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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tio 55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by the woman’s side until she began to move. Apparently (at least to my mind), she thought traffic was clear. But the dog sensed otherwise and curled around her legs, stopping her from stepping off the curb. Just then, a car moving very fast turned the corner and sped off right in front of the woman and dog. A few seconds more, a few steps more, and the woman would have been hit.  Traffic cleared. I waited, though, for the woman and dog to make their steady way across the intersection. Only then did I breathe deeply and move on.

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We don’t have to be stunt people or circus performers to lead daring lives, do we? Driving, walking, even shopping (those heavy carts can mow you down if you’re not careful) – truly our everyday lives can be dangerous.  And for the person who is “differently abled,” our neighborhoods can be obstacle courses. Even our homes can have places of peril (how long has it been since you looked up and into that narrow cupboard above the refrigerator?)

Yet, as I saw with the woman and her dog, just because there is danger does not mean we have to sit at home in a corner and let the world carry on without us. We can take precautions, be aware of our surroundings, and know our capabilities and when to ask for help.

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And, we can trust. Trust is key.

The woman I saw knew she could trust her dog, and she obeyed his intervention when she was about to walk into the street.

Who do we trust? We might not have sight-assistance dogs, but we have One who is all-seeing all the time. We have the Lord. And if we keep our intention on listening to Him, we can sense the times when He holds us back in order to protect us so that we can move forward.

There’s a wonderful song called “Unseen Dangers” by Carol Antrum that sums it up: “If you could have seen the unseen dangers that the Lord kept you from today, you would be praising God!”

Praising indeed! And loudly!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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Someone is waiting for you

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Ian Kahn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ian Kahn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

February’s focus on Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people who are isolated because of illness and pain. For some, even if they are surrounded by family and friends, they can feel lonely because of their physical limitations, depression, or other constraints. And for those who are more physically isolated, or who haven’t had the opportunity or understanding of how to build a strong support system, being alone can be utterly devastating.

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It need not be so.

When I am most unable to reach out or have contact with people, one of the things that is very comforting is the knowledge that at any given time, there are people praying for me, people I do not know, people who are on the other side of the world. This unity of prayer is amazingly strong, but it is something we often take for granted, and those of us who do struggle sometimes with illness keeping us on the sidelines often do not even think of it as a balm, a comfort, a way.

Look upon it this way, there is always someone waiting for you to make the connection, even in silent prayer, to the great community that is people of faith. Anywhere, anytime. In any language or form. And as those prayers are lifted, yours included, even more unity is generated and we are less isolated each day.

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Another thing I try to remember is that, when someone doesn’t reach out to me, they might be waiting for me to reach out to them. Relationships are two-way. It’s not always all about us!  Even a small word, a card sent, a short call can take the sting off of loneliness.

Finally, God is always waiting for us to pray to Him and to sit in His presence. He’s one of those friends who doesn’t even need us to talk to Him. He loves us and simply likes it when we call on Him.  Yes, He’s waiting for us, too.

When you take a good look at your situation, you will find at least one person, probably more, who are in some way waiting for you to reach out.  If you can’t think of someone specific right away, turn to prayer. Lift it up to join those prayers of all our brothers and sisters in countries far and wide. There’s plenty of good room and a world of friends just waiting.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

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The dust bunnies in our lives

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of piyato/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of piyato/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Usually at the beginning of the year, I try to de-accession some of my possessions. This year, I made a very serious effort at figuring out what I had that I no longer needed that someone else could benefit from. Unlike previous years, which involved looking through closets, this time my project involved much more.

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It involved dust bunnies. Many dust bunnies. In places where I didn’t even know they could be.

At one point, I had to vacuum myself.

Where did all these dust bunnies come from? How was it that in my small corner of the world, I could have allowed them to happen? Or, are they completely removed from anything I’m doing and they just “are?”   (This last question isn’t very comforting. If the answer is, “yes,” then does that mean that, no matter how hard I try to avoid them in the future, they will still take up residence?) Does the presence of dust bunnies mean I’m not a good house-keeper? Do they mean that keeping a neat home is the ultimate in an exercise in futility? Or was there some other lesson to glean from them, something beyond the mundane?

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As I moved and cleaned and vacuumed and rearranged, I realized that I had more to give than I’d imagined. And, I thought about the other “dust bunnies” that accumulate, too. Unfinished feelings or actions that have lingered and gathered into larger-than-life balls of internal “stuff.” Or, perhaps, because of illness or pain, there are things in our lives that we thought we’d use or need, but have not and so these, too, have sat idle and gathered – dare I say it – another kind of dust bunny.

Disturbing dust bunnies is a messy thing, I discovered. But I’m glad I did it. For, as horrible as was my allergic reaction to the whole process, I discovered many things that I could give to others. I also now have clean, more open space, which has given me a lighter and brighter view of where I live.

Whether real or of a more personal kind, dust bunnies, when stirred up, are something to sneeze at. But when taken care of, what is left is, truly, a breath of fresh air.

Blessings for the day.

Maureen

 

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Willing to teach

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicA couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about how those people who are ill, infirm, or otherwise in need of care are not burdens on society but rather, they teach others to care. They also allow others to act in a loving way. Truly, caring for and about someone with illness or other chronic conditions is the embodiment of love.

But there’s a “flip side” to “we teach others to care.” No matter how willing to learn someone is, we have to be open to them, too. We have to be willing to teach – and to show care in return.

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This can be difficult, particularly if you feel frustrated or angry that you need help in the first place. So often, anger is expressed outwardly toward those whom we need most. That is, those who extend care and concern toward us. Yet, if we act out of anger in the face of extended love and compassion, we are in a real sense refusing that care. And in so doing, we’re refusing someone’s offer of acting out his or her love. Perhaps refusing to allow someone to really be Christian toward us.

It is true that it takes energy to engage with others. Even a brief, generic conversation with the store clerk might be the effort that completely saps us of the energy to do anything else. Teaching is one of those things that takes lots of patience, time and, yes, energy. But it is so worth it.

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Not only does our willingness to be patient teachers toward others help us in our daily challenges with illness and pain, it also helps “train,” in a way, caregivers to take care of others besides ourselves. For every person we appreciate, thank, encourage, and help understand, we are spreading mighty positive reinforcement – and successfully acting out our faith, too.

A hearty thanks to the students in our midst – and a just-as-hearty thanks to the teachers, too!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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