Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt


Caring and not caring about what others think

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIllness can be very ugly. Yes, it can be that horrible blot on our lives, and certainly change our appearance in undesirable ways.  And one of the hardest things to handle it is when we’re out in public – or planning to be out in public – and we know that we look “different” or move differently or require certain accommodations because of our illness or physical constraint.

Elsewhere on Beliefnet soon will be a Gallery about finding and making use of your personal style, no matter what physical challenges you’re living with (I’ll Tweet/FB/Google the link soon as I have it). Here, though, I want to focus in on one aspect of life with illness: Caring and not caring about what others think of us.

Of course, we want to have friends, be liked, move about in social circles and benefit from and be a benefit to the groups we “adopt.” We want to be polite, respectful of others, and even pitch in with helpful efforts of our own. But we’ve also probably experienced stares, rebuffs, that curtain going down over someone’s eyes when we mention even a little of what we’re living with. And, when our condition causes inconvenience to others, well, we’ve probably experienced outward hostility, too.

Think of those moments when fingers are crippled and painful from arthritis and the simple act of counting out change at the cash register suddenly becomes a herculean task – and there’s a long line of shoppers behind us, impatient and, some, perhaps unforgiving. I remember one incident vividly in the parking lot of a store around holiday time. I was waiting for a handicap space and someone was waiting behind me. Apparently, it took too long for the driver of that car, and all of a sudden, I heard a loud “Twack!” on my car’s driver side door. The driver had gotten out of his car and was berating me through the window of my car about “taking too much time,” and how I should “move on.” I pointed to the handicap placard hanging from my rearview mirror, but the driver only got more angry. He hit my car again with his hand and screamed that I “didn’t look handicapped,” and should move on.

I rolled down the window just enough so he heard me say, “Please don’t hit my car again,” and took a deep breath. And waited. Waited for my heart to stop pounding and for the space to come available.  Did I care what he thought about me? Well, I did care that he might become even more violent. But I was in the midst of a terrible, painful flare and knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle parking farther away and take care of my errands as I needed to. As I pulled into the space, he gunned his engine and sped past. In the words of many Californians, “Whatever.”

That we care about others is part of our ministry. But that we also care for ourselves is part of it, too. Worrying too much about what others think of us, so long as we’re doing what we need to, is counterproductive and only heaps stress upon stress.  We cannot control how others react to us, nor can we control their emotions (I’m assuming that the driver of the car in the story above was having a bad day in more ways than one). We can only travel through the world with as much grace, fortitude, and compassion as possible. And hope that kindness is exercised or learned along the way.

Blessings for the day,
Maureen



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!
There are so many things I am thankful for that I cannot list them all here (nor would you probably want to read them)! But, I would like to say that I am thankful for the many blessings that have come from my journey with lupus. People, places, experiences, and more grace than I ever thought possib

posted 10:38:48pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: Stretch Yourself!
Feeling cramped? Confined? Constrained? Feel like you're boxed up in a little corner of an even littler space? Times like this, you might want to think about stretching yourself! Physically, with all the sitting we do at work and home, our muscles can get mighty tight. Neck muscles, shoulde

posted 2:29:28am Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Food for Thought: The Theory of Everything, Part One
Movies can be tremendous entertainment, taking us out of our ordinary lives into an extraordinary world of storytelling. But sometimes, movies strike so close to home that they set off a cascade of thoughts, feelings, and questions. I recently say "The Theory of Everything," the based-on-a-true-s

posted 1:52:18am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Prayer with a Friend
Jesus told us, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) This is particularly powerful when you think

posted 1:44:04am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Pain and Illness: Why the Front Office Matters
They are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office workers at a physician's office matter, really, they do!  And the better we can work with them,

posted 10:49:08pm Nov. 20, 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.