Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the things that helps me most to move forward is to look back, to see where I’ve been. Many times haven’t been easy, and many situations have not had clear answers or resolutions. But I “in the now” do not look so much at the details as the heart behind them. That is, the heart expressed in the care of friends, doctors, family, and others, and the heart I’ve benefited from within myself. The heart to continue, to listen to God, to have faith.

It’s easy to think that each tough situation is “the worst.” And, yes, each situation is distinct, with its own set of facts and problems.

But if you look back at even one other difficult situation, you can see how you more than survived. How you carried through. How you learned and grew. How you realized even more how special certain people are to you and you to them.

You had the heart to go on, then, and you have it  now.

It’s fitting that Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Awareness Month fall in February, when the weather can be brutal and the temperatures plummet. February is not a comfortable month for many of us. And yet, we celebrate the heart. The warm, strong, ever-beating, loving and being loved heart.

If you still find it difficult to believe that these days will be better, or that you have the strength to meet them with courage, pause a moment. Reflect on another time, a tough time, in the past. Look how far you’ve come from then to now, and how much more muscle you have to push ahead.

Look back, and see the heart to go on has never left you. And it’s carrying you through now, too.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Dress for success

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When those skimpy hospital gowns make you shudder, and the only “social” appointments you have entail going to a doctor’s office or pharmacy, there’s nothing like a little “dress for success” action to help motivate you and inspire others!

It doesn’t have to be fancy. No sequins or feathers or outrageous hemlines.  But simple selections of a quietly beautiful color, a faith-themed piece of jewelry, a warm and cozy sweater – these things or others right out of your closet can enhance your mood and your look. And, a bit of forward thinking can help take the edge off of the challenges you face healthwise.

Fuzzy slippers at the infusion center.

A jaunty hat pre- and post-MRI.

A wildly colorful tote bag instead of a sedate purse.

A lace scarf to counteract stark hospital sheets.

A long and flowing wig to offset the hairloss beneath it.

We are not being vain when we take a little extra care with our appearance, especially at the most dire of times. In fact, we’re helping those who care for us by giving them an uplifting visual, a silent sense that, although part of us might be down, there is still a part that isn’t.

Maybe you don’t feel like making the effort at all. Ask a friend’s help, then.

Because beyond the pain, there is still goodness. And if you cannot find it in the large things, you can seek it in the small.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by the woman’s side until she began to move. Apparently (at least to my mind), she thought traffic was clear. But the dog sensed otherwise and curled around her legs, stopping her from stepping off the curb. Just then, a car moving very fast turned the corner and sped off right in front of the woman and dog. A few seconds more, a few steps more, and the woman would have been hit.  Traffic cleared. I waited, though, for the woman and dog to make their steady way across the intersection. Only then did I breathe deeply and move on.

We don’t have to be stunt people or circus performers to lead daring lives, do we? Driving, walking, even shopping (those heavy carts can mow you down if you’re not careful) – truly our everyday lives can be dangerous.  And for the person who is “differently abled,” our neighborhoods can be obstacle courses. Even our homes can have places of peril (how long has it been since you looked up and into that narrow cupboard above the refrigerator?)

Yet, as I saw with the woman and her dog, just because there is danger does not mean we have to sit at home in a corner and let the world carry on without us. We can take precautions, be aware of our surroundings, and know our capabilities and when to ask for help.

And, we can trust. Trust is key.

The woman I saw knew she could trust her dog, and she obeyed his intervention when she was about to walk into the street.

Who do we trust? We might not have sight-assistance dogs, but we have One who is all-seeing all the time. We have the Lord. And if we keep our intention on listening to Him, we can sense the times when He holds us back in order to protect us so that we can move forward.

There’s a wonderful song called “Unseen Dangers” by Carol Antrum that sums it up: “If you could have seen the unseen dangers that the Lord kept you from today, you would be praising God!”

Praising indeed! And loudly!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Someone is waiting for you

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Ian Kahn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ian Kahn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

February’s focus on Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people who are isolated because of illness and pain. For some, even if they are surrounded by family and friends, they can feel lonely because of their physical limitations, depression, or other constraints. And for those who are more physically isolated, or who haven’t had the opportunity or understanding of how to build a strong support system, being alone can be utterly devastating.

It need not be so.

When I am most unable to reach out or have contact with people, one of the things that is very comforting is the knowledge that at any given time, there are people praying for me, people I do not know, people who are on the other side of the world. This unity of prayer is amazingly strong, but it is something we often take for granted, and those of us who do struggle sometimes with illness keeping us on the sidelines often do not even think of it as a balm, a comfort, a way.

Look upon it this way, there is always someone waiting for you to make the connection, even in silent prayer, to the great community that is people of faith. Anywhere, anytime. In any language or form. And as those prayers are lifted, yours included, even more unity is generated and we are less isolated each day.

Another thing I try to remember is that, when someone doesn’t reach out to me, they might be waiting for me to reach out to them. Relationships are two-way. It’s not always all about us!  Even a small word, a card sent, a short call can take the sting off of loneliness.

Finally, God is always waiting for us to pray to Him and to sit in His presence. He’s one of those friends who doesn’t even need us to talk to Him. He loves us and simply likes it when we call on Him.  Yes, He’s waiting for us, too.

When you take a good look at your situation, you will find at least one person, probably more, who are in some way waiting for you to reach out.  If you can’t think of someone specific right away, turn to prayer. Lift it up to join those prayers of all our brothers and sisters in countries far and wide. There’s plenty of good room and a world of friends just waiting.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

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