Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Blessed Life September 19, 2014

It was the strangest thing. There I was, walking along a familiar street wearing my same collar with my tags that read Wiley C. Schmidt. I was wearing the same walking harness I’ve had since forever too. I had the same leash attached, and I was wandering around the same neighborhood I have come to know and love.

But when I looked up at my forever mom, she was brand new to me. Even though I obviously know everything a dog can know about his person, it was like I had never seen her before.

And that’s when I woke up.Listen to your heart

Sometimes my dreams scare me. I know that sometimes people perceive whimpering while sleeping as a doggie daydream of all kinds of goodness. For me, that is rarely the case. I think maybe it’s because of the grief I still bear in my heart over losing my mom and brothers at such a young age or the homeless loneliness that followed. Or the denial I have in my heart about being returned to the humane society or being abused by the man with the leather belt. These are the things that haunt me in my sleep. These are the things I whimper about.

That is, until today, when I had the oddest dream I’ve ever been able to recall. It was like everything was familiar but I was meeting my dear forever mom for the very first time. And I won’t lie. That isn’t the worst thing to dream about in comparison to the usual.

I remember the day often. It was hotter than normal in Wisconsin, but that didn’t stop my would-be forever family from visiting me that day. I also can’t believe that was more than four people years (or the equivalent of almost 30 doggie years) ago. But alas, it was, and it is a day for which I frequently feel blessed.

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another,” suggested English writer George Eliot.

It might have evolved out of the strangest thing, but Eliot’s words ring true for me. I’ve seen what joy looks like through the eyes of love. I’ve seen what it’s like to live my life. And I love every single moment. Because, in my humble doggie opinion, that is what it means to lead a blessed life.

 

If You Can Dream It November 21, 2013

A lot of things happen in my sleep. It’s like when I close my eyes, they open to a world of possibility. Sometimes it’s silliness (like when I have wings and can fly with the birds). Sometimes it’s purely hope (like my hopes for forever happiness with my beloved family). Other times, I relieve unfortunate events of the past or find myself fearful of bad things happening in the future.

DreamingToday I experienced both sides of the spectrum while my people were away at that place called work. I dreamt of a time I felt unsafe, but not for myself. I felt unsafe for my little person at the time, Jo, who was facing another confrontation with the man with the leather belt. Feeling fearful on behalf of another is almost worse than feeling it for yourself, I realize, since you have even less control over the situation.

Then I saw something fabulous. Something joyful. Something that looked a whole lot like the pictures I’ve seen floating around what my people call the Internet. The photos tell the story of Beau and Theo, a little person and his puppy brother, who have synchronized their sleep schedules and now nap together in all sorts of cuteness. Except in my dream it was me and my own little person (who looked oddly like Jo). We were peaceful and content. But more importantly we were dreaming.

They say two minds are better than one, and I can testify to that. I can’t tell you what we were dreaming about (in the dream) because then it won’t come true.

Thinking about all of this made me realize it’s kind of funny to me the way life imitates art in this way. (Or is it art imitates life?) Just as we fear, we also hope. Or as Suzanne Collins put it in her novel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, “hope is the only thing more powerful than fear.”

Waking and sleeping, the mind is a powerful thing. It can take us places we never dreamed possible, both good and bad. But that’s okay. Because sometimes we need the bad to remember to celebrate the good. And if we can dream it, it is reality if only for those brief moments. That is – and always will be – enough.