Take the Time to Find Helpful Practices

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by Joe MacDonald |

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This week marks a change of seasons in the life of the church. With Ash Wednesday, Christians worldwide enter a time of Lent, a season of 40 days before Easter, to contemplate and discover the story of hope and how we find deliverance from the darkest parts of our nature. Our faith journey invites us to reflect on the purity of love and how that presence illuminates our hearts and minds. We receive an invitation into the sacred, the holy.

I find it rather odd that many look forward to a particular time of year to reflect on profound issues. For those of us in the hemophilia world, the time for discernment is ongoing. During internal bleeding episodes, we receive information about appropriate medical treatment and long-term care and management. Our struggle to find our way through the darkness of chronic illness is part of our DNA.

We do not have the good fortune of limiting our search to a season. For us, internal examination occurs every day.

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This season, I want to become a better father to my sons. I want them to see the love I have for them in my eyes, not just for a short period, but for the rest of their lives. Maybe Lent can serve as a time to remind my mighty boys that I love them with my whole heart, and to relax, just for a little while.

Through the season, I may take moments to practice spiritual disciplines to renew my spirit. Finding time for meditative reflection helps calm the heart, allowing me to restore balance when confronted with the chaos of managing bleeds. Finding pockets of calm helps me remain at peace when the weight of the world overwhelms me. Sometimes, all I need is a second or two to withdraw from the situation and find my center.

The most important thing I must remember is to put my spiritual practices into action. When confronted with a stressful situation, I prove more successful when I reach into my emotional toolbox and use familiar coping strategies that I’ve learned and practiced. To think that I can call to mind a practice that I don’t know very well only sets me up for failure.

And finally, the last thing I do is share what I learn with my boys. I make their lives better by equipping them with methods that have proven helpful. Because I did my work, my boys are not starting with an empty toolbox.

My goal is to equip them to succeed in every aspect of their lives, including emotional, physical, and spiritual practices. For example, investing in stress management during a rough bleeding episode empowers them to take ownership of their bleeding disorders. Only when they realize that they are capable of managing their medical issues can they move out in the world with absolute authority in their own lives.

I hope this time of inward reflection may move me to a place where I may serve as a better parent, advocate, and lifetime cheerleader for my mighty sons. Reflection helps us build a solid foundation on which to live. So this Lent, take a moment to fearlessly look at the places where despair can turn to hope, chaos to peace, and confusion to perfect love.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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