Here is an article from CNN that I read a little more than a month ago.
It’s about about a man who in 1993 was wrongly placed in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was 31 years old. Now, 16 years later, he is 47 years old and free.
The article focuses on how much society has changed in those 16 years, especially in terms of technology. I was a college sophomore in 1993 and I was technologically challenged. I didn’t have an email address and I didn’t know how to Cut and Paste text. But I was in college and about to enter the work force so I had my chance to pick up technology. I imagine how much slower the adoption of technology would have been had I already been out of school for a while.
But that’s not why this article caught my attention. It’s this quote which was recorded shortly after his release —
“I can’t live in my grandson’s room forever,” he said. “When I have a routine, that’s where the happiness is going to be.”
I find this comment really strange. This man is breathing in the fresh air of freedom for the first time in 16 years and the only thing on his mind is how he needs to get a job and his own home and get into his new “routine.” And once that routine is established, he’ll be happy.
Why can’t he just be gushing with a sense of joy that he is free? Why can’t he enjoy getting to know his daughter and his grandchildren? Why can’t he enjoy talking strolls around the block and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors?
If he would be happy as long as he had a routine, then he should have been perfectly happy in prison. Isn’t prison one long routine in a continuous repeat loop? Today is just like yesterday and I bet tomorrow is going to be no different. I’ve never been to prison, but I imagine that’s how it must be. Prisoners who have to endure this kind of endless routine must keep from losing their sanity by holding onto the faint hope that this cycle may one day be broken and they will be able to go free.
That’s why I find it odd that this man finally has this routine broken and the only thing on his mind is how he needs to establish a new routine.
What does this routine look like? To get a job so that we can buy a home so that we can start a family and so that we can live the American dream and eventually to die. Isn’t there more to life than plugging ourselves into this kind of routine? It’s the same old record playing over and over again in the lives of virtually everyone I know.
It’s almost like this man is leaving one prison only to be bound up and enter a new kind of prison.
Luckily, God presses the Pause button and for those with ears to hear, we hear a new melody. The chains are broken and the routine is broken and when we say yes to the Lord, a brand new journey begins… No two journeys are alike.
“For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor 7:31)
Life is short. Even the world in its present form has a finite existence and it is passing away. Only in God is a whole new world available. For the rest, it’s the same old world with some slight changes in interior design.