Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Second close-up of pictureNow that the weather is more moderate, many of us with chronic illness are going outside, to stores, parks and other public venues. Of course, we take with us our “stuff,” whether mobility assistance devices, oxygen, or, in my case, sun protective clothing, head to toe.

After a cooped-up winter, it might feel a little unnerving to be more exposed, in public where “healthy people” abound. So, I think, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for one another and share “the look.”

I became aware of “the look” a few years ago when, in a store, I with my shopping cart encountered someone in a motorized scooter. We had both turned down the same aisle, but therewasn’t much room to maneuver. After both of us going this way and that, we just looked at each other and smiled, knowingly and appreciatively. He knew it was a challenge for me, I knew it was a challenge for him, and so we shared a moment of acknowledgment and humor. “The look.” It helped unite us in compassion for one another, and it helped make the rest of the trudge through the store, when “able-bodied” people were not so kind, easier.

Most recently, I shared “the look” with a woman who got into the same elevator I did, at another store. I had my hat, dark glasses, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sun-protective gloves on. She had a wheeled walker and oxygen. Both of us gave a little sigh of fatigue as the elevator doors began to close. Then, we exchanged a smile of understanding.

I said, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

She replied, “Oh, yes, it is.”

I said, “I couldn’t wait to get out.”

She paused and smiled more broadly. “Neither could I.”

The elevator doors opened. We went our separate ways, lighter in heart.

Once again, “the look” had woven its effect of encouragement!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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