Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt


Chronic Illness: Wearing Our Pain

posted by mpratt

Ash Wednesday always seems like a contradiction to me. On the one hand, as a Christian, joyful in the spirit, I appreciate and honor Our Lord’s words of wisdom: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance so they may appear to others to be fasting…But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden…” (Matthew 6:16-18)

On the other hand, on Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence, I get a big schmudge of ashes on my forehead that scream, “It’s Ash Wednesday, and I’m fasting!!!”

I think about this contradiction, too, throughout life with chronic illness, especially one that is invisible.  That quick “Oh, I’m fine, thanks, how are you?” when, in reality, health is not fine.  Or the heavy make-up or clothing that can cover up the evidence of an illness’ signs and symptoms. The outward appearance and the inward truth can sometimes seem in such contrast. Sometimes, when someone says, “Oh, but you look fine! You can’t be sick,” it’s tempting to say, “You don’t want to know what it looks like inside.” But I, personally, don’t like to wear my pain.

In much the same way that some people prefer to give donations to charities anonymously, following Jesus’ guideline for appearance while fasting creates a powerful relationship between the person fasting or giving and God, who knows all, seen and unseen. It’s another way to be in the world, but not of it, to receive grace from God instead of kudos from humans.

Yes, I still get schmudged on Ash Wednesday. But fairly soon afterward, I wash off the external sign of a Lenten beginning and start the good, deep work developing faith within.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Chronic Pain: Help for the Directionally Challenged
It's better. It's worse. It moved. It's stable. It's sharp. It's dull. It's pain. And it is a pain, your pain. Well, it's affecting you, but you can't say you actually possess it, because it seems to have a mind - and a direction - of it's own. You're working with your doctors on it, but you f

posted 6:17:20pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Giving when you think you don't have anything to give
I understand the Scriptural basis for tithing and giving monetarily to church and charitable causes. I know, clearly, the story of the widow who gave her precious coin to the T

posted 6:00:21pm Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

This is the day
Imagine if you gave a good friend a present, all wrapped up and shining in the light. What if that friend, instead of opening the package, set it aside. He or she tells you,

posted 5:37:36pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Vietnam War: A Memory for Today
Tucked in a box amid other QSL cards that I found after my father's death last year is a single, fading reminder of a powerful way to pray today. If you're not familiar with what they are, a QSL card is a record sent from one radio ham operator to another that confirms the contact that the two ma

posted 2:11:02am Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: How do you describe it, exactly?
Time often flies by when you're living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower time seems to move (just think of waiting for a med to kick in, for e

posted 8:25:10pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.