Inconvenient Truth

Near the start of The Shawshank Redemption Andy Dufresne is on the witness stand, losing a battle for his life he will ultimately win. The district attorney calls “inconvenient” the inability to find the gun used in the crime. Andy has used the gun to make a hole in the river, though not to make holes in his estranged wife, and the golf pro banging her into the wall. 

“Because I am innocent of this crime,” Dufresne replies. “I find it decidedly inconvenient.”

It is the truth.

And that’s all.

By which I mean the gun, it’s use or non-use, it’s location and locatability, and, most crucially for our perceived “prove it to me” approach to life, whether we receive (accept) any of that information, is irrelevant to what is. Andy knows he’s innocent. He will be perceived guilty for the next two decades.

But the truth will out.

So take faith.

Faith is faith in Christ and the faith of Christ, as we come to understand. Faith seeks understanding, and what is sought is found. And it is what it is, as the kids say.

Admittedly, there’s always work to be done, and always more work to be done.

Andy Dufresne, for example, must tunnel through rock, and walk through a quarter mile of sewer — a river of shit, Red calls it. The faithful must do similar work, in ways appropriate to it.

The faith of Christ is rarely convenient.

If ever: it tells us to stay when we want to go, to love when we want to stew, to shut up when we want to speak.

It tells us to forgive when we want to gnaw the marrow of resentment.

[Buechner says we’re eating ourselves, but golly we enjoy that meal.]

And the faith of Christ is the best way of the best man who’s ever lived.

One of CSL’s better known lines — stiff competition, that — has to do with believing in Christianity not so much because of what he sees in it but because of what he sees by what he sees.

And Chesterton who came before says the more one becomes convinced of something the less one is able to explain it. Like loving one’s wife, it is. It simply … is. How could one not see it?

Each of these lines — Lewis, Chesterton, and Andy Dufresne (by way of Stephen King and Frank Darabont) — works by way of indirection, which is crucial in communicating truth. For that matter, add Emily Dickinson: Tell it slant, she says. Not because it’s practical or impractical, effective or proactive — or even rebarbative, to some.

Do it because that’s the way it’s done.

Continue in it, whether anyone sees or not.

The power in Dufresne’s response to the DA is that if he’s guilty, the prosecutor is right — how convenient the gun can’t be found. But he’s innocent. And because that’s the truth, it is inconvenient, and for nearly 20 years.

But Dufresne continues to live in that truth and of the faith of it. The tunnel is his monument to that truth, the boat he begins to build his reminder, to himself, but (since he’s had 19 years to learn it) most of all to us.

Do it because that’s the way it’s done.

Continue in it, whether anyone sees or not.

That’s how the truth will out, as it always does.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent

What I Recalled Watching Netflix

[Television is educational.]   One Saying the same stuff over and over looks like you have different things to say. Two If you’re ever in a below-average film or streaming series, and you beat the tar out of a guy, in a house, and you gaze down in both some shock as also a certain

Read More »

Seeking the King

A line everywhere misattributed to Chesterton reads thus: The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God. This line is not from the great [several senses of the word] man who recently celebrated his 150th birthday, but the mid-century most unmodern novelist Bruce Marshall. The words — which do

Read More »

He’s the Guy

Those social media posts of ‘this moment in this famous film was totally unscripted!!!’ as if that by itself makes it better miss the point. Moat unscripted material, like most ideas, inventions, ideas, notions, &c … fails — such is the nature of creativity: the best stuff, it is devoutly to be wished, sticks around;

Read More »

‘Round Here

Imagine someone, potentially anyone, even you, perhaps, but let us, in any case, say. Yes, you. You pull into the diner – Earl’s, Norm’s, Dinah’s, something like that. A sort-of Googie architecture … but maybe not quite, as if it’d been a little late for the Space Age, and late is the one thing you

Read More »

Random

Pumpkin Eater

Alex Rodriguez cheated. Took the easy way. Lied. And if he really does have faith, as he said after the Red Sox game Sunday, he knows he’s right out of Pinocchio. His lawyer, however, appears to have no idea what a gigantic donkey he himself is. To recap — Ryan Dempster missed Rodriguez with his

Read More »

Tubercular Dude

Did not know this until just now but a few weeks ago was World Tuberculosis Day, which honors the date the TB bacterium was discovered in 1882. The CDC says no ‘celebration’ until it is eliminated. The discovery came with its own pandemic, killing 1 in 7. From the safety of 140 years thence, this

Read More »

Semi Stuff

Here’s a way to say it — I pay attention, I notice things, I remember, I make connections; my mind moves fast — and long, on the connections. Draw the well deep, carry far the water. [The semi-colon technically ‘replaces’ the period but artfully between the two a difference wd be how a semi-colon can

Read More »

Related

Out of You and Me

An important decision Zig Ziglar … Wendell Berry … or James Lee Burke? The book one brings to morning coffee out is not unlike the t-shirt options one has later that evening SpongeBob … Arsenal F.C. … or Feel the Bern? Managing our reputations, as the LinkedInFluencers say. Wouldn’t wanna cross those guys. It’s usually

Read More »

In The Heart of the Drunkard

And away he went, to drink the value of his cross … I have been listening to Fyodor Dostoevski’s The Idiot on the iPhone, from Audible.com. It’s incredible. I just know I’ll have to read it as soon as I’m done with the audio. [I do irk myself somewhat on having become such a fan

Read More »

Pumpkin Eater

Alex Rodriguez cheated. Took the easy way. Lied. And if he really does have faith, as he said after the Red Sox game Sunday, he knows he’s right out of Pinocchio. His lawyer, however, appears to have no idea what a gigantic donkey he himself is. To recap — Ryan Dempster missed Rodriguez with his

Read More »

I Wish I Had Written This Post

If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line — starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King’s Highway past the appropriately named dangers, toils,

Read More »