Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Illness: Is God Punishing You?

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Early on in my journey with lupus, a Christian said to me, “You’re not cured because you’re not faithful enough.” When I challenged her on this, she said that she though God was punishing me for my “lack of belief!”

I’ve never believed that illness in our lives was a punishment from God. He loves us, each of us. The proof is Jesus on the cross, Christ risen! But still, some people equate illness with punishment.

I understand this a little; being sick can sure feel as if we’re being pummeled. Moreover, most of us “patients” have wondered, “What did I do to deserve this?” But to think that God, in His ever-merciful presence, is inflicting us with suffering because we need “punishment” is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps our journeys with illness are tests, or ways in which we are meant to come to a greater understanding of God, or come to deeper personal growth. But pure punishment? No.

Truly, no matter how much pain we are enduring, no matter how serious our illness, God wants to bring us comfort, peace, and, yes, blessings of joy. If we cower from God because we believe we’re being punished, we will deprive ourselves of the love that He offers freely and constantly. We’ll also be weaker as we face the challenges that beset our lives – and with illness and pain, we need all the strength we can obtain! Think of it this way, we need God in our corner, not absent from our lives!

Instead of asking God, “Why are you doing this to me?” I try to ask, “What am I to learn from this?” or “What do I need to understand?” or “What do I do with this?”

I want to be closer to God, not more distant.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Prayer for an Unknown Person

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

Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear Heavenly Father,

Yesterday I saw a person who seemed troubled.

We did not exchange a word, but I saw within weary eyes,

a very weak light.

I do not know what this person is enduring,

nor do I have a name or an address.

But, Lord, I know that you know,

And I also know that your love works everywhere,

even in places and people unknown to me.

Please be with the person I saw, Lord.

Bring rest, renewed vitality, and wisdom.

Rekindle the light I saw so that it burns brighter.

And let your peace settle all around, like a cloak of comfort,

Like Your nurturing strength.

Amen

Peace be with you,

Maureen

Lupus: Is Celebrating the Survivors Unrealistic?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI was once told by a person in a responsible position in a patient advocacy organization to “be positive, let them know that lupus isn’t all that bad. Don’t be negative.” The message this well-meaning person seemed to want was more akin to “celebrate the survivor,” a phenomenon borrowed from other disease advocacy realms. And the message irritated me.

Certainly, it is possible to “survive” certain serious, even life-threatening, illnesses, and I’m very happy for those who have done this. Whether it is cancer, diabetes, or another health challenge, being able to get beyond it and feel healthy again must be a tremendously joyful sensation, as well as encouraging for those who are still battling that particular illness. Certainly, our society celebrates the survivor, heaping praise and titles such as “Courageous” or “Inspiring” upon them. I join in the celebration when I can, knowing how hard the struggle must have been.

But when it comes to extolling the ease of life with lupus and not explaining how hard it can be,well,  I think this is misleading and probably upsetting to more than just me. First, there is no cure for lupus (except what Our Lord might choose to bring), people with lupus are more likely to “get through” flares (periods when the disease is active) than experience a cure, and the absence of flare does not mean there is the absence of lupus.

Second, lupus is very stealthy. Even at times when we might feel fairly good, “the wolf” can be working inside. Living with lupus requires constant vigilance, regular monitoring by our medical teams, and the understanding that we need to take good care throughout.

Third,  I happen to believe that lupus patients would rather learn much more realistic information that be fed only “positive” things. That way, they can be better equipped to meet the highs and lows of the lupie life – and be stronger for it.

In my talks and writing, I try to talk about the benefits that have come from my journey with lupus. Indeed, there have been many positive things that I’ve gleaned and many blessings are, no doubt, still to come. But I’ll be the first to say it’s not been an easy road, nor a finite one. Each day presents hard challenges, and I know that I am not alone in this.  I do try to focus on good things, uplifting things, loving and lovely things, including the blessings from lupus. But, just as the title of my blog suggests, some days are “good” and some days are “bad.” With good faith, clear eyes, and a determined heart, the “bad days” won’t seem as bad, and the “good days” will be even more blessed.

Peace,

Maureen

 

Finding Something Good

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

Image courtesy of graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart;

Good news invigorates the bones.

Proverbs 16:30

Whether personal or of the world, there is no lack of bad news feeding our lives and hearts. Of late, I’m facing a couple of serious diagnoses, additional to those I’m already grappling with. In world news, we are all aching for the girls who have been kidnapped, the victims of severe weather, and other tragedies. But just as our lives are complex, so too should be the balance we purposefully bring to them. Yes, it can be difficult to see beyond the bad. But as people of Easter, people of faith, we are called to do just that.

This simple Scripture reading is front and center on my work desk these days, a testament to the importance of good news as an antidote and protection against the negative effects of all bad news darkening our lives. I especially like the second line: “Good news invigorates the bones.” Truly, we cannot do away with bad news, and sometimes we have to face it head on and ride through a sea of murk and gloom. But to do this with courage and strength, to not sink down hopelessly, we have to hold onto something good, something of light, something of God.

Is it a cheerful glance from a loved one that can bring you today’s good? Is it an uplifting news story of bravery? Have you lived a very inspiring time, and can the memory of that fuel your determination to seek and find another?

Can you see the good in the natural world, the sky, the flowers? Can you hear the good in the laughter of children, unaffected by the negativity that draws you down and, thus, proving that the world is not all awful?

Darkness can drag us down. Bad news or a bad day can make us want to cower and cringe. But if we make the effort and seek that one good thing each day, we can counteract the effect of darkness and thrive in light.

Find something good today. Cherish it. Thank God for it. Use it as your weapon against darkness – and be strong.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Food for Thought: The Theory of Everything, Part One
Movies can be tremendous entertainment, taking us out of our ordinary lives into an extraordinary world of storytelling. But sometimes, movies strike so close to home that they set off a cascade of thoughts, feelings, and questions. I recently say "The Theory of Everything," the based-on-a-true-s

posted 1:52:18am Nov. 24, 2014 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Prayer with a Friend
Jesus told us, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) This is particularly powerful when you think

posted 1:44:04am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Pain and Illness: Why the Front Office Matters
They are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office workers at a physician's office matter, really, they do!  And the better we can work with them,

posted 10:49:08pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: A Breath of Fresh Air
Today, give yourself a breath of fresh air. Not just a shallow, timid gasp. A full-fledged, rejuvenating intake of blessed and cleansing oxygen. When we're busy or tense, stressed or preocuppied, we might ignore the simple ways that we can reconnect, even for a moment, with God's creation and the

posted 10:39:08pm Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Food for Thought: Finding Faith in Fiction
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for Saint Anthony Messenger that coincided with the 50th anniversary of the death of American author and devout Catholic Flannery O'Connor. It was a very personal piece, especially because Flannery had died from lupus at a too-young age and I had discovered her

posted 10:35:12pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.