Friday, November 19 – Hope is a dangerous thing

Do you remember the 1994 movie, “The Shawshank Redemption”?  Tim Robbin’s character is a banker convicted of murder, sentenced to life in prison in Shawshank State Penitentiary.  It is a story of justice and friendship and struggle in brutal and dehumanizing conditions.

In the scene below Andy Dufresne (Robbins) comes back to lunch with his friends after a stunt he pulled that involved playing music for the whole prison that got him two weeks in solitary confinement, in ‘the hole.”  He reflects on the power of music to get at matters of the heart, things the stone walls and prison guards can’t touch – something resembling hope.  Then Morgan Freeman’s character looks Andy in the eye and says, “Hope is a dangerous thing.”

Here’s the link to that great scene:

It has been a really good week.  We came home from the hospital on Monday and instead of going up for a nap, Heath ate lunch and hung out with us downstairs.  Playing with the dog, walking around and checking on things.  We had the privilege of a few nights in a row where no one had a meeting, so we really could take our time, eat dinner, walk the dog.  The dining room table had become a pile of mail and boxes and medical supplies, the detritus of life in the hospital, so she took some time to reclaim the space.  We got a little sleep, and had the chance to take a breath.

Tuesday I had a handful of work meetings, which felt nice, normal, even.  Advent approaches, after all.  Wednesday I took him to the clinic for labs and a magnesium infusion.  It seems like we’re going to need to be doing that every other day or so for the duration.  We got home by 1 and could eat lunch on the porch. Wednesday and Thursday were stunningly beautiful days, and we could open the windows and sit on the porch and really feel like we had our feet underneath ourselves.  Thursday Heath requested an outing (the first real non-hospital outing in some months), to the farm of our friends Donnie and Ashley and Shelley.  He wanted to go see the barn kitties he and Wilson have made friends with over the years, but he really wanted to check out the farm equipment.  Carrie took the boys and said he had wonderful energy – they hung out for a few hours, WAY longer than we expected.  He drove a golf cart around for a bit and said the picture below is from far enough away he’d allow us to post it. 😊 It was so exciting to see how well he felt.  Sure, he’s still pretty weak, and we have a ways to go, but it was a glimpse of something special.

But, as Morgan Freeman says, hope is a dangerous thing.

We are starting to feel like we can see something resembling the finish line of this particular season.  Yes, once you have had the ‘cancer’ word said in your presence, I don’t think you ever fully stop thinking about it.  We still have a pretty significant abdominal surgery ahead of us that we are soon to schedule.  Then we’ll have a long runway of building strength, trying to get him back to school, while still managing his ongoing concerns that won’t go away.  This isn’t something that will be “over.”  But, on Monday we’ll be admitted to 5200 and begin what we pray is round 6 of 6 of this chemotherapy regimen.  Then we’ll schedule scans to see where we are.  Heath is steady and strong, and his spirits truly have been remarkable.  We are starting to hope.

But immediately after the hope enters one’s mind also comes the questions.  The doubts.  What if the doctors are wrong?  What if it’s not all gone?  What if we have to start this all over again?  Getting the wrong answers to those questions becomes really difficult to think about.  So we’re wrestling with this conundrum right now, as we walk the dog and rake the leaves that KEEP falling.  We’re sitting here at the clinic right now with another magnesium infusion happening.  He did some school work with his extraordinary teacher and friend Rachel, and now we’re finalizing fantasy football decisions, and thinking about where we’ll grab lunch on the way home.  What does it mean to try and hope when you’re beginning to think you *might* make it through this part?  Or what does it mean when you’re afraid to hope because the alternative is crushing?  I suspect all of you reading this have had some experience like that in your life.  It’s tricky.

As Thanksgiving week approaches we’ll do our best to be grateful for the privilege of hoping for what might be on the other side of this.  Wherever you are, and whatever celebrating looks like for you, I pray you’ll have just a moment to smile and give thanks for the people that surround you – on the good days and on the days when it feels like it is all falling apart.  I can promise you that we’ll be giving thanks for you.

29 replies
  1. Terry Hammersley says:

    You are riding these waves so beautifully — all of you! Nice to have some calm seas for most of last week and hope you got some rest. It’s hard not to fall into the “what if’s” when you’ve been through so much already. It’s just that they send you into a circular pattern that’s hard to get out of, a lot like guilt, stuck on the merry go round! Gently step off and tell yourself you’re doing the very best you can and you always will not matter what happens and that’s that matters. Love is hope and your family is overflowing with it!

  2. Ann Flagg says:

    Continued prayers for more happy days for Heath to be home and feeling strong. So grateful for his wandering around to look at things! Blessed family time altogether!
    Love to all.

  3. Greg and Wendy Lunsford says:

    Sharing in your hope for Heath’s healing and in your gratitude for good days. We pray you’ll all have a peaceful Thanksgiving 🙏🏻❤️

  4. Debby says:

    I always eagerly await your posts and updates. I rejoice with, cry with you, and hope with you. Every time your words touch me in profound ways. I am grateful for family. . . those actually related to me and those God has put in my path.

  5. Gran Sarah says:

    We are so grateful for a much needed good week for the Durham Tuttles. Thanks be to God! I am thankful and love each one of you dearly.

  6. Carlton McKee says:

    Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

  7. Sarah Erickson says:

    Prayers for Heath, yes, and for his medical team and each and every one of you. Yes, it’s tricky. Hang in there. One day at a time. Giving thanks for your witness and faith.

  8. Patricia Hill says:

    Glad to hear Heath was home for what ever time he gets …When u talk of Hope I always think without it we have nothing so no matter what never give up hope it can see us through many a dark time and bring us to the light
    God Bless all and Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

  9. Faye says:

    Once again you amaze me with your narrative. Such detail to all the emotions and hopes.
    Hanging with you now and for what is to come.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. Kitty Kelly says:

    Oh this makes me want to sing out loud – where no one can hear me because I am tone deaf – but sing nonetheless. So much gratitude. Love to all.

  11. Deanna says:

    So very happy to hear you guys had some days with rest and play and something close to normalcy on this crazy ride. Praying and loving you guys always.

  12. Betsy Rule says:

    Sending love and prayers to you all from Greensboro! Thank you for sharing the journey with us! Heath looks good in that golf cart!! ♥️

  13. Bonnie Maready says:

    Yes, I suppose Hope can be a dangerous thing, but sometimes it’s ALL we have.
    Also, My Presbyterian self is reminding me HOPE is one of the words we use at Advent.
    Let’s Hope together and be Grateful and Love….
    Hugs to each and every one of you…

  14. Heather Helen Hale says:

    Thinking of you all and your journey often! Sending energy and whatever type of hope nourishes and supports you… <3 H3 Heather


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

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