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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soul Surfer: Life, love and perspective.

Whenever a friend asks me for a good movie I always recommend them the "Soul Surfer". It was one of the most emotional and heartwarming movies I have ever watched! Yet it'll never get you bored for the movie covers extreme surfing and tides scenes that last just long enough to keep you stoked. Moreover, it is beyond self-identity and fighting spirit - a true to life story of Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. I was so touched and inspired by this movie and this young woman’s determination to live her life above and beyond her disability, that I  was motivated to do something different as well.

Surfing was Bethany’s passion and her living standards. She spent more of her life wet than dry. She is home schooled to keep her schedule in line with the surfing.  She was even sponsored by Rip Curl at the age of 13 after winning a big surfing competition. But despite her growing popularity she still remained grounded. I love how universal this movie is--relating the medium in any aspect of life. Where at one point in our lives, we've probably experienced how it is for something random to totally strike us in the process of "getting there," leaving us limping, getting lesser chances to win, or simply making us feel sad about the unfairness of it all. But Bethany's life teaches us that accepting such difficulties with a humble heart changes us into better people, making unexpected accidents something worthwhile. As she said, "I wouldn't change what happened to me because then I wouldn't have this chance in front of all you... this chance to embrace more people than I ever could have with two arms." I just cried when I heard that line .  :(

The movie reminds me also the value of waiting. As her dad coached her for the competition, he said, "The surf is big out there today so if you try to max them wave per wave you're just going to wear yourself out with all that paddling. So don't take just any wave that comes along. The greatest surfers, they all have this sixth sense. They know when the best waves are coming. They can feel it. It's a gift. You have that gift too." I realized that it's the same with our lives. It's true that oftentimes, we just keep on grabbing opportunities (for the sake of competition) without really thinking if it's what's best for us. Sometimes we have to use better judgement on whether or not we lose it or get it. And when we talk about waiting, it's the careful kind wherein we are in deep thought... that it's not just simply idle away the hours, but knowing that even 'season of waiting' is teaching us, bringing us somewhere. Her father said: "You know that moment between the sets when it's quiet, and the waves haven't even formed yet, it's just the energy surging through the water? Well, that's the time to be patient. Listen to your instinct. Trust it. You'll know." It reminds me of the importance of being still and knowing He is God.

There was also a point where Bethany found herself breaking down at church crying and asking, “How could this be God’s plan for me, I don’t understand.” (It's one of the touching scene in the movie I tell yah.)How many of us have fallen to our knees, weeping and asking the same question?  I know I have numerous times.  Good thing Bethany had a friend from church who said “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes, but I have to believe something good has to come out of this, but I don’t what know that is.”  It's just a relief to know that even when you don't have a clue why something has happened in your life, someone up there has a master plan and is watching over you.

Shortly, while waiting and contemplating what to with her life, Bethany volunteers with her church for a humanitarian mission in Asia after a tsunami had hit.  This is where she learns true compassion and gains an appreciation for what really matters in life, and that is love and our relationships. I really love this part. I was inspired by this young lady for she was able to use her passion to serve others, making her realize that winning first place isn't really the most important thing for her. You know that you are meant for something when, even if you are stripped off from your comfort zone, you continue to move forward in the realization that what you can do can bring joy to others. It's a strong lesson: losing an arm doesn't make you less capable... it actually makes you more. "Who would have thought that teaching a kid to surf, would teach me that surfing isn’t the most important thing in the world? And that something else is. Love. Bigger than any tidal wave. More powerful than any fear."

Bethany Hamilton has so much to teach us about life, love, perspective, and how far a positive attitude and will power will take you. On this movie, ou see family values and good ties within the community. And in spite of what happened, there was no blaming nor bitterness among them.   Amazing cause surfing has been always on my bucket list and this movie just made me appreciate it more.  I loved the sun and the big blue waves! It's a must-watch.  :)

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