Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness and Pain: Are You Afraid of Complaining?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicFor sighing comes more readily to me than food,

and my groans well forth like water;

For what I fear overtakes me,

and what I shrink from comes upon me.

I have no peace nor ease;

I have no rest, for trouble comes!

Then spoke Eliphaz the Temanite, who said [to Job]:

If someone attempts a word with you, will you mind?

For how can anyone refrain from speaking?

Behold, you have instructed many, and have made firm their feeble hands.

Your words have upheld the stumbler;

you have strengthened his faltering knees.

But now that it comes to you, you are impatient;

when it touches yourself, you are dismayed.

Is not your piety a source of confidence,

and your integrity of life your hope?

Job 3:24-26; 4:2-6 (New American Bible)

Oh, wow, the book of Job has so much for those of us who have faith and live with chronic pain and illness!

In this particular passage, Job is expressing his pain in very vivid prose while his friends sit by and listen. Finally, one friend, Eliphaz the Temanite, speaks up, but his words are not exactly comforting. Rather, he challenges Job about how Job was such a “pillar of faith” previously, holding others up when they stumbled, and yet now that the pain is Job’s and not someone else’s, it seems as if Job’s faith has left him and complaining is, instead, rooted in.

Haven’t there been times when you and I have been hesitant to decry our pain or illnesses because we’re afraid people will think we’re not relying on faith? That we’re, instead, rejecting our lives, our health conditions? That we’re not “accepting in silence” our suffering?

Hmm…I have to say I beg to difer.

There really is nothing wrong with saying “I hurt,” nor is there anything wrong with describing our suffering so that others will understand. Just because we do this does not mean we are not being “strong” or “faithful.”

However, the other part of this portion of Job has another lesson, too. That is, if we complain and complain and do not let others extend compassion and care, we are not allowing Christ to be active through them to us. We are rejecting the ability of others to bring care – Yes, if we don’t let others “in,” we’ll never be able to see ourselves lifted “out” of our suffering!

Yes, it’s all right to complain. We needn’t feel guilty about that. But we also need to let God work, to be still so that we hear the voices of caring friends and family – and the voice of God.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

P.S. for more on Job, you might like my book, “Beyond Pain: Job, Jesus, and Joy,” available through online booksellers and relgious bookstores.

A Blessed Rosh Hashanah

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Each time a Jewish holiday arrives, I think about centuries ago, in Jesus’ day, when Our Lord also observed these holy days. Sometimes, we Christians forget that Jesus was actively Jewish, that he lived for nearly 30 years with Mary and Joseph in an observant Jewish household, and that his faith was lived out daily there and with them. Remembering this brings up a wellspring of respect for the people who still, today, observe these holy days.

Peace, comfort, goodness, and light are wonderful blessings for anyone upon whom they rest. And today, I wish these things for all observing Rosh Hashanah, a New Year.

Shalom.

Peace.

Maureen

TLC Tuesday: Find What You Love About Yourself

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicOur bodies change. Our spirits are challenged. Our “regular” lives become almost unrecognizable. When we think nothing more can happen health-wise to bring change, well, something does!

When you have a serious chronic illness, there is much about ourselves that we might not like, let alone love. And yet, as people of faith, we know God loves us – so there must be something good amid all the suffering, pain, and disruption, right?

This TLC Tuesday, try not to dwell on what’s wrong, but rather, on what is right with you and your life. What do you truly like? What do you love?

There’s always something to criticize, to wish wasn’t. But there’s always something, too, to love, as God loves – and others do, too.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

A Praying Spirit: What works?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The longer I’ve written this blog, the more I’ve come to understand that I’m not the only one for whom prayer is crucial to coping with illness, pain, and other crises. For many of you, too, prayer is like spiritual food, essential and unceasingly necessary.

So, each Saturday, I’m going to devote my blog to prayer. Not “prayers,” but the act of praying in all its many facets. I do this in hopes that our prayer lives may become even more full, abundant, and light-giving – an activity and a vocation that is a blessing to all.

Today: What works?

Let’s be honest, many times we pray in hopes of receiving an answer from God. And, we hope that that answer will be the one we want. So, we might be tempted to try “prayer that works,” whether it is a different ritual, different wording, or different posture (internal or external).

But, so often, what we want out of prayer is not what God wants for us. That’s as hard for me to type as it might be for you to hear. But, it’s true. We are human, with a finite ability to discern and desire. Only God knows what is ultimately “The Good” for each of us.

So, if you’re searching for “prayer that works,” I gently suggest that you not search so much for a way of praying, but rather for an attitude toward prayer. That is, take time to pray, most definitely, but also take time to listen. Listen willingly. Listen humbly.

Listen for God’s voice and the ability to accept His answers.

For, ultimately, prayer that works is when we hear God’s reply – and we love Him even more.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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