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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: Is It Easier to Open up to Strangers?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicI overheard a conversation a few days ago. It was very revealing, but it wasn’t between two family members or friends. No, it was between two men waiting for prescriptions at the pharmacy. I was waiting, too, and couldn’t help but overhear – and marvel at how open these two complete strangers were with one another. Their conversation even touched me, although I didn’t participate in it. And, it’s left me wondering, is it sometimes easier to have  a frank conversation about health issues with someone you don’t know, versus someone you know well?

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The conversation started when the one man, with two arm braces and a braced knee, sat down, heavily, in one of the last chairs in the pharmacy waiting area. He happened to sit next to another man, who asked if that particular chair was okay, or if he (the knee-brace-wearing man) would be more comfortable in his (the other man).

The knee-brace wearing man said that it really didn’t matter. He was on his third knee surgery, and was used to waiting. And, he said he was in horrible, horrible pain.

The other man commiserated, and asked if the surgeries were due to athletics.

Yes, said the knee-brace-wearing man. And, he proceeded to list all of the athletic activities he’d done throughout his life. Believe me, it made me exhausted to hear it! Soccer, football, triathalon training, long-distance running, martial arts…and more!

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The other man listened and then said that he, too had been an avid runner. But one day, a conversation with an older, fellow runner, made him “dial it back.” He said that the older runner looked “great, fit, amazing” from the waist up, but from the waist down, the man could barely move. He had pushed his body much farther than he should through all of his running and other athletics, and wanted to warn the other, younger, man, that he should “dial it back,” so he didn’t end up nearly crippled from over-doing.

The knee-brace-wearing man said that he knew he should dial it back. He knew he was doing damage to his body.

“But, if you’re so used to the athletics, how do you do without them? What do you do without them?” And then, his voice cracked. “I mean, I have grandchildren now that I can’t do sports with because of this, but how do you stop?”

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The other man said, “It was hard for me, too. But you should have seen that old runner. I knew I had to dial it back.”

“Yeah,” said the knee-brace-wearing man. “I should dial it back, too.”

There are so many things about the conversation I could talk about here. The need to acknowledge our body’s limits, the importance of respect for preserving movement, the need to work with  out doctors to know what we should and should not be doing.

But, that first question I posed was really the most prominent in my mind as I collected my prescriptions and went on my way.

What is it about strangers that we find so compelling?

And, if it is easier to open up to them, what does this mean for our ability to witness to goodness, health, and faith – no matter where we might be?

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Give Yourself 15 Minutes!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLights! Camera! Action!

Today, TLC Tuesday, give yourself 15 minutes – 15 minutes, that is, of time during which you report on and spotlight all of the things you’re doing right. Don’t let one, single, negative action or word creep into your mind during the whole 15 minutes.

What kindness did you do yesterday?

What health milestone are you working toward – and have already (even a little) conquered?

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What new thing did you learn about yourself? Someone else? Your illness? Your neighborhood?

How did you lift someone else’s spirit?

What did you do for God today? Yesterday? What’s in the works for tomorrow?

Even if you are camera shy, turn that spotlight on the good that you have done, the positive difference you have made!

You! Yes, you!

Shine!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Food for Thought: Jackson’s Run

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicJackson Stone’s journey throughout the movie “Jackson’s Run” is mined with potentially rich subject matter. A teen bent on self-destructing at the movie’s beginning, he is doing all the wrong things with all the wrong people and shutting out his mother and younger brother in the process. But Jackson is more than a “typical” delinquent: His own behavior at the age of 13 led to a near-death overdose and left him with HIV. As “Jackson’s Run” opens, the virus inside of him, like the outer, negative influences in his life, are catching fire and threaten to burn out of control. Others in his world are experiencing their own life crises, too, and as they and Jackson try to find sense, strength, meaning and faith, the “Run” twists and turns and travels a difficult road.

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Such a story, about a teenager infected with HIV, is a powerful one by itself. There is all too little said in the news and other media about the young lives who have been derailed by HIV and AIDS, and this movie does highlight the importance of compassion and care for this little-understood population. It also shines a faith-based light on this (and other) issues facing teens and adults alike, encouraging conversation, self-examination and journaling, and standing up to evil in many earthly forms.

But “Jackson’s Run” has other thematic story-lines, too, that involve Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, alcoholism, drug abuse, bullying, and, suicide.  It’s a heavy line-up, and one that, unfortunately, does not have nearly enough time to fully realize itself. Although truly and well-acted, especially in moments where the dialogue stops and the characters are allowed to breathe, 85 minutes just isn’t enough for this story…which is why it is a perfect subject for this blog’s “Food for Thought” column.

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On the surface, “Jackson’s Run” can be seen as a superficial treatment of extremely complex and difficult problems. But, one of the best elements of the film is how it showed that, for every wrong act committed, there are consequences – and we live with those consequences everyday. Christ’s sacrifice and our Salvation, then, become all the more precious. And all the more poignant, as our earthly lives continue to unfold. By loading the film with so many dark issues (and dark scenes – the lighting was an issue itself in a few spots, with disconcerting shadows and abrupt changes in film quality!), it made me very grateful for the light, the love of Christ, and the way that people can find a way back from blistering, winding, and awful runs of their own.

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“Jackson’s Run” is not a perfect film. The dialogue could have been more intuitive, the storytelling more focused and, thus, made deeper, and the ending felt too-quickly and too-neatly tied up. But we, too, are not perfect, are we? And even so, as with the world of “Jackson’s Run,” we have much to learn and tell.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

 

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A Praying Spirit: Too Many Requests?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhoto.net

Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhoto.net

How long is your prayer list?  Mine is lines long, full of requests from individuals, from my heart, and for the world around. Issues crop up every day and, yup, they get added to the list.

Do you feel as if you can do justice to all of the prayer requests on your plate? Does it ever get to be too much? Too many?

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I find great comfort in knowing that, even before I pray for someone or something, God knows my prayer and, even more, responds. Maybe I don’t hear His response immediately (or maybe I’m too busy praying to hear Him at first). But, yes, He knows. So, even if I forget someone or something, or even if my list is so long that I cannot spend “quality” time praying over one request, He’s my back-up and my go-to!

I would never discourage someone from asking me to pray for them. And, I don’t cut down my list or limit it to so many people or issues. But, I do understand that I have finite time and energy, some days more finite than others.

No worries, though! God is infinite – and He is eternally present!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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