Thursday, November 19, 2009


The professor in class asked a question about the patience displayed by the main character of the Shawshank Redemption movie Andrew "Andy" Dufresne who is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine for murdering his wife and her lover.

The question being to put ourselves in his place and describe the Patience needed to make it.

Now I would like to point out that for one, Andy’s patience ran out as he eventually escaped after realizing the limits and futility of his own patience, second you do not have to imagine what it would be like to live through this since in real life there are hundreds of former prisoners who have been wrongly convicted only to be released later after the truth inevitably emerges from the darkness.

They are experts in the matter and could give most Buddhist Monks a run for their money on what it means to be patient.

I have watched these men, through the media, as they embrace their freedom with a calm that to me is so shocking that it borders on terrifying.

How does someone maintain their sanity after pleading, screaming, bargaining for anyone to listen that they are innocent?

How do you control of your emotions, and achieve a level of peace KNOWING that you are paying for a crime you did not commit?

All the while caged like an animal surrounded by men who have committed REAL crimes against their fellow man and who have built a culture in those prisons were the weak are preyed upon and the solution seems to be to become a predator.

How do you not let hate eat away at your soul and lash violently out at the world trying to make it feel the pain you suffered with all those years stuck in time as the rest of the world kept turning, not just leaving you behind but forgetting about your existence all together?

How do you not let the stress kill you, or for that matter how do you not kill yourself?

I can only speculate on what it takes, because I have never walked in those shoes and I pray that I never do.

Hate would be my close friend in there, my confidant, and my support.

The only thing I can think of is that these men have consciously or sub-consciously practiced a combination of mediation, denial, hope and faith.

Meditation to clear the mind of all distractions and allowing for focus.

The denial of the despair that creeps into you and allows you to accept your fate, abandoning the future.

Hope that your freedom will be given back to you.

And finally, faith, faith in the world that it will open its eyes and see your innocence.

This is what I believe will allow them to ease the stress of their minds and hold on to their sanity and eventually leave prison still human and maybe better off than what they were before.

That is what I think it would take to come out of their alive. Alive and at peace with not only yourself but those around you and more importantly those who are responsible for your incarceration.

I cannot say that I am that type of person who would have the types of tools to make it out. But seeing men like the ones who did make it out gives me hope at the very least.