Passed Over!

Tonight was the second night of Passover* so I’ve had a busy couple of days…with way too much over-stimulation.

Recently, millions of grasshopper-like insects swarmed Egypt, damaging crops and wreaking agricultural havoc.

The timing of this massive infestation of locusts, just three weeks before Passover, seems positively biblical!

The story of Passover tells how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and then punished him for his stubborn refusal to let the Israelites go free. The 10 plagues were a divine demonstration of power and displeasure designed to persuade Pharaoh to allow the people to leave.

10-Plagues

This locust infestation is reminiscent of the eighth plague that struck the Egyptians in the Passover story.

It doesn’t seem fair to have punished Pharaoh – wasn’t his refusal merely a result of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart?

Yet maybe we can learn a valuable lesson from this.

Often we may think that it is impossible to break a bad habit, to kick an addiction, or to introduce a healthy practice into our lives.

We justify our behaviour by saying “it’s been so long since I [fill in the blank]…”

We feel that we are trapped by the fact that we have always done things a certain way. We don’t believe that healthy changes are even possible.

In response to this attitude, we read about the plagues and about Moses’ warnings to Pharaoh.

Yes, it is true that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. BUT, Pharaoh always had the ability to overcome his hardened heart.

This may have required a herculean effort, but it was still possible to make amends and avoid the punishments.

Pharaoh was guilty of choosing NOT to struggle. He was guilty of choosing to continue his destructive path and hide behind his past pattern of cruelty. It is that conscious choice for which he was found culpable and for which he was punished.

So, within the plagues lies a very powerful message for all of us struggling with FM.

No matter how strong or negative our feelings are, we don’t have to be trapped by them.

With the right tools, the appropriate support, and a deep resolve we CAN help ourselves (even if it takes a herculean effort!).

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* Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) commemorates the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt, which appears in the Hebrew Bible’s books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, among other texts. We start the festival with two nights of traditional meals known as seders where we retell the story of the Exodus – lots of singing, talking, and even, fighting.

Coping vs Hoping

In response to a research study I found, I wanted to ask you guys the same question – to see if our results match the study. The answers may need explanation; and you will find then below the poll.

After we have answers, I will publish a precis of the research study as compared to our answers

  • Trust in Divine Help in response to disease addresses non-organized intrinsic religiosity as an external transcendent resource to cope (i.e., trust in a higher power which carries through; strong belief that God will help; faith is a strong hold, even in hard times; pray to become healthy again; live in accordance with religious convictions).
  • Trust in Medical Help addresses patients’ reliance on an external medical source of health control (i.e., trust in the therapeutic potentials of modern medicine, take prescribed medications, follows advice of health professionals, full confidence in doctors and therapists).
  • Search for Information and Alternative Help refers to external sources providing additional information or alternative help (i.e., thoroughly informed about disease; get thorough information how to become healthy again; find people who can help; search for alternative ways of healing).
  • Conscious Way of Living addresses cognitive and behavioural strategies in terms of internal powers and virtues (i.e., healthy diet; physical fitness; living consciously; keep away harmful influences; change life to get well).
  • Positive Attitudes refers to internal cognitive and behavioural strategies (i.e., realization of shelved dreams and wishes; resolving cumbering situations of the past; take life in own hands; doing all that what pleases; positive thinking; avoiding thinking at illness).
  • Reappraisal: Illness as Chance addresses a reappraisal attitude referring to cognitive processes of life reflection (i.e., reflect on what is essential in life; illness has meaning; illness as a chance for development; appreciation of life because of illness).
  • Escape from Illness (i.e., fear what illness will bring; would like to run away from illness; when I wake up, I don’t know how to face the day”

 

Elizabeth Taylor, Me and Morality

*** NOTE: this post was supposed to be about my recent SHARE on Facebook (see below) but then I got a bit deep. ***

Looks like I insulted a whole lot of people AGAIN!

I shared a quote from Elizabeth Taylor (from the photos of Fibro News and Info) on my FB site:

In my view, the quote expresses what we, as FM sufferers have to do every day. Some days it doesn’t actually work, and we don’t actually get up, but we all try. We have to keep going. We have hurdles (they may last a day, a week, a month, etc) but we struggle to continue with our lives.

This is what I thought the quote expressed – it described our struggles; it wasn’t a direction on how to live life!

Now, how can people be insulted by that, right? Wrong!

One comment: …nice & true, EXCEPT FOR TAKING MY GOD’S NAME IN VAIN…SHOW SOME RESPECT. Please, it is a quote – I cannot change the words in the quote to suit everyone (it wouldn’t be a quote, then!). But I still posted it as I felt it expressed our daily struggle. And the phraseology really got my back up –  ‘MY GOD’ as opposed to my God or your God or any other higher being that some-one may believe in. I do not believe that Elizabeth Taylor meant for anyone to take this as a personal insult.

One message: It is absolutely uncalled for to post anything using God’s name in vain!!! I no longer have ANY respect for this page!!! It is not my quote (or even Fibro News and Info‘s quote). It is a quote by a famous individual. As I said previously, I cannot change the words in the quote to suit everyone. But I still posted it as I felt it expressed our daily struggle. Sometimes I curse and sometimes I use God’s name in vain (and I have trouble believing that there is an individual out there who has NEVER done so), and I am disappointed that a fellow FM sufferer cannot understand the need to express oneself in any way that one can.

This also leads me to think about the way different cultures understand and express themselves.

As you know, I am Australian. I think we (Aussies) tend to see ourselves as very much like Americans. That is, until it comes to cursing (we call it swearing) or using the word ‘God.’ I don’t think the use of any of the words that seem to cause a bit of a ruckus on my FB site, would make an Aussie (or even a Brit) blink an eye. (And the Americans are the ones with a constitutionally protected freedom of speech!)

It is not that we are less religious or less Christian (within the Judeo-Christian concept). Perhaps we are more accepting or realistic? Or we believe that our belief in a higher spirit (whatever you call him or her) does not come down to such minutiae? I can’t say any of this for certain but I can talk about my own beliefs…

I know that my own belief system, which stems from a Jewish upbringing, is based upon knowing there is a higher being (whether that be God, the universe or something else, I am not sure). This higher being has a plan for all of us (but this is not to say that we don’t have some power over our own futures). It is a belief in universal, not relative, morality – ultimately, I answer to this higher being, not to other people. I believe that, in general, I should try to lead a good life. A good life does not mean a perfect life as defined by the Old Testament or the New Testament or the Koran (etc. You get the idea!), or so I believe. It means treating others as you would like to be treated. It means helping others if you have the means and/or ability to do so.

I do not believe this makes me a bad Jew (or Christian or anything else).

For example, as a Jew, I am not supposed to donate my organs (who would want them?) upon my death (although as medical transplantation methods have improved, rabbinical opinions are becoming more accepting) because:

  • The needless mutilation of a body is forbidden (hence no tattoos, either);
  • Preparing a body of a Jewish donor for transplants delays the burial process and paying respect to the deceased;
  • It is forbidden to gain a benefit from a dead body; and
  • A person should be buried whole with all their body parts.

However, I have always believed that ultimately the saving of another life (or lives) by donating my organs is a much more moral choice.

Similarly, as a child and young adult, I was taught to never write the word ‘God:’ as a sign of respect, I was taught to write G-d. Now, as an adult, I have decided that the way in which I write the word does not change the way I feel towards this higher being.

I do not believe that cursing (swearing) is going to bring the wrath of this higher being down upon me. Neither do I believe that using the word ‘God’ is going to make very much of a difference to whether I live a good life or not.

But these are my beliefs – you can read about them or not but I will not be forcing them upon anyone. You have the right to your opinion but please don’t force your beliefs upon me.

The World’s Best Mother

Today is my mommy’s birthday.

In this huge world, my mother is the person who loves me most. My mother is not my whole life, but she is a really big part of it. My whole world does not only revolve around her, but she is the most influential person in my life. My mother is not just another woman. She is extraordinary.

I have known her for 41 years, 3 months, 9 days, and 22 hours; so I know her very well, and I have loved her since the day we first met.

There is a Yiddish proverb that says: God couldn’t be everywhere, so he created mothers.  My mother IS God on earth, as, when wondering what God would be like, I imagine a loving, genuine, caring person sent to look after us and our needs, just like my mother.

Since I have fallen ill, I have seen my mother shedding tears of anxiety; her hair greying further (not that anybody would notice, though); and worrying endlessly. My mother helps to feed me, clothe me, and pay my bills. My mother helps me have a place to live. My mother supports me, loves me and I love her. If it was not for mother, life would not be possible; or rather, life would be hell without her.

Through all times, bad and good she has been my inspiration and guide. All that I have learnt, I have learnt from her. I wonder what type of person I would have been if it was not for my mother.

I also wonder if anyone else (other than my brother) could ever have such a mother as mine. I am very proud of being her daughter, and I think that she is the best mother in the world.

If not for myself, then for the sake of my mother, I pray to be an adult of whom she can always be proud. Help me remain good and help me to be healthy, prosperous and happy, as this will make my mother happy. She deserves to have a fabulous daughter for all the work and devotion she has put in and will continues to do so.

I know, no matter how old I get, I will always be her child and I will always love her.

Happy Birthday, Mommy.