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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Pain: Going into the Wilderness

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ah! Wilderness!

I’ve always like that title for a book or a play. Not so fond of it as a description of what it’s like to live with chronic pain. But, so often,that is what it is like. Wilderness. Stark. Deserted. Hot, perhaps. Or, bitterly cold.. There’s no signpost to give direction. No oasis to give refreshment. But there are long stretches of earth – hard, stony, feet-planted-deep earth.

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Yup. Living with chronic pain can often feel like being in the wilderness.

Jesus when into the desert, a kind of wilderness, to pray early into his ministry. There, he was tempted by the devil, who tried very hard to steer Our Lord from his path. He threw everything at Jesus, taunting him to call upon angels to bring Him relief.

But, our Lord stuck by his intention, going into that desert.

He went there to pray, and pray He did. And then, when it was time, He went about His work.

What if, the next time we are in a wilderness of pain, we dedicated it to prayer? What if, no matter how tempting it might be to turn against God in our desert of suffering, we turned toward Him. Completely.

In that simple moment of decision, as we step into the desert, our decision to pray just might change the landscape. And change our lives.

Peace,

Maureen

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Memorized prayer

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

These days, many people seem to shy away from memorizing anything. Historical dates, telephone numbers, and names – and many other things, too! – might be important, but in academia, “concepts” of history often win out over memorization of facts, and with our smart phones’ speed dial capabilities, we are rapidly losing any use for memorizing telephone numbers! As for names, well, perhaps that’s always been a challenge – and always will be, too, for some (including me).

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But, there is a benefit to memorization. It exercises our brains, makes us focus on something specific and finite (a great way to banish distractions from our lives, if only for a brief while). And it helps us “carry” important things with us throughout our day.

Important things, like prayer.

There are many beautiful prayers that have been handed down by our relatives and complete strangers, prayers that often say so eloquently what we at any particular moment might not. So, as we think about prayer this week, try to memorize a supplication, a petition to God. Whether from the Bible, your faith tradition, or someone else’s pen and heart, know this prayer word-for-word, inside and out. And take it with you.

Once you have it memorized, you’ll be far less likely to lose it!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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How Do We Know When God Is Smiling On Us?

posted by mpratt

We who live with chronic illness and pain develop some mighty powerful prayer muscles! Long prayers, short prayers, shouted prayers, sobbing prayers – we’ve spoken and thought these and many others during good and bad days. And, if you’re like me, you’ve probably prayed more than once, “Please, Lord, smile upon me.”

Of course, when we pray, we hope for some kind of answer (or, at least, a reaction from God).

So, how do we know when God smiles upon us?

Here are some ways I’ve seen Him smile upon me lately – maybe these will inspire you to discover the same or similar ways in your life:

A breeze lifted the brim of my hat and allowed me to see a bird perched on a nearby branch.

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The needle stick at last week’s doctor’s appointment was not painful at all (unusual, these days!)

I snagged a parking space near a doctor’s office at a time when all the spots for blocks are usually filled.

A friend gave me a fresh tomato from her garden, and when I cut into it, I smelled summer!

 

Yes, God’s smile is all around us – if we look for it, there it is!

Joy and peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: When You Really Accomplish Something

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Janes Barker/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Oh, what a great feeling it is when you really accomplish something – despite all the challenges and setbacks that chronic illness can bring! It’s a remarkable boost, even if you’re really spent afterward, to be able to look back at the pitfalls and say, “In spite of all that, I made it!”

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I suppose marathoners feel much the same way – pushing through the “wall” of fatigue to get to the finish line, triumphant.

Right now, I feel really happy that I’ve finished the manuscript to a new book! Oh, my, I’m very tired. But meeting the challenge despite illnesses, infections, and “life intervening” gives me good heart.

Serious chronic illnesses usually don’t allow us to jump from one thing to another, finishing this and that project and rocketing ahead to the next. I know that I’m going to need lots of time to recover before diving into something else, too.

But that moment of accomplishment is a very valid moment of joy. One to be cherished and appreciated. For it’s these types of moments that help us power through the other, more difficult times, when the end is unknowable and perhaps elusive. Or when, as with chronic illness, when there is no end, but rather an ongoing battle.

Yes, the times when we can really accomplish something help us through all the rest of life with lupus or any serious illness or pain. Sort of like intangible trophies, shining light upon us when much else is very dark.

Peace,

Maureen

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