Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Prayer for When You See the Storm Coming

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some storms hit us without warning, and they can be devastating, to be sure. But when we see the storms looming, coming at us, even before we feel their physical effects, we can sense our stress mounting. Here is a prayer for when you know you are facing a health “storm,” when you see it coming, and before it actually hits:

Oh, Lord, most loving and gracious Father,

the storm has not hit me, yet,

but I already feel my body tensing,

my heart aching,

my soul fearful.

Please, Father, wrap your love and comfort around me.

Cover my worry with your peace.

Help me to focus on the strength I will need,

the resolve and the wisdom,

to weather this storm.

For I know that you will bring me through,

Lord.

And you will be with me all the way.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen.

To Be Encouraged, Encourage Someone Else

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicTime and again, I’ve seen the amazing transformation in someone who is deeply suffering (whether with pain, illness, or other pressures), when they receive a kind, uplifting, or unexpectedly positive remark from someone else. Part of this is, I think, because kindness is fundamentally, well, kind, and the response to it is of like tenor.

But another reason is, I think, a bit more complicated. If you live with chronic illness or pain, you take that with you everywhere, and it has a habit of reflecting in gestures, words, or expressions. So, when you met someone who is similarly suffering, your pain joins with theirs, in a sense, and soon your interaction can become just one, big, glopping swirl of pain. But it need not be; just as pain ampilfies pain, so too can kindness or an extension of encouragement defuse it.

A simple way to test this is in conversation with a friend. Here’s the first version:

“How are you?”

“Horrible. And life is just getting harder.”

“Oh, I know what you mean. I can’t believe the way my stress is just getting worse.”

“Yeah, and there’s no end in sight.”

“No. None.”

Heavens, it makes me feel weighed down just be typing it! Now, here’s the second version:

“How are you?”

“Oh, the pain is terrible. But I’m glad you called.”

“I’m happy to hear that. I didn’t know if I’d be disturbing you, or if you were resting.”

“I was, but that’s okay. It’s always nice to hear from you.”

“Well, I was thinking of you. I really respect how you cope.”

“Thanks! It isn’t easy, but friends make it easier. ”

See how, right away, the caller and the called are acknowledging pain, but they also find a ray of encouragement for each other.  A caring friend. An appreciative patient.

Yes, it can be as simple as that, and it can work with strangers, too. Smiling, holding the elevator,  slowing down for someone who is moving more slowly than you are – these and other things are subtle but powerful ways of encouraging someone else. And in so doing, you can be encouraged that you’re living out your Christian walk and, perhaps, giving someone else the spark they need to ignite within them renewed hope.

Despite our pain and other health challenges, the more we seek to encourage others, the more we ourselves will be encouraged. We might not be able to banish our physical problems, but we can certainly lighten the load on our [emotional] hearts!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

 

Happy Independence Day!

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Aduldej/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Independence Day – and Independence Day Weekend! I hope you enjoy your celebration, however you manage to commemorate the day.

This year, I have been reflecting on the concept of “independence” day, both for this country and for life with chronic illness.  I put the word in quotes because, actually, the history of the country, and life with chronic illness, are both build more on inter-dependence than independence. Each event in U.S. history has influenced the next event and the next. Each generation, however it wants to see itself as “new,” is part of the ongoing history of the country rather than a brand-new start.

And it’s this way with our lives with chronic illness and pain. Yes, each new day provides us with opportunities for “a new start,” or a “new” approach.” But, really, we are building upon what we did yesterday and the day before. We might try to change course at some point, but we’re still moving down the same river!

I like the idea of building on past successes, improving on the healthful things I’ve done previously, and looking to a future that’s strong because I’m doing strengthening things now to help it be so.

And I like the idea that, no matter how much strife there has been in our nation’s history, no matter how much conflict, the continuity has endured, and our nation takes all lessons from the past and incorporates them into the present and future.

So, again, Happy Independence Day! I pray that what you do today will build toward a brilliant tomorrow!

Thank you, Lord, for this country,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: History Matters

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicDuring this week of celebrating our nation’s independence, we hear a lot about the importance of history.  Learning about the past is one of my favorite things; from an early age, I have enjoyed reading historical topics, learning about people who lived years ago, and even visiting historic sites. I like writing about history, too, and using research and analytical skills to take raw facts and figures and turn them into compelling articles and other work.

History is anything but boring, at least to me. But it goes beyond distant events and people unrelated to me. It also goes to family history, even health history.

Yes, knowing as much about our forebears health as possible can be crucial in our own healthcare. It can give our doctors clues as to what to investigate if we present with odd symptoms, and it can help navigate the choppy waters through the diagnosis process.

Knowing family health history is beneficial for understanding why we have some of the illnesses or physical “quirks” that we do, and why we don’t. It can be very encouraging to know there is no particular genetic propensity for a particular disease, for example. Or, it can be important to know that something “runs in the family.”

The science of genetics is evolving; your doctor is the best expert to help you understand what might be relevant for you and what might not pertain to your situation. But the more you are able to understand about your family’s health history, the better prepared you will be to enter into that conversation.

Familial health history can inspire us to live well and attain those old ages some of our relatives have amazingly surpassed.  It can give us a deeper picture of where we come from.

It’s one of those precious nuggets of information that, when passed down through generations, will continue to clarify and inform us – and those who will come after us.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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