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Our Locked Doors

Our Locked Doors “These walls are funny…first you hate them. Then you get used to them. After time passes, you get so you depend on them.” These words, stated by ‘Red’ (played by Morgan Freeman) in the iconic film, Shawshank Redemption, are from a man who has been in prison for decades. He has no more fighting spirit left, nothing to live for: “Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. You better get used to that idea.” Losing hope. It is what I have felt and seen, deeply, in the eyes of my patients in the psychiatric hospital. They, too, are behind a locked door: walls surround them and envelope them. We try to help but, sadly, some simply see no way out. And, dare I say, this is tragically what can happen to many of us in our everyday life. For us, our locked door may be slower and more subtle. As time goes on, we lose our passion, our curiosity, our fight. Bereft of meaning, we give up and resort to escapism, distraction, and way too much comfort. Never, never give up. Midway in the movie, a fellow prisoner, ‘Andy’ (played by Tim Robbins), says: “there are places in the world that are not made out of stone. There’s something inside that they (the prison system) cannot touch…..hope.” Andy’s words echo the insights of the great psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”, who survived the holocaust. Frankl said that those who fared best during the holocaust were those who had a sense of tomorrow, something tangible to look forward to, something to dream about. People who never gave up hope. People who still had passion and a purpose that no one else could touch or take away. One of the more powerful blessings of life is that we never know what lies next around the corner. And that’s what makes life so intriguing. So yes, we should always keep dreaming, dreaming about the unique chapter that we can write, the difference that we can make. As the film comes to a close, Andy’s words are poignant: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

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