A month ago I took a couple of the children I babysit to see the new movie “Dolphin Tale.” You can watch the official movie trailer here. Dolphin Tale was inspired by the true story of Winter, a dolphin who lost her tail and two of her vertebrae as a result of being caught in a crab trap at the young age of three months. Her survival itself was a miracle, yet many experts were convinced that she would die, unable to swim without a tail. Winter now resides in Clearwater Marine Aquarium with a fully functioning prosthetic tail, very alive and well and changing the lives of many people throughout the world. You can read about Winter’s story here.
In the movie, a young fatherless boy named Sawyer becomes lonely and sad when his only friend, his older cousin, goes off to war. Upon rescuing and befriending an injured dolphin named Winter, however, he makes new friends—a young girl his age, Hazel, and her father, the owner of the aquarium where Winter is taken to heal. Sawyer’s heart begins to open up to life again, as Winter teaches him how to play and laugh. Sawyer falls in love with helping Winter and with marine biology in general, and he finds meaning and joy in life as he watches Winter receive her prosthetic tail and learn to swim again. One particular line in this movie, however, appeared to sum up the entire story in one simple sentence—“Just because you’re hurt doesn’t mean you’re broken.”
In class this semester, we have just finished reading Sandra Wilson’s book entitled “Hurt People Hurt People,” as many of the previous posts have mentioned. One of Wilson’s primary messages throughout the book is that there is always hope—no matter how badly you’ve hurt others, no matter how badly others have hurt you, there is always hope for healing and change. Wilson discusses in great depth how our childhood—childhood thinking, childhood solutions, childhood wounds—is often the genesis of our adult problems and pains. However, suffering is not the main point of her book; what we do with our suffering, she states, is what matters. We can allow our suffering to make us hopeless or we can use it to make us hopeful.
The story of Winter and Sawyer speaks to countless adults and children today who have disabilities, who have also lost limbs, who suffer from spinal cord injuries, or who have just been hurt in any way; they are examples that prove change is possible and hope for a better life after tragedy really does exist, as Wilson also testifies to us in “Hurt People Hurt People.” Sometimes when we are hurt—physically or otherwise—we are convinced that it is the end, that our happiness is over, that we will never feel wholeness or joy again. We think we are permanently broken, but we are not. In the Lord we can have hope, as Psalm 147:3 simply states, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”When we feel that we are beyond hope and that our souls or bodies are torn beyond repair, may we all think of Winter and Sawyer and be reminded that although we are hurt, we are not broken; in Christ we are made whole. In Christ alone can we hope, and in Christ alone can we have the courage to dream again.