Griffs Notes 3/28/07

Sad news befell the nation yesterday with the announcement of Tony Snow’s cancer recurrence. After beating the first bout with colon cancer in 2005 – an experience I will never forget – Monday’s surgery seems to have shown his cancer metastasized and attached itself to his liver. This is neither good news nor a matter to be taken lightly. This is going to be a very tough fight and I am heart-broken when I think of his wife and three kids… but thankfully for all of us, we have Tony Snow to get us through it.

Tony taught me everything I know about optimism and changed my outlook on life for the better. For him, life is a series of challenges, accomplishments and joys to be realized through the surrendering to one’s faith and positive thinking. He faces adversity with a sense of unyielding and calm authority, futility with a sense of relentless defiance.

At his first press conference in the job he has redefined for modern American politics, Tony called his colon cancer experience “the best thing that ever happened to him.” He concluded that personal vignette to a standing ovation reminding all of us “everyday is a blessing.”

Some people spend their entire lives searching for humanity. For Tony, it is a regular discovery. I certainly saw it working alongside of him for the last few years and it comes as no surprise to me that he is undeniably the most beloved man in Washington today.

It is tragically ironic that just days after offering words of encouragement to Elizabeth Edwards, Snow will now have to embrace that “fighting attitude” that got him through the first battle. But if anyone is a true believer of his own message, it is Tony.

In May of 2005, Tony wrote one of the only columns to date about his bout with cancer. It was called “How to be Sick” and it was written on the eve of Peter Jennings’ death. In it, he wrote among other things about the decisions one has to make if they are to survive their illness:

When you learn you have a threatening disease, you must make a choice. You can curl into the fetal position and declare, “I’m doomed!” or you can roll up your sleeves and ask, “What do I need to do to beat this thing?”

Triumph through indefatigable spirit is his trademark.

One other thing I can share with you about Tony is this: He deeply believes in the power of prayer. So if you are so inclined to do so – take a moment out of the day and say a prayer for Tony and his family.

It’s hard to write this entry without tears falling on the keyboard. But that’s just my own weakness surfacing – because Tony wouldn’t want people to cry for him. He would prefer we were all praying and rooting for him. If anyone can beat this thing, Tony Snow can do it - again.

I believe one day soon we will all see him smiling at the podium telling us all about how he did it. And once again, we will be grateful and indebted to the example he has set.

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