Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Spring will come

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A dear friend of mine who also suffers from severe lupus is not a believer. Nevertheless, we share a very profound sense of faith that’s summed up by saying, “Spring will come.”

Of course, from my perspective, the phrase relates to knowing that suffering leads to grace and joy and that Our Lord’s trial on the cross resulted in the Resurrection and our eternal salvation.

From my friend’s perspective, the phrase relates to the knowledge that, no matter how long winter might be – or how deep the suffering, the seasons follow one after another. After night, the sun can be counted on to rise. After brutal cold, warmth will arrive.

With respect for our differences , my friend and I can gain much support from one another. The basis of the support is positive, refreshing, and certainly a help when we sag a bit or a lot in spirit “of a day,” during the worst of flares. I feel no resistance when I witness to my faith, and I can totally agree with my friend’s assessment of the natural world and its relation to spiritual truths.

Much of the US is covered in snow or ice or some other precipitation. In California, drought has rendered much of the flora brittle and brown. But peeping through the snow, or rustling within dry branches, are hints. Hints of the beauty to come. Hints of spring.

As is true with our chronic illnesses and pain, much of the trajectory of flares is out of our control and in God’s hands. And so it is with winter, the coldest of seasons. We cannot control how long it will last (groundhog prognostications notwithstanding). But we can be assured. Yes, we can.

We can know that spring will come. And I, for one, have my eyes peeled for those first signs of blessed thaw!

Blessings for the day,
Maureen

 

Never Enough

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIf you’re sick, in pain, and low, you might have heard yourself say, “I don’t have enough support.” or, “I don’t have enough money to get the care that I need.” or, even, “I don’t have enough energy/mobility/resources/hope to feel better.”

At times, I’ve said similar things myself. Seems like, for example, one flare subsides and another begins, bringing added expenses, doctor’s visits, tests, and other things to get me off “track.” Or, as I hear of really fun or interesting things happening around me, I feel a bit left out because I don’t have enough energy to take advantage of them.

Yup, at one time or another – actually, many times – there’s “never enough.”

But, as I’ve come to learn, if we view the proverbial glass as being half empty, there never will be enough. So, is there any point to lamenting the lack of what we probably have no chance of obtaining?

Put another way, if we spend our precious time and energy bemoaning all the things we do not have, how can we expect to make a good life, a positive life, out of the things we do?

One of the things that helps me lessen the sting of wishing life were otherwise is the knowledge that, no matter what, God has a plan. And, as He is God and I’m merely human, how can I argue with or wish it were otherwise?

Another help is to not look ahead or farther around to see what else life could be, but rather to focus on now. Here. The life at hand. The energy I have now. The resources available to me. For, if I don’t appreciate what I currently have, I’ll be unable to appreciate anything more, if it ever comes my way.

A heart of gratitude is uplifting, strong, and witnesses to faith no matter what circumstances that heart is beating in and through. So, focusing on that, on giving thanks for what is helps to lead us to lives that are all they can be and, God willing, perhaps even more.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

One, Brief Window?

posted by mpratt
Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The weight of pain and illness, and the limitations these bring to daily life, can become excruciating, oppressive. But beneath the heavy burden of physical challenges is, often, a glimmer of light. Even if the door to wholeness and health doesn’t open for us, won’t there be a window? One, brief window leading to freedom, feeling fit, and more ease than anxiety?

The short answer to this question is, “yes.” Inevitably, there is a time when we’re hurting less than usual, or when a new approach in treatment or change in meds offers more hope than hurt. Even in the darkest of situations, there is the possibility of a lifted spirit through the presence of God and the Holy Spirit working within us. And there is, too, the experience of others in similar circumstances that can lead us by the hand, teach us, and help us to understand that life does contain joy, humor, and warmth-giving light.

The trick is, of course, how well we prepare ourselves to recognize and take advantage of the window when it occurs. For, sometimes, stubbornness or denial can cloud our vision and make us impervious to the moments when they come before us. If we’re sure that life will never be better, we can be assured that we’ll be immune to an uplift, an open window, when it comes.

Faith is a powerful weapon against denial, for if we believe, we cannot deny the presence and existence of that which we cannot immediately see. It’s with this in mind that we can face each day and night and, like the brides’ maids of Scripture, keep our candles lit and our souls awake so that, when the window opens, we won’t miss a thing.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Hearing and Listening

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic“He just didn’t listen to the doctor,” she said to the paramedic as he opened the ambulance door. “He went out there and shoveled that snow anyway.”

“I heard the doctor,” he said, lifting his head from the stretcher. “But who else is going to shovel it? The squirrels?”

“I could have done it,” she said.

“No,” he replied. “I always shovel the driveway.”

“Hearing” and “listening” play interesting roles in the lives of people who live with chronic health conditions. From the day of diagnosis, many people, especially those with serious illnesses, might sit in a doctor’s office, hearing what he or she is saying, but not really “listen,” that is, take all the information in and act upon or believe/accept it all.  Sometimes, it helps to have a loved one sit in on the appointments; he or she might be able to “hear and listen to” everything with a more objective ear. But, even so, often it takes a long time before all of the information “sinks in.”

Why is that?

Perhaps it has something to do with our internal optimism. “Things can’t/aren’t really that bad.” “The doctor is just trying to scare me.” “I don’t feel as bad as the doctor is saying.”

In my book “Peace in the Storm,” I talk about denial, that part of us that doesn’t want to believe we’re really sick. And, how denial doesn’t fall away all at once, but rather is peeled away layer by layer, much like an onion and with the same effects as the onion, causing us to weep a little every time a layer goes and the more pungent, “real” onion is exposed.

How do we handle this seesawing between “hearing” and “listening?” And how do we make sure we do what’s most healthy, despite our denial?

In our most vulnerable, we gain great support from our loved ones. They care, and in their caring, they can help us see truth even before we accept it. And, too, we can spend more time in prayer. Asking God for the ears to hear AND the heart to listen is a powerful way to open ourselves to what will be most true and most healthful.

We’re human. We’ll be in denial at times. But we’ll also be in good stead when we turn to God and our loved ones to help us more fully hear and truly listen.

Blessings for the day.

Maureen

Previous Posts

Hallelujah!!!
Well, praise the Lord in highest heaven, He is Risen! I hope you and your loved ones and church communities are enjoying a splendid Easter, with lots of love, light, and l

posted 11:26:01pm Apr. 19, 2014 | read full post »

The Way and the Weight of Your Cross
Many times during Holy Week, I think about the way and the weight of the cross that Jesus bore to Calvary. Not only was it a monstrous thing - heavy and cumbersome. But Our Lor

posted 1:39:34am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Sharing a Meal
Passover and Holy Week's commemoration of the Last Supper make me think about how we prepare meals today, and how different it was in Jesus' time. For one thing, the obvious: There

posted 1:43:45am Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer for Centering in Holy Week
Lord, you are all great, all good, and I love you. But I am feeling pulled by cares, noise, and the ways of a worldly world. This week, of all times, please help me to center my th

posted 1:13:42am Apr. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Is It Christian to Take Care of Yourself before Others?
We are fast approaching the most profoundly Christian time of the year, Holy Week and Easter, during which we will hear again about Jesus' ultimate sacrifice, death on the cross, which redeemed us, washing away our sin and opening up for us life everlasting. What an amazing love! What an amazingly s

posted 1:36:34am Apr. 11, 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.