Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

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

Blooming Time!

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Maureen Pratt/www.maureenpratt.com

Photo courtesy of Maureen Pratt/www.maureenpratt.com

Not long ago, I posted a picture of my season-challenged Christmas cactus. It had bloomed at, when else, Christmas, but for some reason a few weeks ago began producing buds again! Just in time for…Lent?!

As sometimes happens with plants, you never know quite what is going to happen. I thought, perhaps, the buds might not open, but still took the opportunity to offer an observation in a blog that it’s never the wrong time to bloom when it comes to life.

Today, I’m happy to post this picture of my blooming Christmas cactus. We’ve just passed the 3rd Sunday of Lent, and if the buds and blooms are any indication, I might have these beautiful flowers at least until Palm Sunday. Thank you, Lord, for the surprise treat!

Of course, I have another thought besides the obvious to offer – Just as it’s never too late or too early to blossom with God’s light and love, so, too, it’s never a bad idea to let that light shine as brightly as can be. If it’s Lent and your a Christmas cactus, bloom anyway! If you’re in pain and you feel like sharing support with a friend – do it anyway!

And if you’re living with a chronic illness that seems to never let up, praise God anyway! That light that you shine in the face of suffering is mighty powerful and can work in ways you might have only begun to understand.

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.