Last night Melissa and I rented Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the teenage girl who lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing and then went on to become a championship surfer after the tragedy. This was one of the best inspirational movies I have seen in a long time. While I found the strong connection with faith to be a great aspect of the movie that wasn’t the reason I enjoyed it so much. The reason I found it such a great movie was the wonderful portrait it painted of the strength of family. The movie showed the ups and downs of family life – the good times, the hard times, the highs and lows, even the struggles. But it showed a family that persevered through it all, that honestly confronted difficulty and worked through it – a family that didn’t give up when the going got tough. It showed parents who honored their commitment to be faithful in both good and bad times, and it demonstrated how that love and commitment filtered down to their children.
One of the best scenes in the movie was when they brought Bethany home for the first time from the hospital, and her parents sat in the car to talk for just 30 seconds about their worries and fears. It was an honest conversation between two people committed to each other and their children. Throughout the movie I witnessed this couple share their pain and struggle with each other – like they were supposed to. Too often in movies I see one of the two people in a marriage find support from someone outside the marriage and an affair (either emotional or physical) begins. But here was a picture of a couple that valued their commitment to each other, their family, and their God to find that strength and support within. And that was a refreshing and inspirational image.
This isn’t one of those long-rambling posts I can sometimes do, it’s just a short and simple one to recognize and applaud those strong families out there that I admire and which I try so hard to model my own family after. I thank God for the family I have now (meaning my wife and kids) as well as the family I am in (including both my parents and siblings as well as my wife’s family). God designed the family as the foundation for society, and I can’t help but wonder how much different (and better) society would be if more families were like the one I saw in the movie last night.