Sunday, May 8, 2011

Soul Surfer

I am lagging on blogs and probably will only continue to do so. Life is too busy and who really reads this anyway. But yesterday, Saturday, I ran a half marathon in Provo and as I got lost in the zone of my thoughts between miles 7 and 10 I decided I needed to post about something that happened this weekend. As I ran I thought about what I will say and now that's all forgotten (it was really poetic) but nevertheless I will attempt to capture my thoughts..

So we spent Friday night at my parents house in Provo. My family has been wanting to see the movie Soul Surfer together since before it came out. It hits close to home for us on many fronts- it is filmed in Hawaii, it's about surfing and it's about a girl, Bethany Hamilton, who got her arm bit off by a shark. My sister, Haylee, was born without one of her arms and shortly after this incident happened to Bethany we spent a summer in Hawaii. Haylee had quite a few people ask her if she was the girl who got her arm bit off. :) Anyway, we got a babysitter for the boys and went Friday night. My bros weren't able to make it but Spencer, my mom, my dad, my sister Haylee and I all went together. I loved this movie. I loved the clips of familiar places on the North Shore- turtle bay, sharks cove. I loved the surfing. Though I'm not a very good surfer, I sort of live vicariously through my sister Angie and she has become quite the surfer so the surfing touched me too.

But above all I was touched by watching this girl learn to live without her arm because that is my sister Haylee's every day life. I watched her try to do every day things I KNOW Haylee struggles with - things like cutting up fruit and putting a pony tail holder in your hair. I FORGET about this trial for Haylee. I forget because she doesn't make a big deal of it, like Bethany, she just gets on with her life and makes the most of it. I forget she doesn't have an arm! But as I sat through the movie I coudln't stop thinking about my beautiful sister who deals with this every day. Like Bethany, she must question "How is THIS God's plan for me?" Like Bethany she must want to give up on her dreams because she "cant' do it" with just one arm. Like Bethany, she must fear her future and want to look "normal" sometimes.

But also like Bethany, Haylee is an inspiration, an absolute inspiration to me. You should see the talent this girl has in sewing. She makes the CUTEST things and I am constantly a benefactor of her talent as she makes bath puppets, finger puppets, swimming suits etc for my kids. And once again I forget that she is sewing with ONE ARM! Imagine something as small as putting in a straight pin with one arm! Seriously, how do you do it? Like Bethany, Haylee has a quiet faith in God I know she relies on just as Bethany did. No one knows her trials, I do not know what it's like to be without a limb, but the Lord knows the pain and Haylee turns to Him. She has a goodness and a purity beyond anyone I know. Haylee has an amazing smile. As I watched Anna Sophia Robb, the actress who played Bethany and saw her smile at people, her hope, her faith and courage despite her challenge, I was just reminded of Haylee. Haylee is the same way. Life has not been easy to her and has dealt her so many challenges but she just keeps going, she just keeps trying and she just keeps smiling her beautiful smile.

I cried through the WHOLE movie. I haven't cried that hard in YEARS. I literally could not stop crying. It was one of those things where I had to sit and try to regain composure before I left the theatre and then the minute my dad asked me if I liked the movie I started to cry again! But it wasn't a bad cry. It was a cry because of the love I have for my sister, the sudden understanding of her trials and the inspiration of her life. Recently my mom and I were talking about trials and I told her that "life is not tragic because of trials, it is beautiful in spite of and sometimes even because of them." Someday because of Jesus's resurrection, Haylee will have a perfect arm, but while in this life she endures the trial of a missing arm. I am not going to say that her trial makes her life better but watching her and how she navigates this trial, how she smiles despite trying times and how she doesn't give up, sure brings more meaning and more beauty to my life. I am so thankful for her life, her beauty and her inspiration.

Go see the movie!! :)


Adrienne said...

great post. i've always thought your little sister is beautiful. you're a lot like her so i can imagine she's pretty awesome even though i've only met her in passing

Angie said...

Beautiful post, Erin. What a tribute to Haylee. It's true for me too, I don't realize all Haylee has to do with one arm (yeah a straight pin, how do you do that?). She's an inspiration to me in so many ways. I'll have to go see the movie!

Joe and Mish said...

I met Haylee in a High School HomeEc class before I knew she was your sister. She is kind to others, smart, and graceful. I don't know her well, but she reminds me a lot of you. And congrats on the half!

Haylee said...

Wow Erin I don't know what to say. I thought I'd be done with all this crying by now but I teared up AGAIN while reading this. ha we're cry babies I guess. :) Thank you though Er, seriously you have no idea how much this meant to me.

Megan and Keli'i said...

Seriously, Erin, what an amazing tribute to your little sis. She is gorgeous, btw, and it's amazing how she just rolls with this struggle and keeps on fighting.

Great movie. Even better tribute. Loved it.

maryatkinson said...

It is a very touching movie that seemed to awaken a lot of feelings in us you said, Haylee, Hawaii, the ocean and somehow suffering with a smile.

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Bren + Lucy said...

An inspirational story of vulnerability and overcoming adversity
thanks for having the courage to share

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