Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: Our Bread and Wine

posted by mpratt

Image courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sharing a meal with friends is a wonderful way to build fellowship, feel part of a social circle, and live wonderful occasions of love and care. For some, however, eating poses certain problems that might be mechanical (an esophagus that does not work properly, for example), allergy-driven (gluten intollerance or other dietary allergies or sensitivities), or otherwise tied to health issues (medication that causes dietary restrictions, for example, or disease-related constraints from, say, diabetes).

Those of us who do have “eating issues” can creatively adapt our particular restrictions to enable us to attend and participate in events that have meaning for us – lunch with friends, holiday gatherings, and religious observations, such as that on Holy Thursday. Of course, we first must consult with our medical team, carefully asking questions and understanding the answers for our specific medical situations. Next, we make arrangements for what we need to do (request specific dietary accommodations, for example).

Then, I think, one of the most important things is to focus on the spirit of the gathering above all, especially if there is part of it we cannot directly participate in. For example, those who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease might not be able to partake of the host at Eucharist. But this does not mean that they cannot understand, embrace, and affirm the Sacrament, and be present in prayer. Similarly, a person with diabetes might not be able to eat the cake and ice cream at a birthday or anniversary celebration, but he or she can sing along and celebrate with those gathered – and feel a deep bond among loved ones without jeopardizing health.

Sometimes, those of us with serious illness feel very restricted in social and other settings. But, it isn’t the particular food or drink that matters, but the spirit, the meaning of the events, religious and otherwise, that are the underpinnings of “why” and “how.”

I think of this especially on a day like today, Holy Thursday, when Jesus gave us the Eucharist. Whether the bread was whole wheat, rye, or sourdough does not matter, nor does the vintage of the wine. What matters is the meaning, miracle and love in and through it all, which is for us all, whatever our health situations might be.

 

Blessings for the Day,

Maureen

Moments of “Holy” in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lent is almost over, and soon we will be raising our voices to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and a renewed sense of faith and optimism. In these last days of Lent 2013, I find myself doubling up my efforts to keep this time as holy as possible; after all, we are in “Holy Week.” But it’s hard to ignore the bunnies and chocolate, the spring and Easter sales, and the pent-up energy that is fast-approaching spring fever, even for those who are buried under more than a foot of newly fallen snow!

How, then, to keep this week in perspective with the events to occur Thursday, Friday and this weekend?

It could be hard to devote long stretches of time to prayer and reflection, especially as this is, for many, an abbreviated school and work week with much to “pack in” to Mon-Wed. So, I think and try to act in moments. Moments of looking up from the keyboard (as I did just before typing this sentence). Moments of reading a passage or two from one of the gospels (Matthew is my preference these days). Moments of listening – to the wind, to a praiseful song, to the stillness in the world (a blessing midday in the city!).

More moments is better than no time focused on the holiness in this week. In these snips and pieces of hours, we prepare for the events we commemorate later this week, and the powerful emotions that accompany them. And in this preparation, we become more wholey holy – for nothing we do to deepen our spirituality ever goes to waste.

 

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Palm Sunday for Us

posted by mpratt

In the Catholic Church, Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, and the gospel reading is about the Lord’s arrest, crucifixion and death on the cross. It is hard to hear about how Jesus suffered, and even harder to imagine someone so dedicated to love being so reviled. But it is also amazing to hear of Jesus’ grace, even tenderness, as he made his painful way to Calvary. He made sure that Mary, his mother, would be taken care of. He forgave those who brought him to his death. And he forgave one of those who also hung on a cross that day. Jesus never stopped his ministry, not even in his last moments!

This always brings me to how I live my life. It’s sometimes so easy to say, “I’m too tired,” or “I can’t do another thing.” To be sure, we have to carefully budget our activities and time so that we do not go into worse flares, aggravate symptoms, or render ourselves useless to what truly needs to be done.  But to stop trying to shine with Christ’s light, to stop witnessing where we can, to stop “taking care of business,” indeed to stop being who we are as God’s children, well, it’s just not us. We’re made for better things than “can’t” and “won’t.”

Yes, we have to be careful. Yes, we have to work with our doctors and do what is most healthful. But, also, yes, we have the example of Jesus to show that, even under tremendous external difficult, we can find ways both large and small to carry out our ministry – to Calvary and beyond.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Pain and Downward Dog: Yoga in All of Us

posted by mpratt

Image courtesy of Maggie Smith/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, I was rounding a corner to home after a morning of errands. My head was full of the rest of the day’s “to do” list. I was hurting, and the idea of a nap did flit through my head. But it was crowded out by all the other things, important things (or so I thought) that I should/could/would be doing instead. And then, I rounded the last corner and all those ideas sort of settled to the bottom of the pile like big, fat,melting snowflakes. There in the hallway was my neighbor’s mahogany-coated dog, sprawled and snoozing in a bright shaft of early afternoon sun. He looked relaxed and blissful, and he didn’t move a muscle as I looked, smiled, and opened my front door.

Clearly, he had his priorities straight. What is chasing a ball or sniffing around a parking meter or fussing over a neighbor if you can doze in a perfectly fine patch of sun that would soon have moved out of nap-shot?

The sight of that serene hound reorganized my priorities, too. Laundry could wait. So could myriad other things. But the need to relax and take advantage of a stretch of time to rest and revive? Well, there was no time like the present – and still is!

I know it’s important to know ourselves when we live with illness and pain. And I know we have to work with our medical team, too. But sometimes, we find important cues elsewhere, especially in nature. And sometimes, they are right outside our front door.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

Previous Posts

Chronic Pain: Lost and Found
Somewhere, amid the pain and the frustration we feel over lost health and today's health trials, there are bright, uplifting memories we've lost track of, times when life was easier or days when we heard and enjoyed laughter, did good things and had good times. There are people and places that broug

posted 1:10:19am Aug. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Embracing smooth sailing!
Like the calm before the storm, or the comfort before the next flare, the period of relatively "smooth sailing" can be a bit nerve-wracking. We know that "chronic" means ongoing, and have had flares rise up unexpectedly in the past. So, a period of quiet, when the illness is not so active, might mak

posted 8:03:03pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: What if you missed Tuesday?
If you have a chronic illness or live with serious pain, you know that sometimes, you "miss" a day or two in the week. It's too hard to get out of bed. You are going through medical tests, and the outside world seems to disappear into the technicality of prep and procedure. You're brain-fogged, and

posted 1:56:46am Aug. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: If You Were Not You
One of the techniques I try to use whenever I'm in a quandry over something regarding my health is to ask, "What if I were not me? What if I were my mother? My sister? My friend? What would I say? Do? Pray over?" This helps me take the sometimes-frustrated or "at sea" me out of the conversation a

posted 1:47:51am Aug. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Prayer for Grace-full Aging
Whether your day has passed or is coming up, we all will age one more year this year and onward. We cannot turn back the clock, but we can turn on grace as we move ahead. Her

posted 1:30:27am Aug. 21, 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.