The two biggest reasons why I am still married after 10 years, 6 children and lots of life drama? God's grace and date night. Ah, date night. The much coveted, albeit brief, escape from children, work, and business where I get to come together with my man and reconnect. Sometimes it is as simple as a walk through the park, or as complicated as dinner and a movie. And by complicated I mean arranging child care, and actually planning out what we desire to do. Let's just say there are a few things we can be indecisive about and the what and where issues seem to be a major stalling ground.
Oh, last night we got our date night, and a long and glorious one at that. We opted for dinner and a movie, neither of which disappointed. I had really been wanting to see Soul Surfer, after remembering the girl's headlines several years ago. For those of you who may not know, the movie is about a young girl who survived a shark attack while surfing, and went on to become a pro surfer with only one arm. Amazing. I can't even surf with two.
I walked away from the movie having learned a lesson, but it had far less to do with the actual movie and more to do with a few women who sat behind us. I am sure I am not the only person who has ever been annoyed with others while at a movie theater. You go hoping for a certain experience, to hopefully enjoy the movie with little to no distraction. However, last night a group of 5 woman sat behind us who were determined to teach me a thing or two. They laughed, they made crude comments, they poked fun at the story line and even some of the animals, and they were loud about it all. No one else was joining them; everyone else was silent or tearful as the girl lost her limb and the scene unfolded.
To say I was annoyed might be a bit of an understatement. Here was one person's true story unfolding before our eyes, and there were five woman mocking it at every turn. I was insulted for the girl. Then the group of women got up and walked out. I was a bit tempted to clap at their departure, but I refrained. I left the movie and could not stop thinking about this. Then I realized why.
How many of us have gone through our lives being afraid of the ridicule of the 5? How many of us refuse to be real or share our stories because of the negativity we could receive from some? I have been there, and I struggle everyday with that very thing. I have spent so much of my life being afraid of those who would hurt me that too often I have hidden away in an effort to protect myself. Here is the thing that struck me, though, maybe for the first time, as I watched the situation last night. 5 mocked, jeered and then left. However, over 30 stayed, watched and listened. This girl had the courage—yes, courage—to share her story and in so doing to share her struggle. And there is at least one who she has helped to change. That person is me. She obviously decided it was worth the risk, and I have to agree.
So here is my challenge to you. Don't let fear hold you back. Don't be afraid of those who mock and ridicule. Live life being real. You never know who you might impact or help along the way. The girl made a point in the movie, when asked whether she would go out into the water again that day, knowing she would lose her arm. She replied with (paraphrase mine), "I would, because I can embrace and love more people with one arm [because of the attention of the story] than I ever could with two." Powerful.