In the movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” Andy Dufresne is a young banker wrongly convicted of murder. He refused to be a victim, though, and worked to give education and hope to those doing time in Shawshank Penitentiary.
At one point in the movie, Andy locks himself in the warden’s office and plays a recording of Mozart over the prison’s loudspeaker. Here is how his friend and fellow prisoner Red described that moment:
I have no idea what those two Italian ladies were singing about. I don’t want to know. I’d like to think it was something too beautiful for words. Andy got two weeks in the hole.
When Andy returns from solitary confinement, he rejoins his friends in the dining hall. They express their sympathy, but he assures them it was the easiest time he ever did because he had Mr. Mozart with him. As he describes the way the music reminded him of places that were not made of stone where everyone needs to go, Red asks what he is talking about. Andy replies simply, “Hope.” Red has been in prison too long, and he says, warningly, “Hope is a dangerous thing.”
As the first day of the week was dawning, Mary discovered that Jesus had gotten out of the grave where they had left him. Nothing in her life would ever be the same again.
Perhaps if we could bring ourselves to believe more in life than in death; if we could come to believe that life is made of a profoundly eternal and durable substance; if we could come to trust that we are made of that eternally durable stuff maybe hope would endanger the death that seems too often to oppress us.
by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal