Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Those Three Words May 11, 2013

I never really know what to expect when I spend time with the little people in my life. One minute I’m the pickle in the middle in a game involving one of my favorite stuffed hedgehogs. The next minute I’m being propped up across from an iPad being faux-interviewed about my life. Everything is an adventure in their minds. Everything seems new and exciting. I find inspiration in the surprises at every corner, and today was no exception.Pickle in the Middle

“I love you Wiley,” Abigail said, as she gave me a random and surprisingly lung-crushing hug amidst our game of pickle in the middle this afternoon. Like many of the best of love’s most precious moments, it caught me off guard. Like the North Face jackets and Coach purses of the world, the “l-word” has lost some of its impact due to overuse. 

But that doesn’t keep my little doggie mind from going crazy when I think about some of the things I love. Peanut butter. My forever people. The driver’s seat in any car. Popsicles. Long walks on sunny afternoons. My friends in the blogosphere. Aaron Rodgers. The little people in my life. My forever home. This is only a mere sample of my laundry list of people, places and things that come to mind when my heart starts to race as a side effects of thinking about the l-word.

While I am sure that no two people share the exact same list, I can also venture to say that diversity is the common thread any two lists would share. So how is it we feel these different kinds of feelings and file them all under the l-word in our personal dictionary of life?

I think it’s to do with some other l-words we all know all too well. Longing. Loss. Lies. These are some of the realities of the world in which we live. These words (and the emotional havoc they bring) are some things everyone has in common. No one’s life is perfect. If it wasn’t this it would be something else.Abby and I

But in love there is victory. Relief. Truth. Life experience brings love full circle by allowing us to appreciate the good things, no matter how silly. Perhaps it is because the loss and lies that made up much of my puppyhood made me long to feel life-changing love. One of my biggest fears was that I would never find it. The l-word. Or worse, I wouldn’t feel it again after the hurt I’d experienced.

But as American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

I am so blessed, not only to have found so many things to love in life, but to find it coming from so many different people, places, and things. I never really know what to expect when I spend time with the little people in my life. But I find inspiration in their creativity and sense of adventure. And I live for surprises like my moment with Abigail today. They might be said too much, but those three words have yet to lose their meaning to me.

 

Forever Young March 6, 2013

We’ve all heard (and perhaps experienced) the reality of not knowing what we have until it’s gone. Well, that pretty much sums up my first day without my mom and brothers. I thought I was doing pretty well for myself on my own. I had found a cardboard box that seemed cozy outside a restaurant that smelled like the delicious steak my mom and brothers had once shared. Moreover, I was on my own without needing to compete with my brothers for attention, food, or decisions on what to explore that day. Life was good…for about five minutes.

That is about how long it took for me to realize how lonely I was without my family. It was only about another minute that I realized how sparse the garbage at the restaurant was. Then it started raining right through my cardboard box. At least with my family around, I had love and warmth, which fed the soul more than I realized.

And so began the litany of questions that came along with being a premature adult. “Adult life is dealing with an enormous amount of questions that don’t have answers,” American musician Bruce Springsteen once said. He nailed it on the head with that one. Where had my mom and brothers gone and why was I not with them now? Will I ever see them again?

Questions don’t always have answers in adulthood. I didn’t ever see them again, but I’ve resolved to no longer be sad about that. I would have given anything in that moment to be wrestling with my brothers or getting scolded by my mom. Instead, I was on my own. A grown up. What that day taught me was that grown up is better as a state of mind than it is in practicality.Young at Heart

It breaks my heart to see the little people in my life trying to be “grown up” so soon. I wish I could tell them somehow that it’s actually not that great. I find some odd irony in the truth that (in my opinion) the best thing about being an adult is learning to be better with each passing day. I’ve said before that nothing is worthless if a lesson is learned and I truly believe that. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty,” said the founder of Ford Motor Company Henry Ford. “Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep you mind young.”

I feel the most grown up when I realize how much I have yet to learn. If grown up is a state of mind that I’m forever young. At the dog age of four, most dog-to-people age calculations put me at about 30 years old in people years. Regardless of how it’s calculated, my time on this Earth has taught me to seek answers in what we have now. Before it’s gone.