Something Always Shifts

Shards of glass rage against my vocal folds as I slowly swallow to lessen the pain. Lymph nodes appear to be working overtime as swelling and tenderness make me want to wrap a warm compress around my neck. I awoke days ago to a raw, scratchy feeling in the back of my throat. Sickness has been rampant in my house for the past month, yet still my mind works hard to tell myself it must be allergies. After all, the experts, also known as locals, have been saying that molds are particularly high in this unseasonably rainy season.

Opening the door to another rainy day, I break through the humid air and am surprised once again by the heat. I continually remind myself to override the instinct for warmer clothes, but my body remembers fall, both the coolness it brings and the warmth it brought to my soul.

I retreat to my desk in the corner of the living room, where I am perched by an inconsiderable window next to the fireplace. An antique window frame with the word “inspired” affixed to it hangs before my eyes, and I roll my eyes at the irony. In my Michigan home, an alluring picture window invited me to look beyond our four walls to the beauty of the open field surrounding our home. Here, gazing to my right, I find an old wooden fence standing fifty feet away, the only barricade between our yard and a neighbor’s pool. The contrast between the two views feels overwhelming at times.

We settled into our Michigan home on a cold and wet October day. Crimson and amber leaves camouflaged the tree-lined driveway leading to a modest farmhouse situated further back on the acreage. The surrounding fields created respite from the city noise and were the highlighted view from the majority of the windows in our home.

Storms each summer eventually ravaged many of our trees until one evening we looked out to discover our landlord dissecting the mightiest tree, our favorite, just outside the picture window. Losing that tree stripped us and left our home exposed. Suddenly, the urge to run was stronger than the commitment to stand still. Escaping, although enticing, proved to be more difficult than imagined, and the decision was made to remain for the foreseeable future.

I didn’t always love that little farmhouse. When the scenery enveloping our home shifted, I found it harder to ignore the changes happening within our home that threatened the refuge I had initially loved.

 Growing discontentment highlighted both my internal state of unrest and the loss of a haven for my weary soul.

Committed to staying in our house, however, I knew something inside of me would need to shift again, and eventually, it did.

Something always shifts.

Stopping for a moment, I attempt to take a deep refreshing breath. Although breathing feels difficult, I inhale, expanding my diaphragm and lungs. I exhale, followed by a slow release. In and out, in and out.

While breathing, I look to my right out the small window. This time, rain dances through the branches of a steady oak tree. Blades of emerald grass bow under the weight of the rain. In the distance, a stunning cardinal is perched and active on the old wooden fence, and I remind myself again, something always shifts.

Bethany Cabell, a lover of simplicity, is often inspired to write by the relationships she holds as a wife, mom, and a physical therapist. Bethany, her husband and their boys returned to life in Texas after wandering off to the Midwest for a season. What she once pictured her life to look like has forever been changed by her two sons. Navigating this messy and beautiful path of parenting two children each with their own unique challenges, she finds grace and beauty in the gift of each moment.