Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

One, Brief Window?

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The weight of pain and illness, and the limitations these bring to daily life, can become excruciating, oppressive. But beneath the heavy burden of physical challenges is, often, a glimmer of light. Even if the door to wholeness and health doesn’t open for us, won’t there be a window? One, brief window leading to freedom, feeling fit, and more ease than anxiety?

The short answer to this question is, “yes.” Inevitably, there is a time when we’re hurting less than usual, or when a new approach in treatment or change in meds offers more hope than hurt. Even in the darkest of situations, there is the possibility of a lifted spirit through the presence of God and the Holy Spirit working within us. And there is, too, the experience of others in similar circumstances that can lead us by the hand, teach us, and help us to understand that life does contain joy, humor, and warmth-giving light.

The trick is, of course, how well we prepare ourselves to recognize and take advantage of the window when it occurs. For, sometimes, stubbornness or denial can cloud our vision and make us impervious to the moments when they come before us. If we’re sure that life will never be better, we can be assured that we’ll be immune to an uplift, an open window, when it comes.

Faith is a powerful weapon against denial, for if we believe, we cannot deny the presence and existence of that which we cannot immediately see. It’s with this in mind that we can face each day and night and, like the brides’ maids of Scripture, keep our candles lit and our souls awake so that, when the window opens, we won’t miss a thing.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Hearing and Listening

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic“He just didn’t listen to the doctor,” she said to the paramedic as he opened the ambulance door. “He went out there and shoveled that snow anyway.”

“I heard the doctor,” he said, lifting his head from the stretcher. “But who else is going to shovel it? The squirrels?”

“I could have done it,” she said.

“No,” he replied. “I always shovel the driveway.”

“Hearing” and “listening” play interesting roles in the lives of people who live with chronic health conditions. From the day of diagnosis, many people, especially those with serious illnesses, might sit in a doctor’s office, hearing what he or she is saying, but not really “listen,” that is, take all the information in and act upon or believe/accept it all.  Sometimes, it helps to have a loved one sit in on the appointments; he or she might be able to “hear and listen to” everything with a more objective ear. But, even so, often it takes a long time before all of the information “sinks in.”

Why is that?

Perhaps it has something to do with our internal optimism. “Things can’t/aren’t really that bad.” “The doctor is just trying to scare me.” “I don’t feel as bad as the doctor is saying.”

In my book “Peace in the Storm,” I talk about denial, that part of us that doesn’t want to believe we’re really sick. And, how denial doesn’t fall away all at once, but rather is peeled away layer by layer, much like an onion and with the same effects as the onion, causing us to weep a little every time a layer goes and the more pungent, “real” onion is exposed.

How do we handle this seesawing between “hearing” and “listening?” And how do we make sure we do what’s most healthy, despite our denial?

In our most vulnerable, we gain great support from our loved ones. They care, and in their caring, they can help us see truth even before we accept it. And, too, we can spend more time in prayer. Asking God for the ears to hear AND the heart to listen is a powerful way to open ourselves to what will be most true and most healthful.

We’re human. We’ll be in denial at times. But we’ll also be in good stead when we turn to God and our loved ones to help us more fully hear and truly listen.

Blessings for the day.

Maureen

Love Inside, Love Outside

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Despite the challenges we face, and the pain we endure, this is an uplifting day…and one for reflecting on the active, reflective effect of love on our world. What do I mean by that?

I think especially of the way our inner feelings bubble outward and inspire others.

I smile. You smile.

I laugh. You laugh.

I strive to understand. You feel comfort.

I reach out. You reach back.

Our slightest actions have an effect, and when they are positive, the effect is, most times, positive, too.

But there is one caveat: Outward expressions have to be genuine in order to catch and hold. And life with illness and pain can have a real dampening effect upon our ability to express pure, joyful care.

So, we turn inward, to the love that God gives us within our spirits. We pray for His gentle comfort, and listen intently as He works in us. By ourselves, we who are so very human would usually see our problems, first. Our pain. Our despair. Our needs. But, with Our Father in Heaven, we can be led beyond those things and into His light of love, the warmth of His care. And the glow from that light will shine from our eyes, our hands, our heart, and warm others.

Love inside becomes love outside.

And this day becomes the start of many where we pray, rejoice, and reach, sharing God’s love as warm as the most generous hearth.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Even in Deep Winter

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While driving along a frozen Midwestern road, I saw a startling sight. Despite the frigid temperatures and snow-covered landscape, a horse was grazing in a pasture! Much like this photo by prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net, the horse seemed oblivious to the weather. Even in deep winter, it was going about its day, finding sustenance buried below the surface of the evidence of harsh climes.

I couldn’t get close enough to see if the horse was shivering. As I drove by, though, it didn’t look up. Munch. Munch. Its day carried on as it probably did in summer.

Further down the road, I thought about the calm feeling that came over me, seeing the horse. It’s a feeling that’s worth keeping when other storms rattle us, freeze us, stop us in our tracks. Illness might turn our world upside down. Cold facts about our condition might make us think that spring, and better health, might never come. But some things, even then, can carry on. We can take comfort in a daily routine, a habit or two that can withstand the greatest life challenges.

No wonder that, when a crisis has us reeling, steady neighbors and friends bring casseroles and gentle reminders to “Eat. Rest. Take a break.”

Of course, there’s another take-away from the sight of the horse. If we fall apart completely, if we focus only on our health problems or the fear that they bring into our lives, we might not tend to our basic needs and, thus, not have the strength – spiritual or physical – to make it through them.

You never know what insight you’ll find on a frozen Midwestern road in deep, deep winter!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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