Everyone will experience trials at some point in their lives and if you haven’t they will come when you least expect it. The pain we feel, the sorrow that pangs our hearts, and the peace that we can never get are waves crashing over us, drowning us until we are covered over our heads with water. In the popular anime Your Lie In April, Kousei Arima finds himself in a similar situation, as the terrifying memories of his abusive mother paralyze him, and he is caught inside an ocean that he cannot escape.
During his entire childhood, piano was Kousei’s aim and this was brought about by harsh expectations from his mother, a world-renown musician. Having been afflicted with a deadly medical sickness and living her life on a time clock, Saki, Kousei’s mother, wanted to give her son something before she passed away, something that would benefit his future. No more did she instruct her son with the tenderness she once had when he was younger but persistently forced Kousei to practice scores written by the greats of piano with perfect accuracy: Chopin, Bach, and Beethoven. One missed note would give one smack to the face and giving up was not an option. To put this into perspective, Kousei would exit a typical piano session with a collection of bruises and scars across his body, being physically beaten by his own mother.
He was isolated from friends, extraciriculars, and even school, as his mother prioritized his music above everything. Nothing else mattered except to master the score. Kousei is known by the music community as “a human metronome” because of the torture that he endured as a child and the incredible musical abilities that it produced.
Kousei lived through Hell while growing up and the horrors of what happened still affect him in his present, especially after Saki Arima passed away. Every time he plays the piano, whether in solitude or competition, he cannot hear the notes that are being pushed and hallucinates himself underwater, drowning in his own depression. He imagines the ghost of his sickly mother in her wheel chair, sitting with her hands folded gently across her lap, watching him critically for any mistakes that he might make, even after she has died. Kousei feels that he is being punished by the nightmares that ruin his life and knows of no escape.
“As if I’m at the bottom of a dark sea, I can’t hear anything. There’s no one here. It’s dark. It’s dark…It’s dark. I’m at the bottom of a dark sea…and I’m going to be all alone.”
You may be able to relate with Kousei in your own life; I surely could when I had oceans that would never cease to come above my head, relentlessly crashing over me. If you read my testimony, you would know that I had struggles against pornography, divorce and friendships. These things left me in a long depression that has lasted for years and I have only recently received the healing that I need. You could still be underneath the water, slowly sinking to the depths, and I want to tell you that there is hope.
Some will seek the answers to their problems by relying on other people like when Kousei put all of his purpose into the girl of his dreams, Kaori Miyazono. However, people will eventually fail in the greater scheme of things as they do not last forever. Money, success, power, sex, and anything else are only fillers that attempt to numb the pain that we feel and pump oxygen into our lungs to keep us breathing underwater when it will eventually fade away. In short, we can only rely on a source that lasts for eternity, something that will never let us down and pull us out of the water. And I think that that something is Jesus Christ and he gives us hope.
If you have ever read through the Bible, there are countless promises of victory that our creator gives to the people of that time that also extend to us, especially when we are going through our ocean experiences. There are hundreds of verses all across time, thousands of years apart, that still ring the same message: that God will always save you in your time of trouble. Unlike any other religion, the God of Christianity cares about his people and loves them dearly.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” (Isaiah 41:10-13, NIV)
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 55:22, NIV)
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8, NIV)
Later on in his life, as Kousei is literally thrown into his school pool by childhood friend Tsubaki, he reflects upon the trials in his own life and discovers the secret that brought him out of his sticking place, the hope that was present all along. He has already healed from the suffering that he experienced as a child but the realization was a reminder that carried him later in the series.
“Is it because it’s a pool or because the moon is out? Maybe…just maybe the light can reach even the bottom of a dark ocean.”
God’s light will always reach us at the bottom of our issues and meets us exactly where we are. No matter what the situation is, we can have hope that He will be able to bring us out of it and give us peace. And once we decide to have faith that Jesus Christ has the power to save us from our troubles, He will come through for us.