The documentary featured some survivors of the tsunami who told their stories and shared footage they had shot during the event. As the documentary went on you learned of the families of those being interviewed. One man had three children and a girlfriend. One couple had a young daughter named Isabelle. One man had a wife and two kids. One woman had her parents and her husband. They only interviewed one or two people from each family and it was always an adult, and so I knew for sure that the parents survived but I didn't know about the children until the end.
There was one family with three kids and a girlfriend. The night before the tsunami the son had a series of nightmares about the beach and he warned his family that something very bad was going to happen. The son and his sister Collie stayed home from the beach that day while the father, his girlfriend, and his other daughter went scuba diving. They said there were no fish at all anywhere they looked, and that it was like being sucked into a whirlpool. When they came up again, the hotels were all flattened. They said it looked like a nuclear holocaust had taken place while they were under the water.
They found their bungalow completely destroyed, and they dug around the rubble looking for the son and Collie for two or three days. Finally they got word that the son in a hospital, and the girlfriend went to stay with him while the dad and sister continued to look for Collie. There was a wall where people would post pictures of the dead, so you could know to keep looking or not. Good Morning America was filming the wall when the dad and sister came to look, so you see the moment when they find the picture of Collie dead. It was the most heart-wrenching thing I ever did see. I cannot even fathom the pain they felt and still feel for their loss.
Another couple lost their 5-year old daughter, Isabelle. The mom said she was holding her so tight, but the water ripped her from her arms. The dad searched and searched and searched for her while the mother lay in the hospital badly injured. When he finally found her body, he said he was asked several times- "is this your daughter? Is this your daughter? Are you sure?"
So why am I talking about this. Well, I think it's because I have always felt that it is extremely important to remember. I think of 9/11 every time I see 9:11 on a clock. I think of those poor children at that elementary school shooting basically every time I think of Christmas and my little sister.
I believe that remembering is only part of it though. One of the survivors said that he remembers seeing people die and wondering why he wasn't taken. He said he wanted to make his life worth it, for all those who didn't survive that day.
I have been thinking about my future a lot recently, and through a series of conversations and opportunities and occurrences I have decided that what I want, what I really, reeeaallly want to do with my life, is help others. The most rewarding things I have ever done have involved service. I am, without a doubt, the happiest I can be when I am not focused on myself.
I want to be apart of those humanitarian teams who go in and help when these tragedies strike. I want to be as brave as the men in the video who were grabbing people out of the water and got them afloat. The mother of sweet, sweet Isabelle said that in those days that they didn't know what had happened to their little girl she kept thinking things like, "oh well, she learned to swim yesterday and so she could be fine." or, "maybe someone helped her, found her and helped her." I wish so much that there had been someone around to help Isabelle, but there wasn't. In the future I hope that I can be at the right place and the right time to help someone in need.
So. It's like in that movie In Time. I love that movie. It is so thought-provoking. The rich man asks Will Salas what he would do if he had as much time as he did, and Will said, "I sure as hell wouldn't waste it." In his final message to Will before he dies, he writes "don't waste my time." And Will doesn't. Will spends his time saving others with the ultra-rich, ultra-awesome Sylvia. His and her lives become centered around giving time away to those who would use it for more than just partying and big houses.
I think that it is time for me to stop wasting time. I think 2012 was such a bust because the majority of the time I was very self-centered and spent my time in a selfish manner. It is really important that I help others because I have been blessed with so much.
So! This is my Christmas gift to myself- this higher awareness. I think it can be a really powerful tool to motivate me towards my best self. 2013 is going to be different and so much better because I will be actively pursuing all of my goals at once, because what they all boil down to- Africa, Continuing Promise, learning Arabic, a kick-a internship at the DoD, another internship at NIH, BYU-Jerusalem....is gaining understanding and helping others. This attitude is what will propel me to my goals and will make me a better person. My motto will no longer be WWFRD (What would Flo Rida do?), but rather it is always the best time to be better.
I will not waste my time.