Friday, April 22, 2016

Comfort for the ill and their caregivers

This is not a new book, but it's a valuable one for those who are ill, and their caregivers. Morehouse Publishing/cpi and Mary C. Earle have given us Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness. The Psalms are left out of the title so I'll tell you that each of the 30 days and an Afterword begin with a quote from one of the Psalms. Earle had long used and learned parts of the Psalms in her own prayers and they are perfect here.

It's a small book, meant to fit in a pocket or purse, consisting of three parts for each of 30-days. Each page is carefully put together with a line or two from a Psalm, a short meditation, and something interesting called "Practices." Yes, she is practical and the parts fit together, encouraging readers to read and use each part, but slowly, thoughtfully, prayerfully. No hurry and plenty of thinking time.

Those who read and respond may be either the one who is ill or the caregiver. Perhaps they will both appreciate the words on certain days, certain pages, and will take turns reading and thinking and talking and  practicing in response. They may not be aware of the power in prayers found in the Psalms. They may not be used to sitting quietly and listening or reading a meditation about the love and wisdom God shares with his people. They may be surprised that a practice is offered as a way of  responding to the Psalm verse and the meditation.

Earle suggests that one practice might be writing down questions asked after becoming ill. Choose a question and write it down with a prayer to God. Leave it with him as you think of what has happened in your illness. Notice feelings, memories, perhaps growth in acceptance. Close and comfort yourself or your caregiver with a "simple prayer of thanksgiving." Or, caregiver may offer a prayer as comfort for one who is ill. Caregivers and patients both, could find Days of Grace helpful.

Lois Sibley, ireviewreligiousbks