Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Defeated Day October 8, 2014

It’s one of those things I sometimes wish didn’t happen. At least to me, or anyone close to me. But alas, life goes on and these things do happen. I’ve said before I do believe momma said there would be days like this. Days when, sometimes for no reason at all, everything goes wrong. The proverbial thunderstorm clouds in and makes its presence known in every facet of one’s daily existence. I’ve also said I believe these days happen for a reason.

Life's Big QuestionsI’m not so sure today was one of those days. I know it might come as a surprise for your resident doggie optimist to admit defeat, but I think today is a day to give in to the negativity. To go to bed because soon it will be tomorrow.

I can’t explain it. The last few days, something has been up with my forever people. Mom hasn’t been feeling well, which makes dad worried and tense. Meanwhile, dear baby Carter is his babbling joyful self, but even his smiles couldn’t break the sense of defeat around here today. I don’t think there is anything in particular going on, but rather the sum of the parts that brought us down.

But is my undying optimism in a way a cloak to hide behind? Is the silver lining really found in any situation? Today made me contemplate these questions, as I pondered my whole philosophy on life.

Because it truly is one of those things I sometimes wish didn’t happen. Certainly not to anyone close to me, if possible. But alas, these days do happen and sometimes I don’t think they can be salvaged. I think I made peace with that today. I think today I confronted the truth that sometimes things really are tough. Situations are challenging. Days are terrible, sometimes for no particular reason at all. And that’s okay.

I think there is strength in admitting that we will not win every battle, nor face every day with a smile on our face. It’s liberating almost. Except that I can’t let it go there. (Don’t you know me at all?) Even though the day itself doesn’t have a happy ending (and that is not the end of the world), tomorrow is a new beginning. A fresh start. A new day. I’m okay with that.

 

Defeat Meets Victory December 9, 2013

I looked into the eyes of evil today. It wasn’t pretty. There I was, face to face, nose to nose, with my arch nemesis otherwise known as Demon Dog. I could feel his breath on my face as his terrifying bark tore through the air. Worst of all, I could see the look in his eyes. It chilled me to my core. (Or maybe that was the frigid -10 degree wind chill).

What do you think?I’m not sure how it happened actually. One minute I was on my lead (which generally separates us by at least 20 feet) and the next I was not. So I seized the opportunity and ran myself right back to that fence. I don’t know what took over me. It’s like I lost all sense of self control. I shamelessly ignored the voices in my heart that cautioned me to stay. Instead I got close. I looked danger in the eye and gave it a good talking to.

It lasted only about as long as it took dad to run barefoot through the snow to grab me and haul me back inside. Boy was I in trouble. Not just because dad and mom were upset with me for putting myself in danger like that, but because I have what I have determined to be a pretty serious problem. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

I realized it tonight as I saw the darkness in those eyes. I got up close and personal with evil and I didn’t like what I saw. Defeat. On both our parts. On his, from whatever made him into such a monster. Everyone has a story and I’ve wanted nothing more than to give him the benefit of the doubt. And on mine, because I realized I don’t think I can save him. Your resident doggie optimist is throwing in the proverbial optimistic towel on this one.

And I don’t like it. Not one bit. I don’t give up – it’s not in my nature. I see the good in all people, places and things. I find the silver lining. But sometimes there is maturity in recognizing there are some things we simply cannot control. Some problems can’t be fixed. I find peace in knowing this itself is the silver lining.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures,” suggested American literary critic and poet George Edward Woodbury. “Not to have tried is the true failure.” I tried. That’s what matters. In this case my defeat can be my victory.

 

I’m Sorry Now August 19, 2013

I don’t know what mom expected me to do. There we were, relaxing in the hammock together on a beautiful Sunday evening. She was reading and I was cuddled up against her sniffing the air. All was well with the world. That is, until I ruined the moment.

Smelling the AirThere they were, playing and climbing one of the very same trees to which the hammock was attached. The family of squirrels who live in my backyard (and frequently taunt me from their place of safety outside the reach of my lead) simply could not go unnoticed. So I did what any dog would do. I attacked. I bounded out of the hammock in what can only be described as another one of my ill-fated attempts to take flight into the tree. The way I saw it my odds were much better than usual because I was already a few feet off the ground from my place in the hammock.

But mom didn’t see it that way. After she rounded me up from my failed attempt to show those squirrels who’s boss, I saw the physical and emotional aftermath of my escape from solitude. My dramatic exit made her spill her water all over herself, her book and her (not-so-Smart)phone. Fortunately no one was harmed in the making of this story, but I know I ultimately ruined our otherwise peaceful time. I'm Sorry Now

And (while I am tempted to argue that I only did what is in my nature and it was really actually the squirrel family’s fault for trespassing) I was immediately sorry for the apparent devastation I’d caused when I saw the pathetically defeated look on mom’s face. Any and all reasons aside, I found myself in quite the quandary. I don’t know what she expected me to do. Certainly the squirrels could not be ignored.

That’s when it hit me. Sometimes what’s in our nature gets us in trouble. It happens to the best of us, and innocent people get hurt in the process. It reminds me a little of a story I’ve heard mom recalling about her and her younger sister when they were little people. Whenever mom’s little sister did something naughty, she would say “I’m sorry now” in the cutest and most sincere voice imaginable. How can you not forgive that?

Therein lies the moral of my flying hammock dog story. Sometimes it doesn’t matter why we do what we do. If innocent people are hurt in the process there is only one way to make it right. They just need to hear it. I’m sorry now. And since us canines can’t say it, we find ways to show it. So I may have ruined my peaceful moment with mom in the hammock. But I made it up to her with lots of love and cuddles and it was like it never even happened.