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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

A Praying Spirit: We Are (Aware of) the World

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many chronic illnesses impose restrictions on our ability to move about freely in the world “at large.” Whether because of mobility issues, sight or hearing problems, or, as in my case, immunosuppressive drugs and their effect on the propensity to get sick, sometimes we just have to “stay put.”

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But, that doesn’t mean we’re not aware, nor does it mean that we should crawl into our proverbial hole and not care about the world outside.

I like to use my “inside” time to learn, reflect, and pray about things happening in distant places – even as distant as across the globe. I like to pray for people I don’t know, remembering them as “those who are suffering” or “those who are oppressed.” It doesn’t matter if I’ve never met them. I pray for them anyway. I also pray especially for others like myself who cannot venture out and who instead are hampered by physical or emotional constraints. How I understand! How I pray!

Praying for others, especially if I’m feeling left out of the enjoyable things outside my door, helps me shift the focus off of myself and what I cannot do to others who need more attention and intercession.

In prayer, we talk with God. In praying for others, we are carrying out an active, vibrant ministry, a calling, that transcends any health challenges that keep us from leaving our home base.

How amazing is that!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

 

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Chronic Pain: The Void in Your Life

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicSometimes, pain becomes so overwhelming that it closes out every ounce of strength and light that we might once have felt. And, into their place, there is a void. A void of light. A void of will. A void of hope. The pain can suffocate and keep us down. Yes, it can prevent us from physically moving freely. But more importantly, it can keep our minds and spirits from moving ahead and away. It can keep us from keeping our void stocked with things to help us cling to the very hope and will and light that the pain is driving away.

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I’ve known this kind of pain more than once, and understand how devastating it can be. I’ve even felt it try to tug me deeper, but, praise God, I was able to resist enough to refuse its encroachment further. It was a hard-fought battle, but in the little victory when “I resist” became true steadfastness, little by little, the power of the pain receded, and the voids it created could once again be freshly filled.

My resistance took several forms. First, heartfelt declaration, a loud, “No! I will not give in another inch.” Then, a conscious turning from anger at the pain to solace for my body and spirit, understanding the suffering and inviting God’s comfort. Of course, I worked with my doctors during this time, something that is vital where a medical condition is concerned. But I also turned to friends, loved ones, and accepted their encouragement and help. Sometimes, we think we’re absolutely alone. But we never really are.

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Turning to a beloved activity, even for a brief moment, can bring some hope. Reflecting on a favorite piece of music or book, Scripture passage or comic, can also help turn focus from what hurts to what helps.

We can allow the voids in our lives to be filled with darkness or light, frustration or fight. It is a beautiful thing, this choice we have! And I try to make positive use out of it each day,

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: A Disability Doesn’t Equal Immaturity

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI was on a call the other day, trying to make sense of error messages spewed forth by my computer (I eventually learned that the hard drive had died…another story entirely!). The connection was really, really bad and the person in customer service was speaking very quickly and slurring words on top of it. So, I asked her to please slow down and indicated it was hard to hear what she was saying because of the bad connection.

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I’d already told her that I had a disability that made it difficult for me to lug my computer down to the “nearest” authorized dealer…

So, in response to my plea for slower and clearer speech, she began to “sing-song” her words and dumb down her language. As if I was hard of brain, as well as hard of hearing!

I immediately clarified.

“I might have a disability, but it doesn’t mean I’m feeble-minded. The problem is that the connection is bad and you’re speaking too quickly. Why don’t we hang up and start all over?”

She agreed to call  me back, did so, and we had a much clearer and more appropriate conversation.

You might have experienced this phenomenon, too. Whether your disability is visible or not, once you put it out there, some people might think it’s affecting your brain as well as your body. Which, well, there is lupus brain fog, and there are moments of exasperation…but…these are not permanent conditions and no reason to treat someone as if they were a child in an adult’s body.

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Always leaping forward into that “teachable moment,” I usually try to point these kinds of things out, as I did on this particular service call. Nicely, as much as possible, but clearly. It can be frustrating and energy-sapping to do so, but we’re all better off in the long run.

If you are not disabled, but come across someone who is, please check yourself if you find yourself speaking as to a child or a pet. And if you are disabled and are on the receiving end of said, well-meaning person’s speech, take a deep breath and then let the person know you’re perfectly able to handle whatever situation as an adult. I’m right there with you!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: Never Too Old

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the Christmas holidays, I was blessed to see Angela Lansbury in the play, “Blythe Spirit.” It was amazing – Dame Lansbury, a celebrated British-American actress whose career spans decades and includes television, film, and the stage, is 89 years old…or, I will say…young!

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The part Dame Lansbury plays, the colorful and eccentric Madame Arcati, is physically and mentally demanding, requiring agility, tough dialogue transitions (Madame Arcati digresses quite a bit!), and the whole performance was terrific. And utterly inspiring.

True, Dame Lansbury has been performing for most of her life, and she’s no stranger to the stage and its demands. But beyond the obvious and impressive fact that she performs the show 8 times a week, and splendidly, there is the  other fact that is really encouraging and uplifting – it was clear that Dame Lansbury thoroughly enjoys what she does!

It has to be hard to do what she does and to do it so well. I cannot imagine she gets through without some aches and pains. But when you love to do something, I imagine that those troubles don’t seem so grand and gratitude must wash away any discomfort.

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I came away from the play so very inspired that, when God gives gifts, He means for us to use them throughout our lives. Put another way, I can’t imagine telling God, “Okay. Enough. I’m retiring from serving you!”

Truly, when we do say “yes” to serving with our gifts, God will give us opportunities – no matter how old (or young) we are!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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