Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Hopeful Impulse June 25, 2014

For me, it’s the grill. Not only does it create some of the most delicious smells ever known to man, but I’ve observed something else about the grill. Thank YOU

Around here, a grill is a social status symbol. Around here, a grill brings more than perfectly smokey sausages, burgers, and chicken breasts. Around here, a grill means joy. From the ground up, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the matter in recent years and I know it to be truth. Because where there is a grill, there is happiness.

It happens with my people more this time of year than any other. They spend time together outside enjoying all things beautiful and bam! The next thing you know, there is a host of delicious food. Not that food equals happiness. That is not the case by any means.

But that’s okay because it’s not about the food.

“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world,” suggested Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson, “and bettered the tradition of mankind.”

I can hardly change the world with simply my observation of human interaction. So I know my observations about the people and the grill will not be changing anything for the better. But I do know what I learn from such things can help make the world a better place.

Because for me, it’s the grill. It probably sounds ridiculous to some people, but to me it makes perfect sense. It creates the most delicious smells that I see as evidence of hearts beating strongly. It frequently involves impulse as it pertains to what exactly gets grilled in the first place.

But ultimately none of that matters. Because whether it’s just my people, or them and some of their friends, I know this thing called grilling brings joy to the table. This thing called grilling makes hearts beat strongly, with or without the hopeful impulse.

And that, like Stevenson said, betters the tradition of mankind.

 

More or Less August 12, 2013

I don’t think dogs are wired to understand the people concept that less is more. I’m sure I don’t speak for all of us, but I certainly don’t leave spare kibbles in my bowl. Not a single scrap of people food hits the floor that I don’t scoop up. One toy is just never enough. But I suppose this all makes sense because we live with our whole honest selves. We wear our hearts on our proverbial sleeves. And we love with all our hearts.

2013-06-28 21.17.47I was reminded of this today when I heard a familiar phrase on television. “Amateurs built the ark; experts built the Titanic.” I’m not certain of the origin of this philosophical commentary, but I’m drawn to it for obvious reasons. Not only does it challenge us to try something new, to challenge conventional wisdom, but it aligns with another truth I hold dear about judging a book by its cover.

Don’t do it. Easy as that.

It is in contradictions such as these that I find myself pondering things on a more philosophical level. In general more is more to me, yet I believe in extracting joy from the simple things in life. I believe in giving that book with a seemingly boring cover a read simply out of principal. I believe in second chances. These are not declarations of someone who doesn’t understand how less can possibly be more.

Maybe that’s the amateur in me. It’s the same part of me that can’t leave any food and prefers the company of all my entire comfort circle of toys rather than a simple representation. But just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean I push an idea aside. Quite the opposite, in fact, to the point that I want to learn something from everything. I would much rather build something on faith and understanding than on vanity and luxury anyway.

So perhaps I’ve been going about this whole less is more concept the wrong way. It’s not one way or the highway. When we love with our whole selves, down to our core, whether we have more or less of something doesn’t matter.