It has been a year. Natural disasters, mass shootings and sexual harassment have -- deservedly -- dominated the news cycle.
But as we close out 2017, it might be good for the soul to take a look back at some of the moments that showcased humor, compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.
Rep. Steve Scalise returns to the field
This bright moment came after one of the most tragic events of the year, when a gunman opened fire on a team of Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game in June. Four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, were shot and two others suffered secondary injuries.
Then, in October, after months of rehabilitation, Scalise returned to the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Washington Nationals' playoff opener.
Scalise had returned to the House in September, a heartwarming moment itself. But returning to a baseball field after what he lived through carried its own weight and placed him in a league of his own.
He followed the lead of the Capitol Police officers who had helped save him. Special agent David Bailey threw out the first pitch at the Congressional Baseball Game -- the event for which the team had been practicing before the attack. Special agent Crystal Griner threw out the first pitch at the Congressional Women's Softball Game.
Sen. John McCain's return to the floor
Less than two weeks after undergoing surgery and being diagnosed with brain cancer, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona returned to the Senate floor to cast his vote on a procedural step to advance his party's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
He was greeted with an ovation from both sides of the aisle, and a metaphorical sigh of relief from the rest of the GOP -- his vote was crucial to the legislation's advancement.
"Let's trust each other," he said in remarks on the floor following the vote.
A message both parties can carry with them into 2018.
Pearl Harbor survivors visit the White House
This happened weeks ago, yet it still brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.
Survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor visited the White House to commemorate the sacrifices made on December 7, 1941.
As I wrote shortly after the event, decades later they are still everything that is right with America. So full of life and love of country. U-S-A. U-S-A. U-S-A.
FLOTUS visits a sick child, then he gets the heart he needs
During a trip abroad, first lady Melania Trump visited a children's hospital in Rome.
Turns out that, beyond receiving a special visitor, one child received the best news possible: He'd be receiving the heart transplant he desperately needed.
"I read a book and held hands with this special little one just a few hours ago, and now my own heart is filled with joy over this news," the first lady said in a statement.
4-year-old bibliophile serves as guest librarian at world's largest library
Before her fifth birthday, Daliyah Maria Arana had read more than 1,000 books. (Go ahead and re-read that if you need to.)
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden took notice. A former children's librarian, Hayden decided to invite Daliyah to visit the world's largest library as a guest librarian for a day in January.
According to American Libraries magazine -- a very real and amazing thing -- Daliyah started as a guest librarian at her local library. She spent the day shadowing Hayden, taking adorable photos and reading, of course.
Make 2018 the year you actually get through your reading list.
Children photobombing solemn events
Sometimes politics is way too much about pomp and circumstance and not enough about dabbing and silly faces, am I right?
These kids agree with me.
There was the congressman's son who dabbed during his dad's official swearing-in photo.
This little guy, Tristan Trump, who photobombed his grandfather's first signing.
And, of course, this little girl who was the cherry on top of former Vice President Joe Biden's final ceremonial Senate swearing-in.
Kids are ridiculous. So is life.
BOTUS (Bunny of the United States)
Puns. Fur. A quasi-official title. Marlon Bundo, the Pence family's pet rabbit, has it all.
The world discovered Bundo when he traveled to DC with his human family, but it wasn't until a May event honoring military families that he made his official debut.
BOTUS -- Bunny of the United States, obviously -- didn't deliver any remarks and behaved perfectly.
Something we should probably all strive to do in the year ahead.
Even in the world of politics, 2017 had its share of good moments
CNN looks back at some of the moments that showcased humor, compassion and the resilience of the human spirit
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