i want to be a runaway with the heart of a soul surfer

10 Aug

I watched Soul Surfer from a thousand miles in the air, flying over the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii bound. I laughed to myself, what a perfect time to watch Soul Surfer (I found out about Shark Week days later, too). I was afraid and didn’t know whether I should watch a movie about a shark attack since I would be in the waters soon. But I’m so happy I watched this movie that changed my perspective on life and made me grateful to be alive.

There are only a number of movies I have ever cried to (I hardly every cry in movies). To date, I’ve only cried in Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 and then, Soul Surfer. It was that good. Every moment. There was so much I felt and learned.

The story of Bethany Hamilton has inspired and lifted me up, giving me hope. She reminds me to live life to the fullest, live and love, dream, have faith, compassion, never live in fear, never give up and never let go. I look up to Bethany who has the optimistic attitude, beautiful and kind spirit I aspire to be.

While swimming at Pupukea in North Shore, Oahu, I will admit that a few times, I panicked in the water. There was nothing to be afraid of really, except I scared myself with the every now and then waves splashing around me. I hadn’t thought of Soul Surfer again until then. In my mind, I replayed the scene where Bethany got attacked by the shark. I couldn’t even imagine. I knew just then I had to stop thinking about sharks before I started to really freak out.

Soul Surfer didn’t reappear into my thoughts until today while driving around in North Shore and then landing at a Costco. Suddenly, I could see. A truth and revelation came to me. I know. How could anyone have a spiritual experience at a Costco, right? Sounds crazy, but at that moment, everything seemed to make sense.

These past few months have been hard to go through. Last October, my house was completely burglarized. My sense of security, trust in goodness of people and the world came crashing down. I’m still dealing with overcoming the fear of thieves and having a safe harbor I can call home. Spring semester has never been easy for me and I struggled with knowing who I am, what I stand for and what I want to study. I have an idea of what I want to be when I grow up, but I am still searching deep, far and beyond. I had a guitar teacher for the past couple of months, which felt like a terrible teacher-student relationship. Several months had gone by. He still didn’t know my first name. He frequently rescheduled and canceled lessons. Lessons seemed to go by and it felt like he was just winging it. By the end, I had the last straw. I finally quit taking lessons and walked away. I walked away knowing I learned something from those guitar lessons, but I have never felt so insecure about my playing skills as a guitarist until now. I know there are many of people who have bigger problems, but those problems have been a part of who I am and they have been all too real. I am still trying to understand living in this world and how to live with adversity.

Writing music and playing the guitar have been my love and life. But what I love and live for has also been a constant struggle. I’ve been constantly working at writing songs, but I still haven’t written a song I like or would even share. I’ve also been feeling lost, not knowing where to go next in playing guitar. I went down to the crossroads and I seriously considered quitting and giving everything up. I thought about quitting the guitar and music altogether. I thought about never listening to music again. But then I thought this is not an option. I am fighting for what I live and love for. Music.

The truth and revelation that came to me was through thinking of Bethany Hamilton. I remembered the scenes in Soul Surfer when Bethany announced she would no longer surf and the part where she goes back to competing in surf competitions. At the end of a surf competition, she had enough. She gave her surfboards away and called it quits. Racing in my mind today, I thought about my guitars. What if I gave away all my guitars? I could never imagine myself doing so. Like Bethany, who surfs again with the most undeniable and determined willpower, I have to dive back into music. All the odds were against Bethany, but she went back into the waters, working towards her dream of being a pro surfer and so much more. “Whether it’s a heart attack or heartbreak, just like broadway, the show must go on” (Rachel Berry, Glee). I am physically able to play the guitar and I must go on living. I need to get my life back together. I need to rise above.

Mat Kearney wrote a song called ‘Runaway’ for Soul Surfer.

The lyrics are:

“Nobody knows the trouble we’ve seen
And nobody knows the price of this dream
And nobody knows what it took to believe

How sweet these words are. These words remind me there is a price with every dream and nobody knows what anyone has been through to get there. It doesn’t matter what has happened to me or what I’ve been through. I can reach my dreams if I keep going and by not allowing the winds or anyone to sway me.

In short, Bethany Hamilton and Mat Kearney have played a part in saving my music life and life in general. They are one of the reasons why I decided I will be continuing playing music. Their faith and work have largely inspired me to keep doing what I do. So, thank you. Really. And I am truly grateful for all the support I do have, especially my mom who supports my ambitions to continue traveling, writing and being the best I can be.


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