Hold Fast to Dreams

September 9, 2012

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Recently, a distraught friend asked me for some advice on how to handle the disillusionment resulting from an unfulfilled dream in his life. Our conversation reminded me of one memorable scene from the movie "Shawshank Redemption" where two inmates, Andy Dufresne and Red Redding, are discussing their plans for a life outside of prison.


Andy is a dreamer, who plans on moving to Mexico and opening a small hotel by the beach despite knowing that he may never be released. Red, being the hardened, more experienced convict, understands all to well how dangerous dreams can be when you are condemned to live your life trapped inside a block of concrete. He warns Andy to accept his fate as an institutionalized man, but Andy sternly disagrees: "It all boils down to a simple choice really: get busy living or get busy dying."


In the end, the worst kind of prison is the one that we build for ourselves. Walls of concrete can certainly restrain the body, but it’s the invisible walls we erect around ourselves that really suffocate our dreams. And is a barren life devoid of dreams really worth living? I think Langston Hughes said it best:


“Hold fast to dreams

  For if dreams die

  Life is a broken-winged bird

  That cannot fly.


 Hold fast to dreams

 For when dreams go

 Life is a barren field

 Frozen with snow.”


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