Andy and Red

“It comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

This is a famous line from the movie Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne, who consistently claims his innocence, has been convicted of killing his wife doomed to spend the rest of his days in prison. There he meets Red Redding who is also serving a life sentence. Although they become fast friends they have entirely different perspectives on their situation. Red isresigned to his fate. Andy is not. He dreams and eventually painstakingly plots his successful escape. In the process he finally inspires Red to do the same-but only after Red has been released from jail. Desperate that he won’t be able to make it “on the outside”, Red finally finds the courage to shake off his old life and embrace an unknown future in Mexico with his friend, Andy.

There are such wonderful life lessons here, at any age, but especially as we age. Both men lived a very regimented routine existence in prison. They slept, ate and exercised, repeat, day after day, with no variation, no alternative. Days have a way of slipping into months, even years and little if anything changes in our lives. Where we once perhaps looked upon retirement as welcome, a long fought relief from the same drudgery and commitment, we now realize time has again accumulated holding all sorts of new issues and challenges we had always expected would happen to someone else, not to us. We have merely traded one routine existence for another. We may see little value in each day beyond feeling well enough or inspired enough to get to the next one. Where our former work life schedule brought comfortable familiarity, even though monotonous, we now awaken to the stark reality that nothing has really changed.

Andy resolved not to live like this. His mindset was radically different than Red’s. He put a poster on his wall and each night dug his way to freedom behind it. This probably took an extremely long time. After all, how much dirt can you transport out of your cell each day into the yard in the cuffs of your trousers? Still, we see Andy pressing forward in hope, not despair, day after day advancing one tiny step. That’s what wins a race.

“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character, and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

Only a firm resolve gripped anew every morning will bring about the positive change you long for. It won’t happen with an off again on again approach. It will only happen when consistency replaces complacency. And remember that complacency itself is a choice, like it or not. No choice is a choice.

“Let us run with perseverance the race which is set before you…” Hebrews 12:1

Revive the Andy in you! While we suffer here, especially in a culture that marginalizes seniors and worships youth, let’s celebrate that we are about to go to our glorious heavenly home! Let’s talk about heaven with great joyous anticipation! After all we are a lot closer to home than we were at 30.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the Crown of Life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Andy finally escaped. You’ll have to watch the movie to see all he went through to make his get-away at the end. It was messy! It required fortitude and a final push of almighty grit to make it.

When Red realized Andy had been successful a spark ignited in his own soul….yet fear held him back. How many times do we witness success in someone else and endeavour to model it, only to allow fear to hold us back? That’s why how we show up in the world is vitally important. Our behaviour is always being watched by our friends, our children and our grandchildren. The example we set, positive or negative, has a huge impact on those around us. If fear holds you back from even trying, then fear is winning and you are forfeiting living your absolute best life with Christ at the helm.

The truth is there is Power living in each one of us, but that Power requires that we activate it. Having the capability to do something doesn’t mean our goal will come to fruition. Many folks aspire to be or do something, even with the skill and ability to do it, but they never accomplish it. They never confidently step out activating the Power Who resides within. The Light will not illuminate the room until you throw the switch! Often indeed it is fear that holds us back…. but choosing Jesus is a sure thing!

“Get busy living or get busy dying” demonstrates the plain and simple choice in life before each of us. It’s very straight forward and it’s never too late to change course. You can’t flirt with the Truth. The Truth is absolute. There is no middle road. Why forfeit living your best life, and your heavenly eternity…

“Chose this day who you will serve.” Joshua 24:15

Andy lived his days with hope and anticipation in stark contrast to Red’s abdication of his. Fear be damned, circumstances be dammed, with dogged determination Andy single-mindedly went for it. His prison days, the unjust situation he found himself in, were but his surroundings, nothing more. Andy’s “prison”, like ours, could have been anything but Andy was a tenacious soul resolved to love life and live in hope no matter what. Conversely, Red held himself back from his best life by fear. Man, can we each relate to this at one time or another! No wonder the Bible is so full of Fear Not’s, 365 times to be exact, one for each day of the year.

Choose to get busy living-it’s a sure thing! It’s a love thing!