Sometimes, faith and our spirituality can seem separated from the stark reality in our lives. We know we should (and do) pray, read Scripture, worship and seek fellowship, but then we go out into the “big, bad world,” and meet all manner of challenges (well, most of the challenges have no manners…but you understand what I mean!).
I think it’s helpful if we try to look at our faith from a different perspective every so often – a perspective of “applied faith.” This concept is one I focus on in almost all of my writing – it’s how we bring Jesus into our work, play, relationships, and even our long, boring commute. It’s how we look at our world through the eyes of a Child of God (the Creator) and how we look inwardly and listen for the call of the Holy Spirit. If we do this consistently throughout the day, we start to develop a kind of beneficial detachment. Like a moat that can protect us from temptations and other vices in the world, and make us steelier to withstand the prejudices and persecutions that people of faith may overtly or subtly endure, applied faith is a tool we have at our disposal anytime, anywhere. It is with us if we suffer from illness or are at the peak of health. It is with us whenever we encounter a challenge – and it gets us through that challenge with grace.
Think of applying your faith, like a bandage and a balm, the next time you encounter overt problems in your day.
So, Memorial Day, I turned on my television intending to watch a bit of the Indianapolis 500 auto race. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to revisit something I remember our family having to avoid when I was young; if we visited relatives in Illinois over the weekend of Memorial Day, we had to leave at odd hours to “get past” Indianapolis in order to avoid the traffic caused by race day.
Today, well, was unexpected. When I turned on the television station that was supposed to air the race, I saw, instead, a “live” high-speed chase down one of the freeways very familiar to me in the Southern California are! The car was certainly not going as fast as one of the race cars on the Indy Speedway, but the action was compelling. And my mind turned to one of the parts of my new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough, which deals with deep breathing. When the unexpected happens, immediately take a deep breath. Or two or three, if you have the time. It helps stave off some of the nerves that occur at such times, and with calmer nerves, we can make better decisions.
I suspect several of the drivers on the freeway during the chase did not know about deep breathing. Or, if they did, they didn’t think to use it. Because as police with weapons drawn at the vehicle (which had run out of gas) waited for whatever was to come (the driver wasn’t budging from the driver’s seat), motorists on the other side of the freeway slowed down (to look?) and moved over to the lanes closest to the “action,” as if to be part of the scene!
A deep breath would have helped better thinking prevail…wish I could have distributed copies of my book!
Anyway, the departure from what I intended to see was an interesting lesson in humanity. When the unexpected happens, well, you just never know. But it helps to take a deep breath!
Chronic illness and pain are serious business, and they take up a good deal of our time. Often, when someone asks what I do I say, “Well, managing my health is much like a full-time job.” It might not be what they want to hear, but it’s true (as you well know, too!).
But we also need to understand that it’s not all we are, nor is the care we give our illnesses all we need. And right after the first long weekend of the summer season is a perfect time to visit “the rest of you” and me – in other words:
What are you going to do for fun this summer?
Fun?! Enjoyment?! What?
Yup. Fun! Enjoyment!
Humor is helpful for us to cope. Laughter is lovely – and also gives us a better outlook on the world and our illnesses. And rest, oh, my, yes, rest is absolutely important for us. A good book (maybe my new one, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough? http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Panic-Keep-Going-Tough/dp/1616369493/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464636617&sr=1-1&keywords=Maureen+Pratt ), a soft chair, a glass of something cool (lemonade is my favorite) – it doesn’t have to be elaborate to be restful!
We plan our doctors’ visits, the times we take our meds, and all other aspects of our lives with illness. Try planning some fun this summer, too. Dedicate a few hours to idling. Kick up some sand, if you can. Or just listen to birds chirp, trees rustle in the breeze.
Make time for the rest of you this summer. You’ll be glad you did!
A woman asked if she could talk to me. I said, “Sure.”
The conversation that transpired went something like this:
“For $500 and 4 weekends, you could cure your lupus yourself.”
She was persistent, but I’d heard all of the arguments before. “Your doctor doesn’t know this…” “You’re doing the wrong things…” etc. Finally, I just said, “Thank you. No.” and walked away.
I was very tired at the start of the conversation, and even more exhausted as it continued. But, I stood firm because I really look upon this sort of thing as a kind of preying on the vulnerable, not a helpful way to give compassion or care. Besides, as I asked questions of her, it became clear that all she had was a spiel. No solid science, but a mighty hefty price tag!
I’ve gone to my doctor before with one or the other “miracle” cure, just to get his take. My doc is very knowlegable and would like nothing more than for there to be a cure for lupus and arthritis that he could give to all his patients. But none exists. It’s hard for the “miracle cure” crowd to believe this, I know. But I’m not being delusional. I’m being realistic – a sure sign that, although I am severely limited due to illness, in this instance, I’m still thinking correctly!
$500 is a lot of copays, wigs, and other necessities.
I think I’ll try being a brunette!