We are painted a gloomy picture.
You’re born, and ever since you can remember you’ve been raised within this prison cell. Same concrete floors, same walls, same cold bars. They trap you. They contain you. They imprison you.
You grow up with your mother who birthed you, and you learn how to speak. And everyday as long as you can remember, this man, the jailer, has walked by your prison cell. He’s always looked in to check on you, but he’s never said a word.
You become curious about this man. You become curious as to why you were born into such an awful environment. You think why? Why me?
Several years go by, and you become “ok” with being in the cell. You don’t understand it, but you’ve began to enjoy it for what it’s worth. I mean, come on, they bring you food everyday, you get to write, watch TV, you even get to talk to other inmates. You begin to have relationships with some of the people living in the cells next to you, and life actually seems to get pretty good. You can’t complain. But the small glassless window lets you see what’s outside, and you can’t lie, it does look pretty cool.
One day you ask your mother “Why are we here in this room?” “Did we do something wrong?”
You’re mom nonchalantly replies “You know… I’ve never really thought about it, I just accepted it.”
So how do you respond? Of course angrily!
How could someone live in a place of entrapment for their entire life and never question it? How could someone let their child do the same?
You become furious about the same time the jailer is making his daily round by your cell. You immediately think to ask him about it all, but you don’t know how to approach the man. He’s a big powerful looking man, and he hasn’t ever talked to you… but then again, you’ve never tried to talk to him either.
So you do it.
“HEY! I need your help!”
The jailer stops and looks at you sternly for a second. Then a smile comes upon his face and he asks “why yes, what can i help you with?”
“Why is my mother in here? Why am I here? Why was I born here? I’m so confused! I don’t know what to do!”
The man pauses momentarily… Then he pulls out his keys and looks at them for a second.
“Well son, if i remember correctly, your mom has never asked me to let her out.”
You pause. What does that even mean? “So what you’re saying is all my mother had to do was ask you to let her out?”
“Yes, oddly enough. I have the key to every one of these cells. I have the power to let everyone out if they so choose. Most people just think it’s better to stay here than to venture into something unfamiliar.”
Stunned, you reply. “Well, sir. Can you let me out?”
“ABSOLUTELY! It’s my favorite part of the job!”, he replies. “I just have one request before i let you out.”
“Yes?” you ask.
“I just want you to thank me for doing it for you. And when you get out, just let people know that all they have to do is ask me. That’s all.”
“I think I can do that.”
The Jailer goes through his keys, finds the one to your cell, opens the door then steps aside for your exit. He then accompanies you to the outside of the prison and gives you a giant hug, some money, some clothes, and says “I want you to stay in touch with me. I love you more than you could ever understand now. But when you experience the freedom I have given you, you’ll wanna talk to me. Don’t worry.”
So down the road you go into territory you’ve never seen since the day you were born. You’re amazed, confused, but excited all at the same time. “How could it really be that simple? I just had to ask the guy! What in the world have all those other people, including mom, been thinking?!? Maybe they are just confused, or content, or maybe it’s just out of fear of talking to the man? Maybe they just don’t know how to approach him?”
You’re unsure about many of the questions you have, but one thing you know for sure.
You don’t ever have to go back to that prison.
And it’s just because you asked the jailer to let you out.
You just had to ask.