Monday, July 25, 2016

Normal is so overrated

Soul Surfer is one of my favorite movies because it shows me that there can be a purpose even in the pain we go through in life. Bethany Hamilton's story is so powerful. Bethany survived a shark attack in Hawaii but it destroyed her big dream in life, to become a professional surfer. Many people would give up on their dreams at that point, but Bethany found the strength to overcome her greatest setback in life and became a professional surfer with only one arm. She was able to make her own dream come true but in the process she also inspired many other people around the world to not give up when life seems hopeless. Today there is a movie and a documentary about Bethany's life and she has inspired thousands to not stop when life gets really painful, because even in our greatest pain there can be a purpose if we do not give up. Today Bethany is married and have a young son, although it seemed impossible to her that any guy would love her right after she had lost her arm.

We all want a normal life but I have come to the conclusion that normal is very overrated. It's often the parts of our lives that aren't normal or happy that can give birth to what will become our great life purpose. The areas where we have experienced pain is often the areas where we are very motivated to make a change. There are so many different forms of injustice and poverty in our world and it's usually the people who have had some form of personal experience with the injustice who will choose to fight those battles.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a black man who became a civil rights activist because he had personal experience of racial inequality. Christine Caine has shared that she was sexually abused for many years as a child and as an adult she decided to start an organization that fights human trafficking of young girls and women. Most of the time there is a connection between the areas where we have experienced pain and the area where we are passionate about making a change in the world. The areas where we have no personal experience of pain are areas where we tend to lack the empathy needed to become passionate about fighting for change.

We naturally get more upset and saddened by a tragedy that happens in our own country than by something that happens far away on another continent. Some of us have experienced great injustice in our own lives and feel passionately about fighting for change at home. Others have been blessed with safe and happy lives and might need to educate themselves about different types of injustice around the world to develop the empathy needed to become passionate about fighting for a cause. If we are not passionate about any particular cause at the moment we can develop that passion by watching documentaries and reading books about different types of injustice around the world.

It can also be a good idea to take a look at the whole world before we pick our cause, so that we don't settle for fighting for something that would mainly make our own lives more comfortable versus taking on a cause that can change the lives of people in great need. An example would be to spend our whole lives fighting to lower the taxes in our home country, versus fighting to bring clean water to people in underdeveloped countries. It is important that our cause is bigger than ourselves.

Each one of us have so much to give to the world and we can do more if we pick a particular cause that we will spend the rest of our lives fighting for. World change is never instant, it will take many years of dedication and hard work but at the end of our lives few things will matter more than what we did out of love for other people. Few things will matter more than the choices we made surrounding fighting injustice and poverty around the world during our short lives. Each century has two groups of people, those who have little and those who have a lot. What tend to define each era is what those who had a lot did for those who had very little.

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