Pain and illness can wear us down, and it’s not unusual for the fatigue to cause other, less physical feelings in us. One of these might be doubt:
We can doubt our ability to get through the latest flare
We can doubt the steadfastness of friends and family
We can doubt the world’s ability to “understand” and not make our situation worse
We can doubt our doctors, especially if there’s no cure in sight for what ails us
We can even, sometimes, in our darkest times, doubt God’s presence and love
When we doubt, or if we feel that inkling of doubt rising up, before we give in completely, it’s helpful to take honest stock of the blessings we’ve already been given, even in our suffering, and the graces we’ve experienced, even without looking for them. Small things, such as the softness of a morning’s quiet. And bigger things, such as a breakthrough in physical therapy. These blessings might not have happened today, or even yesterday. But if we look back honestly at our lives, we know they are there. And with that knowledge, we can then begin to steel ourselves against doubt.
Doubt can cause us to stumble or even begin down a course that is not ultimately healthful or healthy. But if we understand that sometimes we might feel doubt, we can take out our arsenal of memories, times when things have been bad, but something happened to make them better. Times when we felt abandoned, but then someone stepped in to help. Times when we felt far from God, but then experienced a surge of grace, a moment of calm – and we knew He was with us all along.
When in doubt – use your experience to find a way out!
I’m very happy to say that I’ll be a guest on Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air” radio program on Wednesday, April 13, at 8:30 AM Central. Relevant Radio is a Catholic radio network available in a number of markets, mostly in the central part of the United States. You can listen in on their website if you don’t have access to the station itself: Relevant Radio Website Link .
On Wednesday, I’m going to talk about “Hand-Me-Down Prayer,” an article that is in the April 2016 issue of Saint Anthony Messenger Magazine. The article talks about the tangible legacy of faith and prayer that often gets overlooked, but that can provide a wonderful sense of continuity from one generation to another. I have such a legacy, and in the article, I talk about others who have inherited or found an important link to prayer and faith that can be a true, spiritual family heirloom. The program’s producer has told me he hopes they’ll be able to take calls during the program, so please call in and share your story of hand-me-down prayer!
Of course, I’ll also talk about my new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough, a little, too. But there’ll be more to be said about it very soon, as the publisher ramps up their promotion!
Joy and peace,
As the season changes from winter to spring (yes, I know it’s hard to believe when it’s still snowing some places and even here in SoCal, it’s chilly), we inevitably rotate our wardrobe from heavy clothing to lighter wear. And, of course, as we do this, we discover, er, alterations (to put it nicely) in our physical shape or size. Up or down, sometimes chronic illness and pain result in looking very different from how we once did. Some medications invite weight gain or loss, pain can drastically change our exercise routines so that weight is redistributed. Yes, we might find ourselves staring at a pile of clothing that once fit, but now doesn’t. But, still, we might be loathe to get rid of what we see.
As we contemplate keeping the stack of unwearable clothes, we often think back to when we could wear them. Perhaps that time was happier, painfree or illness free. Perhaps among the garments are clothes we wore when we could work or play a particular sport. Maybe they are special pieces that we wore when we could socialize more, when the thought of wearing bling had nothing to do with using a walker or bracing our knees.
We might be holding on to memories, not necessarily clothing that we know we’ll be able to wear again.
As hard as it is to get past the associations we have with particular pieces of clothing, it’s important to try. There are plenty of people who are less fortunate who could use the garments we hold onto, and there are plenty of options available to us to liven up our wardrobe, even if it is vastly different in size and use than that which we had before.
Think about this, pray about this as you rotate from cold to warmth, winter to spring. Someone beyond the walls of your closet is in need, and you just might be able to help.
Talk about a good fit!
Often, a sense of panic might rise up in us because we feel we cannot control the crisis or problem that’s plaguing us. Sometimes, this is an illness that’s raging despite everything our doctors are using in their arsenal of meds and treatments. Sometimes, it’s a sudden jolt, like the loss of a job or natural disaster that strikes suddenly and leaves a horrible aftermath.
However a crisis occurs, it helps get back a sense of even quasi-balance if we try to find one thing that we can take charge of, one thing that we can do.
As unpredictable as lupus is, I try each day to do at least one thing to enhance my feeling of calm. This might be as simple as taking a few moments, even in the doctor’s examination room (while waiting to see the doc) to breathe and pray. In other crises that I’ve faced, I’ve tried to do similar things to give myself even a smidgeon of a piece of control. And I truly have felt the benefits of doing this, time and again.
My new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough, contains lots of tips on ways we can take some control from the uncontrollable. I hope it helps – and I look forward to your thoughts, too!
Joy and peace,