Thursday, January 05, 2012

Fill Your Mind with Optimism, A New Year's Resolution

I got this email yesterday from my Dad.

Hi Jordan,
Tell us more about Lucy reading her book to Bethany and other shark attacked people!
Missing you and yours!

So I got an email from the Friends of Bethany foundation about a week ago.

If you don't know Bethany Hamilton, she is the young girl who was also attacked by a tiger shark.  Although her shark was MUCH bigger and took her whole left arm off.  A movie, Soul Surfer, was made about her experience.  The kids and I watched the movie (except I fast forwarded the actually shark attack incident) a few weeks after Lucy's accident.

Bethany is 21 now and continues to reach out to other amputees and shark attack victims.  This particular conference call was girls only so that everyone would feel comfortable asking questions and chatting.  We could see Bethany on the computer but she could not see us.  We talked to her through the phone.

Lucy had questions prepared ahead of time.

"How old are you?"
"When is your birthday?"
"Will you come to my birthday?"
"Was it hard for you to get back in the ocean?"
"Will you come visit me in North Carolina?"

She answered all of Lucy's questions so sweetly.  Then Lucy had me read the book she wrote about her shark bite to Bethany and the other (5 or 6) listeners.

I am so happy Lucy has Bethany.  And that she will always have her, this faithful, positive, beautiful young woman with whom she has a rare thing in common.  It was good of her to take the time to do this and to reach out to these other girls.

One 18 year old amputee chatted candidly as if she and Bethany were best friends.  It was obvious that they had a relationship, that they had been corresponding for awhile.  She asked Bethany about tricks to typing on the keyboard with one hand (Bethany had no tricks).  She asked her if she had a boyfriend.  (No, but she says she is getting closer to feeling like she'd like to find someone.)  A little 10 year old arm amputee struggles with people constantly asking her "What happened?" (Bethany said, when she was younger she would make things up, like 'it was a turtle', or 'a tiger jumped up and bit it off').

Lucy still has a leg, though she was SO close to not having it.

And what's the difference?  Millimeters.

Fractions of seconds and inches and just being in the wrong or right place at the right time.

Things completely out of our control.

I am so unbelievable nervous at the edge of those waves now.  I used to dive deep deep into them without a second thought, so I had a question for Bethany, too.  I asked her how she did it.  How she got back in the water.  She said she just tried not to dwell on it.  She put it out of her mind.  She said she knew that shark attacks were so rare and that it wasn't going to happen again so she just put it out of her mind.

There is so much we can control.  Like how we think about it.  Like putting certain things out of our mind and filling it instead with optimism and courage.  That is my new year's resolution.

This is Lucy's drawing.  The assignment was given before the holiday break in her 1st grade class.  They had to come up with a word that described them that started with the same letter as their first name.

Lucky Lucy.

I'm so proud of Lucy.  She is amazing.  She IS optimistic and courageous.

My favorite part of her picture is that although this terrifying, painful thing is happening, most of the drawing is about all the other beautiful things.  The green coral waving in the water, little fishies, a purple jellyfish, bees and butterflies flitting about in the clouds and that huge bright sun lighting it all!

And she's saying, "Look, Mom", just as kids do when they are doing something amazing in the water.

Lucy has promised herself that next time we are on the beach she is "GOING TO get back in the water, for sure!"  I hope I can join her.


Kurt Knudsen said...

Lucy, Bethany and you are all amazing!

jenifer said...

what a sweet post. i LOVE lucy's picture. but, oh how it makes my mother's heart ache that ANYONE has to endure hard things. ugh. lucy is lucky. to have her foot, and her family, and great friends like bethany. thanks for sharing!

jenifer said...

ps. i love the shark's red eye. (my kids used to think you could tell bad guys because they would have red eyes.) :)

olivia said...


TX Girl said...

when I called yesterday I hadn't opened the photo completely on facebook and didn't see her words.. Lucky indeed! She's lucky she has Bethany, a fellow survivor, but I think she is pretty lucky to have you too.

kelly said...

Hi Jordan:-) your sweet love Lucy is quite the drawer...she must have your families creative genes...I showed my children your post about the shark attack, and they think Lucy is the bravest person in the whole 6 year old willow thinks she should be called super Lucy.... :-))
From Kelly in Australia xox

merathon said...

that's definitely a girl with two artist grandparents! what an amazing piece of art, though i agree with you-- what stood out was the beautiful ocean life and scenery! (don't mind that crazy evil-eyed shark in the corner...)

my girls have been so concerned about lucy and she has been in every single one of their prayers ever since July. in fact, just a couple days ago, i told them they might not need to pray for "lucy's leg to get better" anymore because it was pretty much healed and that she was going to be starting dance! they were so excited and said "our prayers worked!"

bethany sounds like a sweetheart. how awesome to have that support network!

Tasha said...

I am so emotional today, I have tears running down my cheeks, I hadn't seen the words on FB either. Yes, the Knudsen/Mangums have some amazing genes, artistic and otherwise. What an amazing world we live in and how lovely when serendipity and the divine it is when we find one another.

Ingrid said...

Tasha said it perfectly. Mike loved talking with Craig the other day...he said it was like old times. We need to get together again soon...if anything, so I can finally give Lucy her special treat that my children and I have for her.

Rebekah V. said...

I think you should charge me 100 bucks an hour. You are MY therapist.

Optimism and courage in the face of all things. Including sharks.(Although I can't believe anyone has to include sharks!) Thanks for the insight. I needed it today.

Sarah said...

That is so awesome Lucy got to talk to Bethany! She is one Lucky and very blessed little girl.