Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Life Worth Fixing November 23, 2014

There’s a simple truth I’ve come to know as an observer of people. It almost never takes as long for a person to break down as it does to recover.

The same can be said for dogs, but usually its with little unimportant things. Like tonight when I uncharacteristically tore apart a beloved member of my comfort circle. My dear Angry Bird toy is no more after I ripped it apart beyond repair. There was no good reason for it, but that’s not actually important to the story. My Comfort Circle

What is important is how long it took me to do such damage. Or maybe I should say how long it didn’t take. 45 seconds. That’s how long it took me to completely break down one of my favorite toys.

I think with people it’s frequently less than that. A lot less. Sure, it could also be longer, but regardless of how long it takes there is something I know for sure. It never takes as long for something, or someone, to completely break down as it does to put the pieces back together.

A mom goes to the grocery store for something silly she thinks she needs for a recipe on a cold, rainy night and never comes home to finish what she started. An unsuspecting person goes to a doctor for a checkup and leaves with the kind of news that no one ever wants to hear. A curious little boy burns his hands beyond repair investigating the inside of an open oven. These are things that can happen, and at a moment’s notice change absolutely everything. Not just for one person but for everyone that person knows.

Life can change in an instant, a day, or over time, but more often than not putting it back together again, moving on, starting over? These things can take time. And frequently they do. A lot of time.

But there’s a simple truth I’ve come to learn as an observer of people. You can’t rush it. Rushing the recovery process never helps the situation. Though it might not seem fair given the amount of time it takes (or doesn’t take) for life to change, I think it’s that way for a reason.

I think it’s that way because it’s worth it. It’s worth the time and effort and stress and emotional strife it takes to move on. Because it’s worth fixing. We can’t always control when life throws us a curve ball. We can control how we react to it. A life worth living is always a life worth fixing. No matter how long it takes.

 

 

Eyes on the Prize October 28, 2014

I know it’s totally my fault. I know it’s because I am not one of those four-leggers who finds pleasure in ripping my stuffed toys to shreds. I’ve done so by mistake a couple of times because I was overcome with excitement for some unknown reason, but the only feeling I had afterward was disappointment. Loss. It was too soon to lose that furry little squirrel.

I’ve spoken before about my beloved comfort circle of my favorite characters, like Mrs. Prickles and my Angry Bird. Both are cherished in my heart, and are therefore still around to tell the tale. They are not abused, but rather cared for and appreciated as best I know how.

Young at HeartSo it should be no surprise to me that my toy collection doesn’t grow too frequently. There is no need to replace anyone because they remain intact. Though this is for good reason (I’ve been known to cling to things I love), I do occasionally miss the early days in my forever home when I was showered with all kinds of new toys all the time. Just because I chose to keep my toys in good condition shouldn’t penalize me in the new toy department, should it?

I didn’t even realize I felt this way until this weekend when (alas!) my forever people returned home with a bag with something for me inside. This used to happen a lot more frequently before my little person came home, but I don’t mind. The point is that in this moment, I had a new toy. I could smell it before they even came into the house. And when they got inside, I could tell dad was probably almost as excited as I was to see it as he was to give it.

The contents of the bag were somewhat surprising, containing a plastic ball with holes everywhere, and a couple of large dental treats. Before I could snap the treat out of dad’s hands, he shoved it inside the ball and I’ll be darned if I haven’t spent the better part of the last three days trying to get it out. It smells so delicious, and a little shard I was able to chew off confirmed it is as tasty as it smells.

It didn’t take me long to realize this toy is masked. It may appear to offer instant gratification, but instead it is in it for the long haul. Just like the rest of my toy collection. I know it’s totally my fault that I don’t get new toys that frequently anymore. But today I realized that’s not such a bad thing. I do love my existing collection to pieces, partially due to the lessons they’ve taught me. I already know the lesson I am to learn from the new toy, in spite of my inherent desire to dislike it. Sometimes you have to work for the prize. It’s not always handed to you. And oftentimes these are the prizes most worth fighting for.

 

Not-So Little Luxuries September 7, 2013

It’s kind of like counting sheep. It’s my understanding people do this sometimes to calm their minds into falling asleep. This would never calm a canine mind (for obvious reasons) but my method sure does bring me peace. I count my blessings.

The list includes the obvious characters who make up daily life (like mom and dad), as well as the less obvious things (like my special spot under my favorite tree in my backyard). Today I noticed something about the list I couldn’t keep from sharing: it never seems to get shorter. Instead, it seems only to grow to include more of the obvious (and not-so-obvious) luxuries in life.

I recognize this in itself is a blessing, and yet it got me to thinking. What would happen if something fell off the list? What if one of life’s not-so-little luxuries went away for some reason? Which could I not live without?

My constant flow of healthy food and water came to mind, followed closely by their (slightly less necessary) tasty counterparts peanut butter and bacon. And Mr. and Mrs. Prickles. Losing them would be a major problem. But I know my people would never let me go hungry. And (as much as I hate to admit it) Mr. and Mrs. Prickles are indeed replaceable (exhibits A and B: Flea and Angry Bird).  My Comfort Circle of Characters

It wasn’t until later in the day I realized what ties the list together. I tend to think through these things around the same times each day. Morning and evening. Both times have something very important in common. My bed. And I’m not talking about the dog bed in the kitchen. Nor do I understand the appeal of a dog bed (which comes home smelling like a factory) compared to a people bed (which contains all of the smells of our people us dogs long to be near at all times).

My SpotIt was not an easy battle to conquer either. I took mom down first with what I fondly refer to as “the look” combined with my persuasive cuddling skills. Getting dad to agree to the arrangement was a whole other game entirely. I had to be strategic about it. And patient. Until one night (after more than two years of effort on my part) “the look” and my cuddling skills struck again.

Since then I’ve secured my spot in the bed and I will not let it go for all the dog treats in the world. It’s ridiculously comfortable. It smells heavenly. And it’s where I count my blessings at morning and at night. But the more I think about it, I suppose even the bed itself is replaceable at least to a certain extent. Because (as much as it is indeed the coziest bit of people-smelling cloud a dog could ask for) it’s so much more than a bed.

As American screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola reminds us “I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury.” I suppose I don’t need luxury either. I just need my people. It’s that simple. So as I count my blessings tonight from my perch on the bed, I give thanks not for the comfy cloud itself. Rather I give thanks for its representation of the love I have for my people, and their love for me. Ultimately I think that is the luxury I truly could not live without.