Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Done Something Foolish?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tina Phillips/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In honor of April Fool’s Day, some thoughts about those foolish moments – better known as “Ooops!”

We’ve all had them. Those moments (or days, or months…) when we’ve known better, but still…

We knew it would be better not to attend a social gathering, but did anyway and for days afterward, felt the effects of too much of a good thing.

We knew it would be better to get the refill on a prescription before vacation, but didn’t and got stranded at an airport without our necessary meds.

We knew that respite from flares meant the disease was still lurking, but acted as if it wasn’t, and, wham!, stirred up a recurrence…

Yes, sometimes we don’t act in our best interest. Perhaps because of peer pressure, frustration over “I’ve had this [disease] for so long, I’m tired of it!”, or another reason. But, even as we might pay harsh consequences, we don’t have to think that we’ve caused a long-term, downward spiral.

We don’t have to flog ourselves with guilt.

We learn. We pick up the pieces. We move on, wiser and more resolved to do better next time.

And, know what? We do! We do “do better” next time (in most cases), and that’s probably the point of those foolish moments.

We’re human. We’ll stumble. We might even fall, foolishly. But we can learn. We’re never too old to learn. And, as the lessons sink in and we’re able to do better and get stronger, we’ll find reason for thankfulness. Yes, even for those foolish moments.

Blssings for the day,

Maureen

Uprooted? Displaced? No more!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicOne of the most difficult things about a serious diagnosis is that it displaces us from our “life as we knew it” to a terrible, scary unknown world that, for many, has life or death consequences. Whether because of symptoms or medication or even having to relocate to be closer to a treatment center or healthcare team, we can feel completely uprooted and at sea – strangers in a strange land. Or, even if we remain where we lived “before,” we might find that the people in our lives rotate out as the strain and stress of chronic illness and pain alter relationships, often for the worse.

I felt like this when I was diagnosed with lupus and had to stop most of the activities I’d enjoyed up to that point. I lost friends. I felt isolated and, in every sense, “displaced.”

But although my life was turned upside down, my faith never wavered. And it is this that, I think, is the key to controlling the uncontrollable, to finding a new “home” in the world – and to moving ahead spiritually and emotionally.

Our Lord, the center of my faith, never left me. He became “home” for me, and my faith was my root system. From that place of supreme comfort and encouragement, other things grew. Friends who were strong and compassionate. Ways to still make use of gifts, even if lupus restricted me mightily.

Was the world, my world, smaller than before? Well, I suppose you could say it was. But it was greater, too, because I learned about what was possible in an impossible situation. I learned about grace, and the potent, powerful importance of the Resurrection.

Yes, I learned, grew, shined – and I’m still at it!

Life is full of change, even if you are completely healthy for a long period of time. We will be buffeted, at times, and in calmer seas at others. But there is no need to worry, and no need to feel as if you don’t have a “place,” a purpose.

Jesus, the center of your life and joy is there – and you are home!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Finding time for God

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicHe’s with us every moment of our lives. In fact, He knew us before we were born. He knows what we do, think, and feel. And he knows what we pray for even before we ask. So how is it that, in our super-busy lives, we can’t find time for Him?

Whether it’s going to church or reading Scripture everyday, for many people, finding time to “just be” with God is tough. Family responsibilities, work (maybe more than one job and more than full-time), keeping fit, running a household, and, if you have a chronic illness or live with chronic pain, even if you have time when you’re resting or unable to be very active, you might find you don’t have a lot of mental energy to carry on a “meaningful” conversation with the Creator.

How well I know! But here’s what’s been helpful for me: Even when I’ve been too tired, sick, or busy to focus on deep prayer, I remind myself of how I began this blog.

He’s with us every moment of our lives. So, I don’t have to look far or go to some particular place to “find” God. He’s right there, sitting beside you, protectively behind you during office meetings, in the car as you go from place to place. Know this. Feel His presence.

He knew us before we were born. God knows us so well that we don’t have to make a big show of communicating with Him. We can lift up a full prayer or a word, a glance at His Creation or a tearful supplication. At a loss for words? Slowly recite the “Our Father,” and feel the comfort of His constancy and love.

He knows what we pray for even before we ask. Don’t have your prayer list handy, but you have a few minutes of energy or opportunity? Use those minutes to pray anyway, turning your heart and mind over to your petitions, but also your ears to hear His whisper.

In the time that you take to bemoan not having enough time for worship or prayer, you could use that time to pray – and the minutes add up greatly as the days go by.

Yes, we have time – 24 hours each day, actually – and all we have to do is remember God is with us every minute!
Blessings for the day,

Maureen

The myth of closure

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My heart goes out to all those touched by the loss of the Malaysian jetliner, which is said to have crashed into the Indian Ocean with all lives aboard lost. What agony the families and friends must be feeling, collectively and individually, and how horrible that their grief has been compounded by agonizing days of waiting for word, any word, about the fate of their loved ones.

Now, on the news and in other reports, I’m hearing a lot about “closure,” and how it might be possible, once remnants of the plane are found and possible human remains, too, for family members and others to get “closure.” I feel as if, by saying this, we should think that tangible discoveries will somehow dull loss and assuage grief. But, having suffered many a loss myself, I am more inclined to believe that these proofs of the fate of the airliner and its passengers and crew might provide one piece of the puzzle, but true closure will probably never occur. And, in fact, in any heart-wrenching loss, closure doesn’t really put the lid on grief, either.

A loss is felt in so many different ways and under different circumstances that it’s impossible to go through life afterward as if, completely, the loss never happened at all. As if, by going through the motions of facts, services, and closets and drawers, we can compartmentalize our loss so surely that it won’t re-emerge or hurt again. As if, after a certain timeframe after the loss, the days have passed and the future holds no looking back or feeling the loss. Some in society might think otherwise and expect that a person can get back to “normal” within a certain period of time. But those who have lost a loved one understand that days, years afterward, if we’re honest with ourselves, we think of things we’d like to say to the person who has passed. Or, we regret something and wish we could take it back. Or, we arrive at a milestone in our lives and wish that person were with us to celebrate, too.  Those who lost someone on the Malaysian airliner might expect closure, but what they’ll feel for years to come is something else entirely.

Even in the moment of supreme grief, it is possible to laugh, remember fondly, love and have faith. As time passes, we have more moments of these and other positive, affirming emotions. Our spirits are truly resilient, and God is with us all the time, so He brings comfort every day and night. But, closure? Complete and final? I think that it really is  a myth.

So, I’ll continue to pray for all those who’ve lost loved ones, whether on the flight or in other respects. Compassion for those who mourn doesn’t have an expiration date, just as grief doesn’t, either.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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