“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
That quote from “Shawshank Redemption” sticks with you doesn’t it? You may remember that Andy is telling Red, who insists that Hope has no place in prison, that Hope is “the best of things.” Yes, the movie is set in prison, but it is about us, you and me, prisoners of our lives.
I was going to write a beautiful piece of uplifting prose, hopeful that if I did I could create a blog sensation that went viral and took the country by storm! And instead I have already said that life is a prison and have given up all hope of reaching a large audience. Who wants to think of his/her life in those terms? Not many. And yet, who is living an utterly free life, flitting from one adventure to another, beholden to nothing? Right. Not many. And what’s more: Who wants to? We live our lives behind walls we willingly construct.
I guess hurling one’s self off of a cliff takes courage. Yes, I’m sure it does. But people who do those types of things usually talk about people like us in patronizing terms, saying that we don’t have the courage to really live our lives. And I beg to differ.
Settling down, getting married, having kids takes courage. That is, it does if you enter into those commitments intending to stay in them come what may. Sending a perfect little baby out into the world, knowing that if the worst happened you would never heal, is at least as courageous as jumping off a cliff with a parachute, knowing that if the worst happens, you’ll never feel it.
And how about people who are single rather than in bad relationships? Think that doesn’t take courage in a couple-centric world? Or people in relationships who decide they don’t want children, who have the courage of their convictions?
Wait a minute! Courage has snuck in and is trying to hijack this essay! Courage, you dirty dog! “Not so fast,” Courage says, “Where you find me, you will always find Hope. Any fool can live a life that has no hope. Hope may be the most courageous act there is.”
I think one reason my writing isn’t very popular is because I always write about myself. Maybe people think my blog is just the rantings and ravings of an egotistical maniac. I like to think that I write about myself because I’m who I know best but also because I think I’m a fairly typical cat. So hopefully I’m writing about you too. Let’s try it:
I am depressed (maybe you are too). I have chronic pancreatitis (you probably don’t). I’m in constant pain (you’re in constant something I bet). I hope I get better (so do you). If I don’t, I don’t. My wife married a strong man, a healthy man. That is not who she’s married to now. But she is not going anywhere. In sickness and in health indeed! Think of how brave those vows are! How hopeful! “I love you now, in your health. Of course, I do. But I will love you if you get sick, too. I will take care of you; I will hold you; I will do whatever I need to do to keep you warm, and dry, and safe. Not because I am fearless, but because I am brave. I am scared; I am weak. But I will get up tomorrow and I will do what needs to be done and I will Hope for the best.”