This is the day the Lord has made – Let us rejoice and be glad!
Sometimes, it can be difficult to think of rejoicing when you’re in a lot of pain or a disease is flaring and symptoms are harsh. But when I think of all that Jesus went through for me, I can easily get through the health challenges on a day like this! And I can truly and honestly sing “Hallelujah!” for all He has done for me.
I pray that your Easter is graced with warmth of love and sunshine of spirit. May you carry this joy with you well beyond Easter and, in all times and places, may that joy bring you renewed energy to share all of the wonderful blessings Our Lord brings,
Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough is perfect for anyone who is living through a crisis or who is finding that life in these troubling times brings on anxiety and fear. In the book, I offer practical ways to de-stress and strengthen internal resolve, spirit, and faith. These tips come from a variety of intriguing sources, including modern medical science and real-life examples from people like you and me who have faced horrifying, life-shattering events and come through wiser, stronger, and more positive and rooted in hope.
I also talk about how to take crises and make them manageable, and how to find glimmers of light in the harshest darkenss. Prayer figures in mightily when it comes to handling stress and fear, and I offer novel ways to deepen our prayer lives before and after a crisis so that during one, we have a profound well of support to call upon. Faith is vital, too, and there are personal sections in the book called “Faith in Focus” that encourage the reader to look inward with a caring lens to see the immense resources each of us possesses but, often, we don’t consciously realize we have.
My fervent hope is that this book will help readers know that we don’t face crises alone. We are more resilient than we give ourselves credit for being. There are ways to build greater courage and strength.
And there is every reason to believe we need not panic!
Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough is available wherever books are sold (if you don’t see if on the shelves of your local bookstore, ask the store manager to order it for you)!
In my hand are a couple of long, stiff, green-yellow palm fronds. They don’t wave easily by themselves, so I move my hand, as stiff as the palm fronds, to make them sway as they might have centuries ago, when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The movement of my hand stirs up pain in my wrists, a reminder of the arthritis there, and I nearly lose my grip on the fronds. Sitting, then standing, then sitting at the beginning of the service is a struggle as stiffness and soreness make such movement challenging. During the reading of the gospel telling of Our Lord’s Passion and death on the Cross, when we in the congregation are asked to kneel, I try, wince at the pain radiating from my knees devoid of cartilage, and manage a quasi-bow, going only so far so as to avoid an incident of choking or worse due to my several esophageal problems. During the aprt of the Mass where we are to give one another the Sign of Peace, I smile, but avoid touching others to try to keep from exposing myself to germs, a greater possibility the longer I am on my immunosuppressive medication regimen. My friends smile back, understanding. Strangers may or may not be so kind, even in church, but I try not to let some disappointed or affronted stares take me out of the service to a place of frustration.
When the service ends, I chat a little with friends and then make for home, the fronds still in my hand. They will take their place in a vase with others now brittle and blanched of color. Rminders of past years of similar pain, but also profound hope.
Palm Sunday, as with other religious services we attend, can be particulalry painful for us. But as we suffer through, we are also uniquely positioned to be close to Jesus, who suffered even more for us, among us. And as we move through the readings and the ritual, we can focus on Our Lord’s Passion in a particularly poignant way: For every twinge we feel, we are even more in communion with Jesus. And we know that the pain of His suffering is not an end – for Him or us. It is a brilliant, and hopeful beginning,
If you’re like me, this week has been particularly exhausting, not just because of illness symptoms and all things medical, but also because of the time change we experienced last weekend (I know some of you might live in areas immune to the time change – lucky you!). For some reason, I had a very hard time adjusting to the hour difference, by turns experiencing good energy and then absolute exhaustion. Quite difficult to handle when trying to accomplish anything – including laundry! But quite instructive on how important “giving in” to the tired feeling is – not “giving up,” but acknowledging the fatigue for what it is and, at those crucial times, recognizing that being one with the sofa or comfy chair is often the best and most healthful thing to do!
It can be frustrating to have external influences compound our ever-present fatigue, that bone-numbing sense of heaviness and brain fog that can take over many hours of the day. But beyond the temporary trouble (and, yes, eventually I and probably you adjust to the time change), there is some value in learning the lesson of self-care all over again. As we follow our doctors’ guidance and prescriptions for our particular health situations, we also can be mindful that they are not able to visit us at home and order us to rest – that part of living with a chronic illness is up to us. And as we take this lesson to heart, we can enjoy knowing that God’s love wraps around us, bringing us comfort of the spirit.
And we can, eventually, feel rejuvenated!
Joy and peace,