Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 2012 I interviewed Sam Querrey, a professional tennis player from Thousand Oaks, California. Sam had had more than his share of injuries, and was just about to make a comeback at a tournament in Los Angeles. But even with the best of preparation, his career did not quite reach the level that was equal to his earlier promise – until Saturday, July 2, 2016.

At Wimbledon, the sport of tennis’ most storied tournament, Sam endured rain delays and premature dismissal of his game by some commentators, and defeated the number one mens’ player in the world – Novak Djokovic.  Watching the tournament, I could not say that Djokovic played badly (he won the third set 3-6), but I can say that Sam played with stronger determination, well-developed skill, and more follow-through than his opponent.

Many of us, especially those who have endured injuries or illnesses that have set us back miles, can feel frustrated and hopeless about the future. A full comeback might seem far away, and the work it takes to regain even half of who we once were might seem too daunting to accomplish.

But stories like the one of Sam Querrey’s comeback remind us that sometimes, it takes longer than we imagined to regain our form. Sometimes, we have to go a few extra miles to arrive at a goal.

Sometimes, comebacks take time.

But they can and do happen.

Even if you are not a fan of the sport of tennis, I’m sure you can appreciate the feat of defeating a number one player on any stage. And I hope that you’ll take the lesson to heart – the only time a comback is impossible is if we give up before we achieve it.

Congratulations, Sam! And all the best as you move along and ahead at Wimbledon and beyond!

Here’s a link to my original interview:  http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/articles/sam-querry-the-art-of-a-comeback.aspx

Joy and peace,

Maureen

 

 

Image Courtesy of Michael/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Michael/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve always been fascinated with 18th Century American history. The ideas and actions of the men and women who molded the early days of this country were a diverse group, hailing from different backgrounds and social levels, as well as various locations and parts of the American experience. But from north to south, east to west, each carried on a lively discussion of the rights of man and the place of God in their individual lives and in the life of the new nation.

Yes, God had a prime place in the founding of the United States.

This is not to say that each founding father or mother believed the same thing about God. Jefferson’s God was somewhat borne from Scripture, but also from the ideas of the Enlightenment, where God was less of an everyday mover among men and women’s lives. Franklin wrestled with God, and landed somewhere in the “deist” camp, where his God set the world in motion and then sat back to see how things unfolded. John and Abigail Adams and others could be seen as more “religious” as well as spiritual. And throughout the Colonies, others practiced their various faiths or had their own beliefs about the Supreme Being – God.

Yet, as diverse as the beliefs were, one thing stands out in the writings and documents from 18th Century American politics, particularly from those that set the foundation for our system today:  God was present. Yes, from the Declaration of Independence onward, God had a very public place at the table.

Today, there are powerful voices who insist that God has no place in the public square. From legal disputes to personal diatribes against religion, these conversations seem to me woefully one-sided and ill-informed.  Did the Founders believe that the United States needed a “state religion?” No. Did they bring God into the debate and discussion, relying on the “Creator” as a source from which the rights they fought for flowed? Yes!

The struggle against British sovereignty sprung from a complex  weaving of economic, political, social and spiritual elements. The Colonies were being bled economically, and this created extreme tension. That they were increasingly denied political presence in the decision-making process in London augmented that tension. Distance and years of fiercely determined activity to settle the rugged American landscape resulted in social and personal individualists who developed into a people far removed from their British, Dutch, and other forebears. This people who had experienced all that the New World offered chafed against the notion that the King was directly divine, the spiritual and political force that should mold their destiny.

If we ignore the place that God had in early American life and how belief has since inspirred generations of Americans since to be courageous, generous, and strong for their families, communities and country in a very public way, we are not rewriting history – we are falsifying it.  Religious liberty is a crucial component to the American experience. Always has been, and always will. The spiritual underpinnings, as individual as they might be, connect us all as “one nation, under God.”

 

A blessed Fourth of July to you!

Maureen

Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ArvindBalaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It was almost a cliche in theater classes, the line uttered by Blanche du Bois in Tennessee Williams’ epic play Streetcar Named Desire: “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”  But it really isn’t a cliche – it’s something each of us has experienced, felt, enjoyed.

The kindness of strangers.

We see a lot of kindness in the aftermath of the horrific attack in Orlando. Sorrow, yes, and anger, frustration, fear, disbelief, shock – lots of other emotions, too. But, there is kindness abundant in the care of medical professionals treating people they do not know. Kindness in the strangers lined up to donate blood or a shoulder to rest on. Kindness in the prayers lifted up – rising like incense to our Heavenly Father.

If we took a moment to realize and appreciate all of the kindness that we experience from strangers, just that simple act of gratitude would make the world a calmer place. And if we became the stranger more often, upon whom others could depend, think what peace could prevail!  That dependence wouldn’t necessarily be forged from a terrible tragedy or monumental undertaking. It could be as “minute” as saying something more humane than, “How are you, fine, thanks” as we pick up our grocery bag and exit the store. Or, “Please, go ahead of me in the line. I can wait.”

Dependence implies trust, and in our world today, we are encouraged not to trust strangers (and sometimes not to even trust our family or friends). But we all depend on the kindness of strangers. We are all strangers, too. No cliche – just us.

Peace,

Maureen

Image courtesy of healing dream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of healing dream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This time of year, many families are gathering in large or smaller groups to celebrate their relationships and relations. I really enjoy family reunions, and I always learn something new about my heritage, where I come from and who I am.

There’s another benefit to attending reunions for people with chronic illness: We can learn about any health conditions that “run in the family,” and so be better informed about what might be pertinent to us. Also, if we have particular health issues, our experiences can better inform our own family members. Not necessarily as amusing as old, funny family stories, but helpful nonetheless.

As more research digs into the genetic components of developing diseases, our knowledge about family health issues can enable us and our doctors to monitor anything that might affect us. Through our experiences “in the trenches,” we can then help encourage and educate others in our family, especially the next generations, to be aware and care about preventative measures related to diet, exercise, and other healthful things.

Families are wonderful – and the more we do to keep them healthy, the better we will all be!

Happy Summer!

Maureen

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