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By Esih Efuru

The movie “Beasts of the Southern Wild” exposed me to a world that was full of life, laughter and love. Hushpuppy and her fellow inhabitants were strong, independent, and loaded with faith. They dared the elements and the mighty forces to test God’s love and care for them on a daily basis. Hushpuppy was a product of a faith-filled environment, a protégé of believers and champions who lived like kings and queens among perceived ruins.

Quvenzhané Wallis, who played Hushpuppy, is nominated for an Acadamy Award for Best Actress. She is the youngest actress to ever be nominated for that award.

I watched how little Hushpuppy looked after herself and became one with her world, where all she needed was provided for her. I admired the tough love of her father and his determination to bring the best out of her. They could never bear to be separated, from their cajoling to their rage and then from sickness and even death. It reminded me of God’s love for me, and my own conversations rich with laughter and sometimes rage, when I needed God to answer the tough questions and he answered me back with tough love. The “Bathtub”, the Louisiana peninsula where they resided, reminded me of my colorful world, full of blessings and possibilities ripe for discovery.

Like Hushpuppy, I have made myself at home in the world, amongst its disarray and perceived ruin. God has provided everything I need to enjoy abundant life, stocked my comings and goings with opportunities to experience joy, and surrounded me with the love of family and friends. None of it looks like people think it should, but it is there, and it is mine for the taking. What opportunities for life, laughter and love stand among you?

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Headlines run daily about twists of fate, misfortune doom, but it’s not your story. Take life’s realities as a wake up call to live, laugh and love! You can take the world you live in and discover paradise, for there is far greater joy than in the world than what is presented to us in the media. An old hymn declares “morning by morning, new mercies I see…” God wants us to stand among the wild and notice life’s beauty, to laugh out loud and throw a kiss to the wind, knowing that while the world isn’t perfect, it is ours to inhabit to the fullest while we are living. We should take every opportunity to cherish it while we can. The sober reality is that our experiences could be far worse.

Hushpuppy braved storms, sickness and death, but kept her strength and never lost sight of the beauty of living. She accepted her world for what it was, and made it her heaven. It wasn’t an extravagant view, but everyone she loved and everything she needed was at her fingertips. Your joy, peace and favor await you, if you look real close, past what isn’t pretty or doesn’t seem like enough. God is faithful to your heart, and will always make sure that you have what you need. Take a look around your world, have a big hearty laugh, and squeeze yourself and feel the love that has surrounded you the entire time.

Esih Efuru, a 43 year old writer, artist and minister, is raising a daughter in Charlotte, NC. Email her esihefuru@gmail.com

More articles by Esih Efuru

The Heart of the Giver

A Woman With No Feet Makes Me Think Again

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