Get Busy Living
An intersection of thoughts today… none of them new – you will feel like you have heard this before. But it’s what seems to wish to be said so here we go:
- After one of the predictions of Jesus’ death which we read at church last Sunday Peter responds by saying that Jesus is talking crazy and that he can’t die. Jesus is of a different mind… its almost exactly what he says, “You are not thinking divine thoughts.” (Matthew 16:23)
- I engaged in a short exchange on Facebook about not failing sometimes meaning you also aren’t succeeding because what you really aren’t doing is risking anything. Failure, as I have been told before, is good. It can help you to find what you are looking for, or the path to find it, by virtue of showing you what it isn’t or how not to get there. It is a reminder that sometimes our greatest failures are a slow decline caused by fear of failing, or of not succeeding.
- Luke 19 was mentioned to me in that previous exchange. In the parable the stewards are not rewarded for coming back to their master and saying, “I have exactly what you gave me.” The master was looking for them to turn something into more. The key line to me is, “Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’”
- And then finally this great quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. The character of Andy Dufresne is wrongfully in prison and not getting out any time soon. He has played nice, been helpful, and its got him even more a prisoner than ever before. And he utters, from a place of seeming despair, “Its time to get busy living, or get busy dying.” The next day alarms go off and Andy’s friends put together pieces of conversation and come to the conclusion that perhaps Andy has hung himself, “He asked for a piece of rope.” It turns out an altogether different outcome has occurred. Andy has finally decided after years of digging to the sewers, to actually act on it and escape.
In the words of his best friend, “Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of **** smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to. Five hundred yards… that’s the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile… Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of **** and came out clean on the other side. Andy Dufresne, headed for the Pacific. Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled… Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”
Yes. I guess I just miss my friend. Peter was going to do so also. But in a world that is often crippled by fears…. of how we will be perceived, of how we will fail, of not doing well enough, of getting hurt, of getting others hurt… of… well a great many things. In such a world of fear we all come to a point where we have to get busy living or get busy dying. And sometimes those two things look a lot alike. In fact sometimes we are living a slow death, and sometimes we die our way into new life. Andy Dufresne died and rose again on the other side of a sewer. Jesus died, and rose again for all of us. Are we willing and ready when the time comes for us, to get busy living by being willing to get busy dying?
It isn’t easy – thank God we don’t do it alone.