Soul Searcher

Hubby & Me on our Hawaiian Honeymoon in 1996

An unexpected trip to Chicago this past weekend had Hubby & me enjoying the nice warm weather mostly in the comforts of our car. But that was okay, since we had good tunes to listen to … and even better conversations.

Oh, and not to mention, a great dinner in Bucktown Saturday night followed by some delicious Dim Sum in Chinatown the next morning as we left the city.

The weekend wrapped up with a movie; a perfect way to keep cool on an unseasonably warm Spring Day. I had wanted to see something uplifting and inspirational, so Hubby & I decided to go see “Soul Surfer.”

Okay, so the inspirational part was more secondary to the fact that I just really wanted to see surfing. And Hawaii. I just love any movies with Hawaii as the backdrop. And it’s all because it brings back some incredible Honeymoon memories, oh so long ago. So yeah, a movie filmed in Hawaii would make a very happy Emily.

Bethany Hamilton still surfs

So yeah, uplifting and inspirational. And boy … did I get both.

For those that haven’t seen trailers or haven’t heard about this movie, it’s based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, then this probably will: Bethany was the 13-year old girl who, in 2003 was bit by a shark while surfing in Hawaii. She had lost her arm to the shark, but had gone on to continue to surf even after that incident.

I won’t give much of the movie away here, but what I will say is that within 15-minutes of the movie I was crying. And I continued to cry (intermittently, that is) throughout the entire movie. It was that good.**

One particular part of the movie had seriously gotten under my skin. After sustaining her injury, Bethany obviously began to question herself; question what her bigger picture in life was. After all, surfing was her life … and what could she do now that she no longer could do it well enough to successfully compete? She had gone to her church’s youth group leader, Sarah Hill (played by Carrie Underwood, BTW) and asked her, “Why?” If she had been given this incredible gift, why would God do this to her?

In the midst of crying, Sarah told her exactly what I thought she would her: That there must be a bigger plan out there for her. And that only God knows what that plan is.

Yes, I can see all my IF friends rolling their eyes and saying, “Yep. Heard that one before.”

And I can tell you that, in the midst of tears, even *I* rolled my eyes. But it’s what Sarah said afterwards that had me crying even more:

First, she said “I don’t know what that plan is.” This always gets bonus points for me, since my experience with the “God must have a bigger plan” statement has always ended with just that one phrase.

If only one time, I could’ve heard the added phrase, “I don’t know what the plan is” from any well-intentioned family or friends … that would’ve lessened the burden in which I felt *I* had to carry this burden on my own. That one added piece would have given me the comfort of knowing that I wasn’t crazy for being so angry and so confused over something that no one (not even an IF Doctor) had control over.

Then Sarah goes on to say, “I don’t know why terrible things happen to us sometimes.  But I have to believe that something good is gonna come out of this.” And that’s the statement that had me weeping.

See … that’s the one thing that had been missing once Hubby and I stopped all treatments for Infertility: The belief that there’s something better waiting around the corner for me. That there was something else I could look forward to.

In the midst of deciding what Hubby & my next steps would be after stopping treatments, I was too close – too involved – with the smaller picture, that I couldn’t see what the bigger picture was for me and Hubby. At first I couldn’t see past the anger and pain of being barren to see what else was in my “bigger picture.”  But eventually, as the storm clouds pummeled through and the dust finally settled, we both took a step back and decided that living child-free was part of that bigger picture.

But now, almost two years later … I feel like I’m lost once again. If I can’t be a Mom, then what will I be? What can I do? How am I now going to be able to measure my “successes” in life … especially since other women and couples can measure there’s by the success of their children? ***

Honeymoon Sunset in Hawaii

It’s no mystery that I’ve been experiencing an ongoing identity crisis. And that Infertility has played the biggest part into questioning who I am … or who I could become. I know that, as this movie portrays, I should have faith that God knows what my bigger plan is for my life. I just wish I had the strength and conviction that Bethany – despite being so young – has that something … anything good will come out of something like infertility.

I just wish I could, at the very least, get a glimpse of that big picture.

So with that said … go see “Soul Surfer.” Not only will you see beautiful shots of Hawaii (Kauai, in fact … my favorite of the islands we’ve visted) … but you will see an incredible story of a girl who overcame her fears to do something that was within her soul.


 ** Okay, so the acting wasn’t exactly stellar, but the story was.

 *** And when I mean success, I mean those milestones in their kids’ lives. First word, first step, first day of school, first date … it can go on and on and on. Graduation, wedding, grandchildren … need I go on more?

6 Replies to “Soul Searcher”

  1. Beautiful, beautiful…and I love the idea of thinking that “….something good has to come from this” Its too easy to forget to look into that part of the “plan”…
    Thank you for these words, Emily. Im definitely looking forward to seeing this movie

  2. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future…

    This is my favorite verse from scripture and I read it everyday. It’s hard to have faith that “something good” is going to come out of something horrible, but I’ve seen it time and time again through others. It DOES happen. It’s having patience and faith. God’s timing is definitely not our timing.

  3. Em-
    You are a beautiful woman, part of a wonderful couple. You offer so much to the world that I am happy to benefit from: your smile, your beauty, your generosity of spirit, your intelligence…My only regret is that I don’t get to partake often enough since you are busy giving of yourself to the world everyday!!
    Wishing you peace,
    K Shrubs xo

  4. It’s 10 years since my last IF treatment, & I’m STILL trying to figure out I’m going to be when i grow up (since I’m not going to be a Mom). But sometimes I think we focus too much on the destination, & forget to enjoy the journey. ; ) Most of us wind up somewhere that we never really planned to be anyway, don’t we? And that’s not always a bad thing.

  5. I haven’t seen the movie, but the quote that “God must have a bigger plan” really hit home for me as I have had that phrase given to me by family and a close friend after failed fertility treatments and pregnancy losses. Actually, they said “God must have another plan for you”, which initially gave me comfort, but then it had me questioning what exactly this plan might be. I would love to know what my plan is so I could follow it.

  6. Maybe that’s why some of us keep pursuing parenthood, because we just cannot figure out what else is out there for us.

    I too, wonder, if anything good is supposed to come out of IF and miscarriage. I’ve decided to ignore the question for now and concentrate o the other parts of my life that are actually going well. Easier said than done, right?

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