Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

What I Am Learning from Pope Francis

posted by mpratt

As I type this, I am watching the coverage from Rio, where Pope Francis is participating in the 28th World Youth Day. With amazing stamina and overt joy, the Holy Father seems to be throwing himself into all of his activities, “small” and “large.” Visiting the poor, stopping to bless the sick, addressing the estimated one million plus who have come to celebrate World Youth Day, the Holy Father is in all ways present.

Who would guess, if they didn’t know, that Pope Francis only has one lung and is in his late 70s?!

Three things impress me about this remarkable man on this high-octane, exhausting trip, the first that he has taken to Latin America since he became pope.

First, Pope Francis exudes joy. Physically, he might have tremendous challenges. But spiritually, he is filled with deep joy and it shows. He smiles, laughs, pauses for a friendly word with those who approach him. What a lesson for us – joy of the spirit can impact our ability to enjoy those activities that are required of us, even if they are tiring (or tiresome).

Second, Pope Francis reaches out. During this visit to Brazil, he has spoken about “going forth,” “going out,” and not remaining still. I think this resonates from the first point: If you are filled with joy, no matter your age or physical make-up, you cannot help but reach out to the world, to others. Even if you are bedridden, or home-bound, you can reach out in prayer and other ways, too.

Third, Pope Francis prays. Several times, at different points, he has bowed his head in prayer or called for others to pray for sweeping petitions or individuals touched by tragedy.  From this very profound example, I take away the lesson that, even if we do reach out, exude joy, and participate in worldy activites (or activities in the world), we cannot forget the importance and power of prayer. It is a support and a strength at all times, especially when we are “working in the vineyard.”

Encouraging and inspiring – this visit to Rio certainly reflects God’s love and vitality. And it reminds us that age and health challenges need not be barriers. When God calls us, we go!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Illness on the Road Part Two

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of healingdream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of healingdream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’ve arrived!

You made it through the lines and long hours of travel, and now you’ve arrived at your vacation destination. How are you feeling? Exhausted? Good? Or, a combination of the two? Or, something else?

When we take our illness on the road, our experience is a bit different from that of our fellow travelers who might be more physically “able.” We need extra hours of rest, more attention to our diet and environment, and, sometimes, stretches of space and time when we can revive our drooping selves (much like a plant that’s placed in new soil).

Yes, we know we need special attention…but how do we do that when we’re surrounded by others who want to “get up and go” from dawn to dusk? Or, who believe that a vacation means all good/high energy and nothing low-key or reminiscent of the problems supposedly left behind at home?

In my previous post on “Illness on the Road,” I suggested packing all of the relaxation and prayer tools possible, along with the tangible health-related things like medications, insurance cards, etc. We need these for our own purpose, and also to manage our relationships with others as we proceed on our vacation. We have to be strong advocates, even on vacation, and understand that what we do even on vacation will impact our health well beyond. Want a good vacation? Do what is good on vacation.

Graceful advocacy, firm and gentle insistence on the rest and other things we need – these will enable vacation to be truly blessed for us, as well as others. And in allowing ourselves good things on vacation – good rest, good times, good fellowship, and good tending to our spirits and bodies – we’ll reap many benefits well into winter and on to the next vacation!

Blessings for the day – and the road!

Maureen

Illness on the Road Part One

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicVacations can be relaxing, rejuvenating, exciting, and wonderful. But when you have a chronic illness, well, vacations can be something else entirely.

As much as we wish it weren’t so, chronic illness doesn’t take a vacation. No matter how many frequent flyer miles we have, or how terrific it is to see friends and family, our aches, pains, medications, and other health baggage come with us.

As difficult as it might be to travel with an illness, good planning can help make the way a bit easier and a bit less worrisome. Here are some tips:

Talk with your doctor about the trip you’ll be making, and ask what you need to take with you, as well as what you should do should an emergency arise. Today, many docs have contacts in other cities, which can be very helpful if you need immediate, personal assistance. Also, with modern ways to communicate, your doctor might only be a call or a text away.

Make room in your luggage for what you need to take care of your health – Insurance cards, prescriptions, etc. And, make room in your schedule for rest, exercise, and the other activities that help you take care, too.

Communicate with loved ones and family in advance about any restrictions you might have – reducting sun exposure, for example, or not participating in strenuous sports, hiking, or other physical activities. Help them understand you want to spend time with them, but need to manage your health situation carefully.

Pack all of your relaxation techniques and prayers – and put them to use as you navigate highways, airport lines, and other tiring aspects of travel.

Allow yourself to look forward to the trip, even if it does mean extra work. Although illness doesn’t take a vacation, that doesn’t mean you can’t!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Too Soon? Too Late?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIn the aftermath of life crises, loss, or a new diagnosis, people often tell us “take your time.” Indeed, we need time to digest what has happened and how it will affect our lives going forward. But we might also hear, “it’s too soon…” or “don’t you think it’s time you…” and these questions, often spoken from concern and compassion, might jar us.

When is it too soon to pick up life activities? When, for example, is it too soon to begin dating when someone has lost his or her spouse?

When is it “too late” to return to a group, work, or church responsibilities?

How long does the mourning process take?

I think the important word in this question is “process.”

Getting used to a diagnosis, for example, is a process. It takes time to take in all the information we need to understand a new physical challenge, and it certainly takes time to understand all that it means to life ongoing.

Losing a loved one, too, sets us on a path, a process unfolding, as we move along. As such, it is not a smooth road, but rather one that has dips and turns and, yes, u-turns, too. Tears punctuate progress. Memories arise in the moment. It’s certainly not a comfortable, pain-free way to journey. But it’s part of the whole fabric of life and, inevitably, does lead to peace.

Only we know, individually, when it is too soon or too late, but we have to be honest with ourselves as we travel through whatever process we are experiencing. For hanging on, denying, and refusing to live as God wills for us can be present in the process, too, and these can hold us back from accepting, moving ahead, and healing.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

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