In this season of gratitude, we often face waves of both disappointments and unexpected gifts. Recently, I’ve experienced both a low point and a high point while navigating the waves of life.
Two weeks ago, I received news that the premiere of my documentary, Sakura & Pearls: Healing from World War II, had been canceled at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. High ranking officials in the military decided to take my reserved spot at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Theater at the last minute for another event. The disappointment hit many people who helped this film to become a reality, including the family members of those who were featured in the documentary. We had reserved the theater time 9 months in advance, and in just a matter of moments, the premiere was no more.
So I did what I normally do when unexpected hardships strike. I got busy manifesting new opportunities. My new action plan is already in motion as I apply for film festivals around the world to ensure that many new places would get a chance to see the film in theaters. Like the Serenity Poem highlights, there are things that are in our hands that we have the power to change and there are circumstances that are out of our hands to influence. But those factors that are out of our hands aren’t always hardships. Sometimes, they are a surprise gift.
My disappointment became my surprise gift. Just a few hours ago, a Navy submariner shot and killed 2 civilian military contractors and critically wounded a 3rd victim before taking his own life at the Pearl Harbor shipyard. Authorities are still unraveling the mystery around why the gunman on the USS Columbia ship opened fired. As tragedy strikes, we do our best to put our hands and our prayers into the service of those directly impacted by this travesty. What makes this incident so profound for me is that this was a horrible event for some, yet somehow a surprise gift of safety for me. I was supposed to be showing my movie, Sakura & Pearls at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center just across the harbor, on Wed Dec. 4th at the same time that the shooting happened. It was intentionally scheduled around the 78th Annual Pearl Harbor Commemoration, because several Pearl Harbor survivors were featured in the film. The disappointing cancellation of the documentary premiere actually took me out of harm’s way.
But what of the surprise hardship that has impacted the fallen victims and their families? As I shared, the surprise events that are out of our hands come both in the forms of tragedies and gifts. Surely, we will gather around the grieving families to ensure that they have the support that they need to heal, as that is our power to do.
Life moves in waves, and we can ride those waves yet never create them ourselves. Just as I had experienced an unexpected hardship 2 weeks ago when my movie was canceled, that same hardship became a surprise gift. With every low point, there is a rising moment in waiting, given to us by forces beyond our control. Those families that are now in crisis are suffering a low moment in their lives. But the wave always rises again. We, their neighbors, will be there for them as we wait for the next beneficial wave to come.