Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Just Keep Your Head Above January 20, 2014

It happened again. “Wiley up,” mom said as she picked me up for a dance around the living room. It was the first time we’ve done this since that fated night three months ago when my little family danced together in the kitchen.

But this time was different. This time mom couldn’t just feel Carter dancing in her pregnant belly. This time our little family danced together and we could all feel it. In our hearts.

The song choice seemed odd to me at first. I’ve heard it a million times and never thought much of it other than clearly it’s a favorite of mom’s. “You gotta swim, swim in the dark,” sings Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin. “There’s no shame in drifting, feel the tide and wait for the spark. Yeah you gotta swim, don’t let yourself sink – just find the horizon, I promise you it’s not as far as you think. The currents will drag us away from our love…just keep your head above.”

It isn’t exactly a slow dancing kind of song. But when it came on the music player dad was already dancing with Carter. So I wasn’t that surprised when mom and I joined the party. And as my family danced around the living room together I realized the importance of moments like this. There we were – the four of us. My forever family. Dancing together for the first (okay, I guess we could call it the second) time.My Family

And it all made sense. The song choice that seemed odd to me at first came alive in those precious moments together. These are the moments that inspire us to swim in the dark. These are the moments that are on that horizon. These are the moments that keep us swimming against the current. So I keep my head above and swim for moments like these.

 

Bring Me That Horizon February 25, 2013

There are a lot of things in a dog’s life that are uncertain. What we eat, when we eat it, when we go to the bathroom, and when we go for walks are circumstances mostly controlled by our people. We are at the mercy of our people for so many things that I’ve come to see my people as my constants in life. They are everything to me. And, as it is my life’s mission to bring optimism to life, I find there is wisdom in uncertainty.

I’m convinced this is a lesson lost on the birds in my backyard. I heard them talking incessantly to each other this morning in the tree outside my bedroom window. They were arguing about the weather, which is expected to fluctuate in extremes again from sunny and warm today to snowy and frigid tomorrow. In my experience the only way to silence them is to scare them away. Off they flew as soon as I got outside this morning, leaving me alone again to contemplate existence in peace.

As I watched them scatter into the morning horizon, it was almost as if an old medieval proverb came to life before my eyes. I’ve never cared to understand it before, so it took me by surprise to find myself reflecting on the meaning of “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.” Though it is thought of as cliché to some people, the idea behind the phrase is that it is better to embrace certainty than take a chance and lose everything in the process.

I’m not certain of a lot of things, but I find an odd solace in that truth. Sarah Ban Breathnach recently reminded me in Simple Abundance to give thanks for truths like this. “You know what you need to do today, not tomorrow,” she writes. “Take another look at your life. Give thanks. Accept your circumstances. Give thanks. Count your blessings. Give thanks. Above all, have faith in yourself and Divine Change.”

That faith may not come easily, but I would rather take a chance on faith than embrace certainty.

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time,” French writer Andre Gide advised.Bring Me That Horizon

Well then, I say bring me that horizon.

There isn’t much in terms of physical risks to take in a dog’s life, so I chose to risk what I can control: my perspective. The fruits of my heart and mind are certain to me.