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.

 

A Snow Globe Life December 17, 2013

At first I thought for sure it was the snowflakes. It snowed again yesterday and I found myself in awe of the glittery magic all around me. It was like being in a snow globe. The flakes fell from the sky so peacefully. Once they lay to rest, they create a blanket of sparkling diamonds in my backyard paradise. So I thought maybe if I could collect anything in the world it would be snowflakes.

But today as the snow melted ever so slightly I realized how silly that would be. There are no lasting remnants of the snow after it’s gone. By summertime it’s like it never even existed. That is, until winter rolls around again and brings with it the frozen particles of joy.

So maybe if I could collect anything, I would collect toys. In all of their various shapes, colors and sizes, they are vessels of happiness for me. And, as demonstrated by my impressive skills in the games of pickle in the middle and tug of war, they often bring happiness to my people as well. I refer to my current collection as my comfort circle, which contains about a dozen different characters. But that’s enough to overflow an entire basket in the living room. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe I don’t need more.

ContentmentMaybe I don’t need more. This is not to say anything against collections of things, but I realized today there is strength in accepting what we have been blessed with in life. In being grateful for it. Because ultimately it’s not the things we collect that matter. It’s the details. It’s the moments.

As breathtaking as a fresh snow globe perspective can be, it’s not so much the snowflakes as the joy they bring that I hold close to my heart. Its the moments I share with mom and dad playing around in the aftermath of a big snowstorm. In the extra attention I get when we come inside from playing together and I need to get all cleaned off. In the cuddles we enjoy together to warm up.

The same goes for the toys. It’s not so much about having dozens of characters in my comfort circle as it is about making the moments with the ones I have mean something. And whether it’s just me and Mrs. Prickles, or my people are involved, I am blessed.

Perhaps that’s the bigger lesson I was to take from my observation of my snow globe life yesterday. Sure, the snowflakes are a sight to be seen. And my toys are deeply loved and appreciated. If I could collect anything, it wouldn’t be these things. It would be moments. Because they have something very important in common. Joy. From the ground up, it’s not the things that bring the joy. It’s in the moments joy is present that we truly live.