If It Makes You Happy

A 5:30 a.m. alarm abruptly disrupts my sleep. Startled by the familiar song, I roll over to stop the annoyance. Picking up my phone to turn off my weekday alarm, I orient myself to the day and the time. My morning motivation has disappeared, and I lie in bed for as long as I can.

Some mornings, I lie there for an hour before dragging my weary body out from under my fluffy white duvet. Regrettably, an hour and a half to get ready for the day shrinks into a skimpy thirty minutes. Stepping into the shower, I wipe the sleep from my eyes and quickly wash, then condition my hair, followed by my face and body.

There seems to be little reason to dry my hair or apply makeup, other than to brighten my eyes. I know that the moment I walk out of the office to see patients, my hair will be pulled back and my face will covered by masks and a protective face shield.

Regretting the additional time I lay in bed, I scramble around, getting dressed, making coffee, breakfast, and lunch before rushing out the door. Day after day, a similar scenario plays out in my home as I swirl off to work, promising myself tomorrow will be different.

Disposable gowns, gloves, hair and shoe covers, and sweat cling tightly to my body. Observations, vital signs, productivity, and treatment sessions invade my mind. Stories, tears, frustration, and loss penetrate my heart, and at the end of the work day my mind, body, and heart are weakened.

What do I do with my depleted self? Shame begs me to answer what I have done with my depleted self, but my response is an honest question. What will I do with my depleted self?

Will I choose to do the things that generate happiness?

What makes me laugh? Who causes me to smile? Where am I having fun? What tastes yummy? What feels good to my body? Where do I enjoy spending my time? What makes me wild?

Admittedly, my life has been brimming with hard things. I imagine this is the case for many of us. My tendency is to talk about the hard—truthfully, frequently, and transparently. But what if I started sharing the easy things, the ones that cause my heart to feel alive? I wonder what impact that might have on me and those around me.

Would getting out of bed each morning become a little easier?  My days, although challenging, could potentially become lighthearted and gratifying. Would my mind possibly be able to operate unencumbered, and my heart be filled with delight?

Could it be that my happiness has been eclipsed by my propensity to focus on engaging with and conquering the hard things? Allowing myself to rest has been necessary and will continue to be. Rest, however, does not replenish me. It’s time to restore some happiness into this life and that restoration, whether easy or hard, is something I am eager to do.

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.