party.  One Oklahoma valedictorian might say this country is going to Hell in a handbasket.

The average unengaged life participant wonders why we are so polarized, while those dialed into the political climate have 1,000 reasons that validate self-serving agendas.  The dream is miniscule of a nation on their knees asking forgiveness of a benevolent God for making the others’ sin greater than their own, while the others boldly reject the precepts of our nation’s heritage and wait on the fruits of a benevolent government devoid of hard work and discipline.

If faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, then I believe the original hopes and dreams of a budding America are still alive.  Perhaps the person God uses to unify this country doesn’t have naturally great hair, isn’t 6 foot 2, and has never worn a suit and tie.   Perhaps the dream began in 2008 in a Virginia living room of a single African-American working Mom as her 12-year old daughter was glued to the Beijing Olympics. 

Fast forward to 2012, two days after the 30th Olympiad in London.  Michelle Obama put a flying halt on her first lady jet.   Taxiing over to NBC Studios, she playfully scolded USA gymnast and all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas for egging on Jay Leno’s fast food fetish.

In their widely viewed appearance on The Tonight Show, Douglas sported supermodel hair and her 2 billion dollar Wheaties smile sitting right next to her newly self-appointed mentor, Mama Obama.  It was at that very moment when America just knew White house slumber parties would never be the same.  There were immediate apparitions of Douglas back-handspringing right into the Democratic convention spotlight alongside Sasha and Malia.

[Social conservatives cringing in background.  Venom dripping from lips]
Wait a minute, she belongs to us…

Isn’t this the girl who sends the praise up and the blessings flow down?  She is obviously one of us.  What’s that?  Bad day at the gym?  Having trouble on the beam?  Have no fear.   Possess the spirit of a sound mind, wear the full armor of God, and meditate on scriptures because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.  She unashamedly proclaims it.

The question isn’t what we will do with Gabby’s hair. It’s what will we do with Gabby?  We feel the need to have her align…WITH US!  She is a Met.  No, she is a Yankee!

Is it possible that this 4’11” 90 pounder can impact the nation, world, and entire universe for the greater good?  You say impossible.  I say it’s happened before.

Another mighty miniature you’ll remember by the name of Olga Korbut was anointed for a similar calling in 1972 during the aftermath of the 20th Olympiad of Munich. 

In the midst of world chaos invoked by a Cold War and a culture of hatred so great that it penetrated the epicenter of Olympic Village, the appeal of a Soviet teenager in pigtails seemed to be the first fissure of psychological barriers that had for years prior resulted in such physical boundaries like the Iron Curtain.

Winning the crowd from the judges, she broke the pre-fabricated gymnastics mold by doing the first backwards release move on the uneven bars, and unintentionally embarked on a public relations campaign that later brought two nations together by the art of simple everyday conversation with the likes of President Nixon. 

Like Gabby, Olga’s overall Olympic performance had been plagued with as many disasters as triumphs as the world witnessed some of the first Russian tears ever.  She was not a robot at all, but a human in the prime of her girlhood.  The U.S.S.R. took on a human persona imprinted with Olga’s face from that day forward.  To the Soviet Union, the PR campaign was no longer unintentional, but a golden opportunity.  

Undoubtedly, the most significant gold Olga received was bestowed just three short years after Munich when the United Nations presented her with a Gold Tuning Fork for bringing the world together.  Countless hours training to win in the gym had opened the door for something far surpassing once she became Operation Smiling Face of the Soviet Union, during a time that seemed utterly hopeless.  Though this came at a great personal sacrifice to her training regimen for the 1976 Olympics, her human philanthropy continued into adulthood when she used her voice again and founded the Olga Korbut Foundation to assist childhood cancer victims of Chernobyl.

If Olga won the heart of two nations, Gabby Douglas certainly has the potential to solder the hardened heart of her homeland with a little small talk of her own.  As all-American as throwing the first pitch at a Mets game, Gabby embodies the winning spirit we once saw in America herself.  She makes it clear that her inner-strength and beauty is not derived from her own might.

Similar to the manner in which the Olympic games bear witness of hugs and handshakes that testify to human oneness, Olympic champions like Gabby bring the people of this nation back to a beginning point at which we all agree.  We are Americans.   We may be culturally and ideologically diverse, but we can respect one another.  In that regard, I think I agree with Rick Warren.  Enough is enough with the leaders of this campaign.

Even greater than the need for a return to civility, I am still encouraged that there is always hope for healing of the greatest nation’s mega-failures.  The gift of Gabby Douglas on the timeline of our nation’s heritage and the voice God has given her far exceeds the gold medals around her neck and her new hairdo.  Even as we lobby for her to join OUR platform, her every interview tells the world exactly Whose she is.

Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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