Justin Ricklefs


The Possibility of Liberation

“Bro, I’m not going through that. I’m wearing flip flops.”

My entitled ass said that to my 11-year-old son, who was looking for adventure.

“Oh, come on dad, it’s awesome.”

The 100 ft drain pipe, that connected one suburban neighborhood to the other, went under a street and between two creeks. Well, the same creek, I suppose, especially when it rains.

“Alright man, I’m coming…”

I couldn’t help but instantly think of Andy Dufresne. Who found redemption from Shawshank in a much more harrowing (and smelly) pipe than the one I found myself wandering into on a carefree Sunday.

He crawled through a river of shit, and came out clean on the other side, as Red so eloquently summarized his flee to freedom.

There’s something so moving, so profound, so deeply inspiring about that movie, and that scene, in particular.

Isn’t liberation what we’re after?

Isn’t freedom a more powerful force than fear?

Weren’t we created for courage instead of sitting back in comfortable flip flops?

The paradox, of course, is that it’s never found on the safe side of the shitty river.

It’s always, and only, on the other side of the darkness.

Maybe it’s time we get busy living. Or we’ll just keep staying busy, dying.

Thanks, Red. Thanks, Andy. Thanks, Silas.

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