The soul can be a dangerous thing!
One of my favorite movies (I seem to pull it out every couple of years) is The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as two prisoners serving life terms at the Shawshank prison. One particular scene mirrors the beauty and danger of following the yearnings of the soul. Robbins’ character, Andy Dufresne, finds himself in a room where he has control of what goes over the loudspeakers to the whole prison yard. His soul recognizes the opportunity. He locks the guard in the bathroom, turns on the record player, flips the switches for the loudspeakers and sits back as the soprano duet from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro blankets the prison yard with rich operatic voices. Red, Morgan Freeman’s character, reflects on the experience:
I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.” (watch the scene at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=718RlaIYBlo)
I may be crazy, but I have made a life of attempting to follow the bread crumbs of that “ache of the heart” to which Red refers. In a prison, the system tries to kill that human ache because it becomes a threat. Prisoners who can’t seem to quell the ache for beauty, for warmth, and for the loving touch start to become dangerous. They ask for too much, expect too much and even take risks to satisfy the yearnings of that soulful ache. They refuse to be anything less than human and treated humanely.
We shouldn’t assume that just because we don’t live behind a barbed wire fence that we don’t live in our own constructed prisons. How often do we refuse to let our soul take flight because it might appear irresponsible? How many times have we medicated ourselves with food, drink, drugs and overwork in order to quiet that ache that we feel inside? How often have we dismissed our own truth because it would stick out like a rainbow in a black and white photo?
Satisfying the yearnings of the soul is what makes us uniquely human. But, be careful! The soul does not recognize the rules of this world. As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Birds don’t like to be caged. And Andy was not meant for prison.
Remember what Marianne Williamson said in A Return to Love: “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
Shine your light. Let your wings expand. Allow your life to become as big as your soul. But, don’t be naïve. The world is more used to numbing than living…and as long as that is true, the soul can be a dangerous thing.