Tragedy in the midst of life

Memories and experiences never fade, whether they’re good or bad. You may suppress them if they’re negative but nonetheless, they are still there. 

Recently, a close friends’ grandmother passed away unexpectedly. Although the circumstances were completely different, it brought back the latest memories before and when my great-grandmother passed. Naturally my husband and I wanted to pay our respects so we went to the visitation. Admittedly, I was extremely nervous and awaiting for panic and anxiety to set in because I was not prepared for what was to come. Was it going to be an open casket? How upset were my friends going to be? What about their kids? As we waited in the line right outside the room at the funeral home, I asked Luke where our friends were in the lineup and when he said right by the casket my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. When he told me it was an open casket, he immediately tried calming me since I wear my emotions on my face and just kept reassuring me I’d be fine and not to look. 

Walking by the line of close family members near the casket without looking is harder than it sounds. I turned my head the other way until I got to her husband and provided my condolences. While I maintained my composure, we truly did not stay long. We paid our respects, talked to some of the family and our friends, and left. We didn’t leave early to be rude or because we didn’t want to socialize. We left because that was best for both of us. You see, my husband and I do not deal with funerals very well, especially me. It brings anxiety, panic attacks, memories, and traumatic experiences from the past. 

I say this to tell you it’s okay to not stay for the entire visitation. It’s okay to say no you can’t attend the funeral for personal reasons (although I would if I wasn’t working). It’s okay to tell people no and you don’t owe them a reason for saying no. I’m not great at this by any means. But I’m slowly progressing. 

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭”And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

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Stepping out of my comfort zone

Today something remarkable happened. I went to a friend’s cookout by myself knowing only the couple who invited me. For an introvert with anxiety THIS IS HUGE! I cannot tell you the last time I went somewhere alone and felt comfortable about the whole situation.

I am that quiet, shy person when you first meet me. It typically takes me awhile to warm up to someone enough that I can initiate or continue a conversation. There are people I have known for months or even years that I still cannot fully be myself around. I’m still pretty quiet at family functions. Part of all this is due to trust and part of it is due to my anxiety and introverted personality.

Today I was not that person [entirely]. I talked to people I never met. I pulled up to the cookout without the knots in my stomach and the nervousness of how awkward this could be. I busted right in and made myself feel at home. The best part? It felt great. I did wish my husband was with me and did miss him but at the same time it was a big step for me to do that on my own.

There are times that I am invited places where I find some type of excuse or reason not to go because I don’t want to be uncomfortable. There are times I have to muster up the courage to get out of my car at someone’s house or even just a business to get something taken care of. I literally have to talk myself into things sometimes because it’s the healthy thing to do. After all, how can I overcome anxiety without being brave and courageous? Small steps and Jesus is all it takes.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6