Friday, April 27, 2018

Isolation & Grief: Choosing to Trust God

Your mind can be your worst enemy, if you let it. I'm big on telling other people, "Stop with the what ifs," and then days later, mutter out, "But what if this doesn't work out?" I realized that it's coming from a place of fear and anxiety, and usually, if I'm in a good mindset, I can push away from that. If I am not spiritually in tune, then everything goes haywire. Before my mom passed away, my mind used to constantly ask, "What if she dies from this cancer? What if she doesn't make it?" I couldn't imagine my life without her -- my best friend, the only person I told my deepest soul wounds to. We had a connection like no other, and I doubt I will ever find that kind of connection ever again. And that's OK. See, I believe that we're in a spiritual warfare. Without constant communication and prayer time with God, we sort of lose that hedge of protection that only God can provide, even if it means a sense of safety. At times, I'm okay with living in this large house alone -- and I mean alone in the sense that I am here for about 10 hours alone. Most of it is working from home, and with that, came the uneasiness of isolation. I used to be such a social butterfly years ago. Not so much anymore. What I realized is -- I consciously chose this. No one forced me to isolate myself, nor did they say work from home. It was all based on my decisions in life. These days, I'd rather spurts of socializing in moderation. Although my personality is still bubbly and seemingly outgoing, I would definitely consider myself an introvert of sorts.

There's a social stigma on isolation. But nobody ever looks into the conscious choice of being isolated. They only say that it's very unhealthy not to have constant interaction with other people. But what isolation has done for me has been much different. I've gotten to study the Bible more, I also became much closer with God, realizing my true self and turn off all electronics and social media, if I want to. Even though my work calls for being online for a certain amount of time, I can 'go off the grid' for as long as I'd like to. They say that if you don't like your own company, then who do you think will? There's a lot to be said for that. During my days, I sometimes sit outside with a cup of coffee before I start working. I look over at the beautiful mountains, as the turkey hawks sore above me. I go into my prayer room and meditate on God's Word, pray and write down any messages I get from it all. My prayer and meditation time usually lasts about 2 entire hours, sometimes longer if my day isn't filled with deadlines or errands. Choosing to live a life of partial isolation is quite healthy if you DECIDE to do it for either spirituality, creativity or to calm your mind from the busyness of the world. RESISTANCE to it, is what makes it unhealthy. Resisting any circumstance in life creates suffering.

I used to resist it. In fact, when Mom died, I had my partner and her sister here for a couple of months. Madelene had taken FMLA (Family Leave of Absence) from her job and we just grieved together, but most of all, it was more healing than anything. Once Madelene had to go back to work, I was sort of lost. I felt almost abandoned on my own accord.  I didn't know what to do. I wasn't planning on returning to my work yet. I took a long time off. My mind was just blank -- as if it shut down of all creativity. However, my mind did work overtime with worry. "What if I'm all alone here and I die and nobody finds out till hours later? What if my alone time makes me crazy? What if my alone time gives me worsened depression? What if, what if, what if?" It drove me crazy. And I admit, sometimes at the end of the week, I start to get a little antsy. (Side note: when typing out "antsy" it corrected it to "nasty" and I started laughing uncontrollably. I DO get nasty if I get antsy! Ha!) So where was I? ... I then started to get panic attacks at home because I was resisting being alone. Mom wasn't here. I had no one to care for. I had no one to talk to. My purpose felt deleted in a sense. I had no one to eat dinner with. Even though our living quarters were quite a distance apart, I felt safer with her here, even though she was unable to save me from some kind of bear attack or burglary. As I worked from home, the illusion of a "safety net" brought my mind spiraling into a different place. And after her passing, the house became different. I still feel her around me, but if I'm alone in the living room where we used to hang out, I'll feel that sense of loneliness and isolation, which ultimately turns into resistance. And then I suffer. If other people are with me, like family -- that living space becomes alive again. My thoughts don't wander off into a dark corner.

My Discovery.
Ever since Mom's passing, and especially when Madelene had to go back to her long hours at work, I found peace with God. I found a place where it drew me closer to God, without interference, without worrying. I recently learned, that my resistance to my situation was creating a living hell for me. THAT in itself is unhealthy. But choosing to be alone -- choosing to work from home regardless of the lack of interaction with other people in person has given me a sense of freedom. Not only did I learn more about the Bible, even memorizing more scriptures, but it has enabled me to start my second book and to concentrate more, without the cluster mob of 'what ifs' in my mind.  I found myself changing in various ways. My TV is never on during the day. If I do have some entertainment, it's classical or praise and worship music. My entertainment are Christian sermons to encourage and uplift me while I'm working around the house. At night, I may watch a Netflix movie, but that's about it. For the most part, I prefer reading actual books -- no online ebooks ever. In fact, my Bibles will always be in paper. I will never rely on electronic Bibles or even online scriptures for that matter.  I discovered that this bitter trial in my life, losing both my parents, has made me stronger in many ways. It's made me realize that I CAN make it and that my worst fear of losing both my parents has come into fruition. I made it. I'm here. I honestly thought I would die, but I didn't. I also realized that in my weakness, God is strong. He gives me the strength to get through what I may deem impossible.

"What is impossible from the human perspective is possible with God. --Luke 18:27"

Overall Thoughts
Whatever you cannot change -- try changing your mind about it -- try looking at your situation differently. I love the serenity prayer: "Lord grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen."  Remember, suffering's root cause is the resistance of what is -- it's the resistance to your circumstances. I'm still learning this myself as I travel on this strange path -- a path without my beautiful parents, a path that's pretty much unpredictable, which is why I'm choosing to trust God.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well!