Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Kicking Up A Fuss

As the Missus and I were sitting around in our living room on Monday night, regaling each other with tales of the day that was in our respective work places, I quickly perused the Direct TV on-screen guide to see what might serve as the source of our evening's entertainment.  As luck would have it, we stumbled across a 8:00 pm airing of The Shawshank Redemption, which I turned to in time to catch it from its opening credits. 

Shawshank is one of my favorite films.  It is one that - should I happen across it while it is being aired on any channel, the channel that is broadcasting it becomes the remote control's resting place right up until Andy spots Red walking towards him on a Mexican beach.  It is also a film that I rarely, if ever, get to see from start-to-finish, catching it (as I tend to do) when it is already in progress.  Thus, Monday night was a real treat.  

One of my favorite parts of the film, although it breaks my heart every time I watch it, is the several minutes devoted to the post-release life (and death) of Brooks Hatlen.  His final words, which are actually contained in the text of his last letter "home", written to Andy, Red, and the rest of the gang he left behind at the prison, always strike me as being as beautiful as they are tragic.  That is because irrespective of whether one ever is incarcerated for the lion's share of one's life, everyone knows fear. Everyone knows what it feels like to be afraid.  

But not everyone has the tools - without any support system in place - to tamp down fear in order to ensure that it cannot blossom into panic or into despair.  Behind the walls of the penitentiary, Brooks had a support system.  Outside of those walls, living life as a "free man", he felt overwhelmed.  He felt alone.  He felt as if he had but one choice...

...which was really the same thing as not having any choice at all.  

Tomorrow we bid 2015 farewell.  While we shall no longer date our letters (and if you are the indomitable Joanie K. your checks) "2015" (well, not past February anyway), the travails and troubles that confronted us this year shall be there - on the other side of the ball drop - awaiting our arrival.  

Perhaps in the year to come, we might all do a better job of remembering that we do not own the exclusive right to hardship.  For once we learn to walk a step or two in another's shoes, we just might come to understand how important it is to kick up a fuss.  


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