Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Change of Scenery October 30, 2014

I shouldn’t complain. It has been weeks, months maybe, since we last had something like this happen around here. But that doesn’t make it any less real when you’re living it. It certainly didn’t change anything about mine and mom’s reaction to it. You’d think we would be used to it by now. Trained for action, so to speak. Truth be told, I don’t think a person is ever really prepared to deal with what happened today.

The WatchdogThe funny thing is it only lasted an hour and a half. Relatively speaking, that’s not that long. In spite of relativity, I will tell you it felt like an eternity. Carter was unhappy. He was crying, real baby tears, and screaming at the top of his tiny baby lungs. I know this comes from a fairly compact dog that has a surprisingly intimidating bark, but I can’t believe how loud a sound such a small little person can make. And for how long.

Mom tried everything. He wasn’t hungry. He had a clean diaper. He seemed tired, so she put him down for a nap, which only made him scream louder. She let him cry a bit in his crib, thinking he’d fall asleep. No such luck. She rocked and swayed and cuddled him, but he wanted nothing to do with any of that. She put him on the floor to explore and he sat there like a very loud and angry stone, tears continuing to fly all over the place.

There were brief moments of peace intermixed, mostly when he was up to no good. He threw his nuk in the toilet. He opened the door to the fridge. He pulled a few things out of the lazy Susan. And my goodness, few things in life make him as happy as the television remote. I don’t think he was doing any of this to be particularly sassy, because he is generally an incredibly well behaved little man.

Whatever the reason, mom wasn’t having it. She lost her cool and scolded him a bit louder than necessary a couple times more than necessary. The crying didn’t stop until dad got home and I am not exaggerating when I say it stopped like a light switch. Like a dark knight, dad walked in the door and Carter’s epic emotional roller coaster drew to an abrupt stop.

I thought mom would be upset, given that she just literally did everything in her power to bring that train to a halt for the last hour and a half. Instead she marveled at the quiet in the house. It’s a simple thing to be sure, but truly and honestly I could almost see the relief wash over her to see Carter smiling in dad’s arms.

I know I shouldn’t complain, so I won’t. Instead I will comment as the observer of life that I am. I’m no expert in baby behavior, but I think I learned something about human behavior today. Sometimes it can seem like the world is ending, but really you just need a change of scenery to put things in perspective. When the world is spinning, control over your perspective can be the thing that gives you sound footing. From the ground up, that’s what I’ve found at least.

 

The Right Questions February 14, 2014

It could be any number of things. A cell phone ringing. An unrelated conversation with someone else. A to-do list that would take longer to complete than there are hours in the day. As a professional observer of people, I am here to confirm there are so many things that distract us from things that really matter on a daily basis.

It wasn’t anything extraordinary for my forever people today. Dad had an especially trying day at that place called work. Mom struggled to console baby Carter through one of his most fussy days yet. But today I watched with love as they pushed both of these things aside. Today they celebrated Valentine’s Day. And in doing so they celebrated each other.

Love. From the ground up, I watched it unfold before my little doggie eyes as dad put together a surf and turf dinner for mom. I saw it in their eyes when they read the cards they got for each other. Yet there was something else, something more, that set the day apart. Something I realized could do a lot of people good.

Questions. Thoughtful directive emotional questions beyond the more common “how was your day” pleasantries. What have I done this past year that you’re most happy with, mom asked. What can I do to be a better husband, dad asked. And conversation abounded, regardless of the happenings of the prior eight hours. Distractions stepped aside in those precious moments and it was just them.

It was just two people falling in love with each other all over again. And it was beautiful. This is not to say they don’t love each other every day of the year. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. But today was different and I think it’s because they put aside everything else and asked the right questions.

You know the ones. They challenge us and build us up and make us think. They are capable of breathing fresh perspective into our relationships. These are the questions we should be asking each other frequently. It might not be as easy as an empty “how are you,” but I think that’s the point. Love, like the love being celebrated around the country today, should never be empty. It should never be distracted. It should be full and overwhelming to the point where no distraction is powerful enough to take away its attention to detail.

“Love is a force more formidable than any other,” suggests American author Barbara de Angelis. “It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

Love offers you more joy than any material possession ever could. But you have to reach out and take it. At least from what I can tell, one way to do this is to ask the right questions. Like what is love? It’s powerful. It can transform you. Love is joy. Love is life.

I Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!