Friday, October 21, 2011
Soul Surfer is a 2011 drama film based on the life of surfer Bethany Hamilton. At the age of thirteen, Bethany lost her arm to a shark attack. The film details the events surrounding this attack and her struggles during the aftermath. Bethany was born to surf. A natural talent who started surfing at a very young age, she was leading an amazing life on Kauai, Hawaii participating in national surf competitions, when everything changed. On Halloween morning, a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. Soul Surfer reveals Bethany's fight to recover from her ordeal and how she grappled with the questions about her future. Bethany says on her web site: “It was Jesus Christ who gave me peace when I was attacked by the shark...When people ask me what my faith in Christ means to me, I usually answer in just one word: "everything!" This was true before the shark attack as well as after. And I truly believe that this faith is a big part of what did get me through it."
In class we have been discussing the five primary terms that refer to the immaterial man, with one of those terms being soul. Among the ways that soul is used to describe the immaterial man is "the immaterial part of a person with feelings and emotions" and "the whole person". But the description that I personally like best is "who you really are at the core".
When I first saw the trailer for Soul Surfer I immediately knew that it was a movie that I really wanted to see...I love inspirational movies that are based on true, real life experiences. But at the time that I saw the movie I wasn't sure that I completely understood the title. I've seen it mentioned that the title may refer to a term coined in the 1960s to denote someone who surfs purely for pleasure. But in Bethany's case I believe that the title of the movie and Bethany's experience itself refers to something much bigger and much more important than her love for surfing. It refers to her soul, the immaterial part of her person that she drew upon for strength to help her through an incredibly challenging and difficult time, leaving no doubt that her strength and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual strength that clearly shows that her body is no more essential to her surfing and her amazing comeback, perhaps even less so, than her soul.