Thoughts from isolation

Understanding the stages of grief is a start. But whenever I talk about the stages of grief, I have to remind people that the stages aren’t linear and may not happen in this order. It’s not a map but it provides some scaffolding for this unknown world. There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities [delaying the adoption of my youngest daughter]. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.

Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance. I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually. – Scott Berinato, That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief

It’s our third week of social distancing. Things have changed. We learned to cope. We’ve adapted I’d say. My turning point was getting a delivery of fresh fruit a few days ago. Because we already knew how to ration food or cook for a weeks from the pantry without any additional shopping trips.

I sleep pretty well. What a blessing that is! And I feel more and more rested. Our daily routine hasn’t changed much – because it was comfortably steady – because we have a kid that thrives due to routine.

I’m letting go of things I can’t change. Though the first week I kept very busy – we all have in my family. We raked an abandoned garden (apple and plum orchard to be precise), we trimmed the trees, pulled out roots, burned the trimmings – all that after we acquired quite the lineup of gardening tools.

A few days ago I finally started quieting my mind. It had been racing so much that I couldn’t settle enough to focus on reading any good book. Even watching a favorite show was too much for my agitated brain.

I went to bed and woke up with one particular thought, a prayer if you’d like: “What do you want to teach me these days?”

Prior to that I was trying to persuade God with my mind’s fervent request to bring our youngest daughter home for good. But that prayer didn’t fly.

We want Ivy home. But I can’t dwell on what I don’t have or can’t have right now. I’ve already given that to God. And I was reminded that He was always in control on this matter of adoption.

This morning I was also reminded of this fact “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”.

Often times our thinking and our emotions form a vicious cycle, feeding off of each other. Stepping away mentally, quieting our inner being, allowing ourselves to feel peace, accepting the present as is could free us from self-induced pain.

I’m reading again “The power of the present” and from where I’m sitting now, with a whole world in isolation, it become clear that we create pain in the present when we hold on to the past, or the future, and we don’t accept or we resist to what currently exists.

But what if the present is unacceptable or unpleasant or terrible?

The present is what it is. Let’s observe the way our mind labels it and how this labeling process, this judging, this analyzing causes us pain. As we observe the mechanisms of our mind, if we exit these patterns of resistance, then we’ll permit the present moment to exist.

If we accept the present as if we chose it, and we work with it, time becomes relative. Yes, we have been waiting for two years to meet our youngest daughter and yes we still have to wait till she comes home for good… but this quarantine can’t steal my peace and my joy for the present time. We can have peace that surpasses all understanding – despite our circumstances. And I attribute this amazing gift to God.