Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

The dust bunnies in our lives

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of piyato/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of piyato/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Usually at the beginning of the year, I try to de-accession some of my possessions. This year, I made a very serious effort at figuring out what I had that I no longer needed that someone else could benefit from. Unlike previous years, which involved looking through closets, this time my project involved much more.

It involved dust bunnies. Many dust bunnies. In places where I didn’t even know they could be.

At one point, I had to vacuum myself.

Where did all these dust bunnies come from? How was it that in my small corner of the world, I could have allowed them to happen? Or, are they completely removed from anything I’m doing and they just “are?”   (This last question isn’t very comforting. If the answer is, “yes,” then does that mean that, no matter how hard I try to avoid them in the future, they will still take up residence?) Does the presence of dust bunnies mean I’m not a good house-keeper? Do they mean that keeping a neat home is the ultimate in an exercise in futility? Or was there some other lesson to glean from them, something beyond the mundane?

As I moved and cleaned and vacuumed and rearranged, I realized that I had more to give than I’d imagined. And, I thought about the other “dust bunnies” that accumulate, too. Unfinished feelings or actions that have lingered and gathered into larger-than-life balls of internal “stuff.” Or, perhaps, because of illness or pain, there are things in our lives that we thought we’d use or need, but have not and so these, too, have sat idle and gathered – dare I say it – another kind of dust bunny.

Disturbing dust bunnies is a messy thing, I discovered. But I’m glad I did it. For, as horrible as was my allergic reaction to the whole process, I discovered many things that I could give to others. I also now have clean, more open space, which has given me a lighter and brighter view of where I live.

Whether real or of a more personal kind, dust bunnies, when stirred up, are something to sneeze at. But when taken care of, what is left is, truly, a breath of fresh air.

Blessings for the day.

Maureen

 

Willing to teach

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicA couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about how those people who are ill, infirm, or otherwise in need of care are not burdens on society but rather, they teach others to care. They also allow others to act in a loving way. Truly, caring for and about someone with illness or other chronic conditions is the embodiment of love.

But there’s a “flip side” to “we teach others to care.” No matter how willing to learn someone is, we have to be open to them, too. We have to be willing to teach – and to show care in return.

This can be difficult, particularly if you feel frustrated or angry that you need help in the first place. So often, anger is expressed outwardly toward those whom we need most. That is, those who extend care and concern toward us. Yet, if we act out of anger in the face of extended love and compassion, we are in a real sense refusing that care. And in so doing, we’re refusing someone’s offer of acting out his or her love. Perhaps refusing to allow someone to really be Christian toward us.

It is true that it takes energy to engage with others. Even a brief, generic conversation with the store clerk might be the effort that completely saps us of the energy to do anything else. Teaching is one of those things that takes lots of patience, time and, yes, energy. But it is so worth it.

Not only does our willingness to be patient teachers toward others help us in our daily challenges with illness and pain, it also helps “train,” in a way, caregivers to take care of others besides ourselves. For every person we appreciate, thank, encourage, and help understand, we are spreading mighty positive reinforcement – and successfully acting out our faith, too.

A hearty thanks to the students in our midst – and a just-as-hearty thanks to the teachers, too!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Just for fun

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today is the perfect day to do something just for fun. Actually, every day is perfect, but why not start today?

Just because you have a chronic illness or just because my knees buckle doesn’t mean we are unworthy of fun.

What kind of fun?

It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all.

It could be as simple as playing with a puppy.

Digging out your kazoo and honking away.

Walking around the block and actually smiling to every person you meet along the way.

Dancing to a song on the radio.

Talking to a houseplant.

Rearranging a room “just because.”

To have fun, you don’t have to laugh uproariously or feel as if you’ve become a one-woman (or -man) comedy routine.

Just doing something that makes you smile gently, happily, healthfully – that can be fun and lift your mood the whole day.

I’d write more, but I have to run.

I’m going to do something – just for fun!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

We teach others to care

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicEvery time I hear or read about the “burden” that the ill, frail, and disabled place upon society, I want to scream. The reference is usually made in terms of the financial cost, but it can also be couched as a “problem” for families with loved ones who require their attention, or the elderly who need more support to live their lives with dignity.

“Burden?”

Hardly.

Without the ill, weak, or physically or emotionally handicapped people in our world, how would anyone learn what it means to love? And, if there were no means by which people would learn to love, wouldn’t the world quickly dissolve into a place without love? Without goodness? Without compassion?

Now, I don’t mean “love” as the giddy, heart-pounding kind of affection celebrated on February 14. No, I mean more the “agape” kind of love, the care expressed and lived out for others as explained and demonstrated by Our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is that kind of love that allows strangers to care tirelessly for others, to bathe them and treat them, to help them die with respect and dignity. It is that kind of love that inspires medical professionals to devote years and years of their lives, learning how to better care for their patients and rendering that care.

People who are infirm, especially those who cannot speak or act for themselves, teach us how to rise above our own egos and desires and reach for a greater goal: Living, however stutteringly, as Christ wishes us to live.  By respecting their lives and by recognizing that it is God who gives breath and life in the first place, we become honorable, something more than merely human. We become better people, through and through. And that cannot be quantified by any study, economic or otherwise.

For we who have serious health conditions, it’s important to recognize how much we can teach others.  And it’s important to encourage those still able-bodied to understand beyond the “inconvenience” posed by our limitations and see that there is a greater calling, open to all.

The call to care and, one day, be cared for, in turn.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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