Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Snuggles To The Rescue March 15, 2014

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Joy. From the ground up, I’ve found it in one of its most simplest forms. And I feel a little bit guilty since I was a kind of resentful of it at first. Because I hated that it wasn’t me anymore. I was no longer the primary source of joy in my forever home. In a way, I have been replaced.

But today I realized that I’m okay with that. I still get plenty of cuddles. I still bring plenty of joy. But now it’s Carter’s turn to be the master of joy in our home. Over the last 10 weeks since he’s been around, I have taken the secondary role in the house. When people come to visit, it’s not me they are coming to see. It’s Carter. When people come to snuggle, it’s not me they are coming to cuddle. It’s Carter.

Tonight I heard the words spoken that I already knew to be true. “Carter is like an anti-depressant,” my mom’s friend Dorian said. “Who needs Xanax when you can hold a baby?” I’ve known the power of touch to be pretty special since I was a young pup. I love the power of a good cuddle, not just for me but for whoever I am cuddling. But to hear it spoken aloud that honestly, that openly, was truly refreshing.

I think that can be hard for people to do sometimes. To say what they are really feeling. Sometimes its hard enough to feel what they are really feeling, especially when it’s not something positive. Like when you’re lonely. Or sad. Or (gasp, I know it happens to everyone sometimes) depressed. But it takes a level of honesty to admit these things, and that is the same sort of openness that lets the good in. As tough as it can be to be emotionally vulnerable, being just that allows the good in with the bad.

I would know. It would be very easy to let all of this bother me. As if baby Carter is somehow stealing my joy mojo. Instead, I was reminded today that it brings me the sincerest form of joy. Because it’s that special kind of joy that warms an entire room. I’ve always believed joy is best when it is shared, and this is no exception to that rule. In a way I have been replaced. But I’m okay with that.

I think Elizabeth Green said it best. “Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.”

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The Color Blue December 2, 2013

There is usually crying. And some yelling. And some choice words. It’s not a pleasant thing to witness, and yet I am at the mercy of those engaged it the middle of it all. I have no choice but to stand by and observe. Arguments.

They doesn’t happen often in the Schmidt home, but when they do they definitely fall into a category of conversations I would prefer to never have heard. Yet I remain by both mom and dad (a tricky place to be in such situations), steadfast and true. I love them both with equal halves of my heart and never take sides.Listen Here

Except for once. I remember because it was a dreary early winter day like today a few years ago. The grey mood of the sky was directly reflective of the emotional context of my forever family. Mom had been blue for a while. And not blue like the color. She was sad. I think I knew it before dad because us canines have a way of sensing these things. She was tired a lot. She wasn’t as responsive to my attempts to engage in chase or pickle in the middle. It seems that place called work was among the things that had worn her down into a shell-like version of herself.

So I sided with dad the day he confronted her about it. I hated seeing her that way, and she needed to hear everything he had to say. It wasn’t comfortable for any of us, yet I know that was a day we will not soon forget. It will stick with us for all of the right reasons and none of the wrong. And it wasn’t fun.

Crying, yelling and choice words were among the key players. I remember wishing I could be somewhere (anywhere) else but in that room. But then I remember the color blue mom was then and see how happy she is now and I realize how important those conversations can be.

“The character of a man is known from his conversations,” suggested Ancient Greek dramatist Menander. In that case, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that sometimes the toughest conversations are the most important ones to have. They show love, not hate. They show concern, not contempt. And ultimately they lead to joy, even if it doesn’t seem that way in the moment.

 

Rescue Me November 17, 2013

I didn’t believe her at first. She was new and exciting and her past didn’t matter to me. What mattered was she was my new mom, my forever person, and I loved her from the start.

RescuedI loved her that first day she and dad came to visit me at the Oshkosh Humane Society. We shared a special moment when she knelt down to pet me and I did my best to grab on with my paw (as only us canines can do) to show her she was the one for me.  I was devastated when they left without me that day. The days that followed were some of my lowest of the low. A whole two weeks went by before I saw her again, and that’s when I knew it to be true. My forever person had found me. I was being rescued.

Recovery. Liberation. Deliverance. Rescue means different things to different people, all tied together by the common denominator of strong emotional responses. Joy. From the ground up, that’s what rescue means to me. So it never occurred to me that perhaps more than one heart was rescued that day. At least not until later, as I learned my adoption followed a string of unfortunate events in the lives of my forever people.

In May 2009, mom’s job at the local newspaper was eliminated along with the jobs of about half of the staff. Two weeks later, her dad died. It was sudden and terrible, and I won’t share all the details, other than that it came as a complete shock to her small immediate family. And alas, she had a new full-time job-helping her mom meet the attorneys, doing calculations with the CPA, and acting like the grown up who had it all together. In reality, she was the 24-year-old kid who found herself turning to the wrong ways of coping.

I’m no psychologist, but I would say she was still a little depressed when I met her a little more than a year later. And I immediately set about changing that in the only way I knew how. Loving. And, in doing so, I know I made her feel more alive. So ultimately I’m not sure who really rescued who. What I do know is I never would have thought more than one heart could be rescued in the same day. Yet I know it to be (at least partially) true. Mom didn’t just rescue me that day. I rescued her.

This post was inspired by Janine Allen’s “I Rescued a Human Today.”

Read it here: http://rescuemedog.org/dog-blog/i-rescued-a-human-today-by-janine-allen/