My Favorite Film Is Right: Hope Is ‘the Best of Things’

Columnist Calvin Harris explains how hope is a powerful motivator in life with chronic illness

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by Calvin Harris |

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Hope.

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. You get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Recently, I’ve found myself watching and rewatching one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption,” starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. The movie chronicles their friendship at a fictional prison in Maine. Anyone who has seen the movie, and enjoys it as much as I do, will probably cringe at the simplistic synopsis I just gave. To me, it is far more than a prison movie, though the film would not be as powerful without that setting.

Given my deep love of the movie, last week I finally read, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” a short story by Stephen King that the movie is based upon. Heck, I even started reading a nonfiction book about the process that transpired to transform a great King novella into what many recognize as one of the all-time great films.

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For me, part of the reason the movie is so phenomenal is because it focuses so much on hope. In fact, “hope” is the very last word spoken in the film.

A letter Robbins’ character, Andy, writes to Freeman’s character, Red, states: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”

As corny as it might sound, hope is a critical thing when you live with a chronic disease — at least it is for me, in my life with pulmonary sarcoidosis.

There are always some days that are worse than others: the days when you’re tired, even when you got enough sleep, or when the insurance company rejects a treatment your doctor says you need, or when you feel so good that you almost worry about how long the feeling will last. With the ups and downs of rare disease, hope can find a way to convince you of a better outcome.

Hope makes you aware that as hard as things might be, there’s a chance that someone else has it worse. So I try to be thankful, even though it’s often really hard to do.

Hope will tell you that remission is possible, even if the odds say it is unlikely. I file that under the phrase “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

Hope allows me to run a marathon (with my doctor’s approval), despite pulmonary function tests indicating that running like that should not be an option.

And hope will convince you that sometimes all you can do is step forward, one step at a time, one day at a time.

That’s what hope can do. So maybe hope really is the best of things.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

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