Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Punch In The Stomach March 23, 2014

At first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was a stroke. My feline neighbor friend Penny finally reported the news to me this afternoon. The other day when I saw the flashing lights and heard the sirens, it was for her person Rose. Her person Rose had a stroke.

I don’t know much about these things. Except that when I don’t know much about things I am more likely to fear them. Not this time. I decided this time would be different. Just because I don’t understand what this stroke business is about will not keep me from finding the silver lining. Which, in this case, is pretty obvious.

All SmilesRelief. From the ground up, it swiftly overcame my fear. Rose is sick. She is in the hospital, and will be for some time. But she is there to get better. She is there to recover. And while she does, I find myself contemplating life’s most basic questions.

Because we never know. We never know when our last day might be. It certainly puts things into perspective when you think that way. If you knew it was your last day, what would you do differently? How would you spend the time? Who would you be with? To some it might seem morbid to contemplate these things. To me it seems sensible. Motivational even.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” suggested American actor James Dean. I don’t think its a coincidence this insight came from an actor fans agree died too young.

Unlike him, Rose has lived a long and full life. She has children and grandchildren and joy from all kinds of sources. Today she shared her joy with me.

Sure, at first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was devastating news that dear Rose had suffered from something serious enough to keep her away from Penny for so long. But she lived. And she will go on living. Sometimes we need a good punch in the stomach to remember just how precious a gift life really is.

 

Let’s Start With Forever June 29, 2013

It has been suggested that a canine’s greatest fault is our short lifespans. At an alarming rate that runs roughly seven times faster than people time, I can’t say I entirely disagree. Man’s best friend shouldn’t get taken away from man any sooner than both parties are ready. But would we really ever be ready?

I wondered this today as I caught my mom indulging in what she admits is guilty pleasure entertainment. From witches and warlocks to dragons and vampires, all things supernatural have become very popular lately in literature, television, and movies. And while my mom tends to side with vampires (more often than not) on their seemingly endless mythical feud with werewolves, I can’t say I agree. This may not come as a surprise as I am obviously a (very distant) canine relative of sorts, but that is not my only rationale. Sure, vampires have immortality on their side, but from what I can tell living forever has its fair share of cons. I Choose Life

Artistic interpretations of vampire life continue to evolve over time, but the basics remain. And while it’s not always the case, many interpretations paint vivid portrayals of vampires who long for a chance to be human and live a normal human life. This leads me to believe immortality might not be all its cracked up to be. In contrast, werewolf life somehow strikes the perfect balance between natural and supernatural, allowing for a normal human life and (along with that) a susceptibility to death.

To me, death is just as important as life because it is our constant reminder to cherish what we have. I believe in the gift of each morning, living each day like it could be my last, and dancing like no one is watching. I believe in James Dean’s suggestion to “dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” None of that would remain a priority if I were miraculously granted immortality. And if it did, I can honestly say it would never be the same.

While I don’t necessarily disagree that a canine’s greatest fault is our short lifespan, I also can’t say I would change that if I was ever afforded the option. The truth is I don’t think anyone is ever really ready to lose a loved one. It doesn’t matter whether someone dies unexpectedly or inevitably loses a hard-fought battle with terminal illness. You’re never really ready. And neither way is easier on those left behind. But just as it is for people loved ones, the relationship between a person and his or her dog is priceless even after the dog moves on to doggie heaven. Just ask someone who has lost their best canine friend – those paw prints remain embedded on their heart forever. I’ll take that over immortality any day. That is my kind of forever.

 

 

Living the Dream March 28, 2013

Big dogs don’t cry. I’m not ashamed to admit little ones do. It’s no secret that I wear my heart on my proverbial sleeve. But there was a time I wasn’t so open to expressing my emotions. My time on the streets and in the humane society had hardened my perspective on the world. Fortunately the world has a way of changing our perspective on things.Dreaming to Live

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way,” English poet William Blake suggested. “Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and  some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature  is imagination itself.”

My eyes were opened on a hot August day almost three years ago when I met my adoptive parents for the first time. Just as perspective changes things for the bad, I remember that day my perspective changed for the good. It’s a switch I won’t be flipping back in the other direction any time soon either. In fact, I’ve noticed lately that the more you let the good into your life, the more good life gives you. That’s one of many reasons I dream big.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” as American icon James Dean once said. I am, in fact, living the dream.

So I suppose it’s not fair of me to assume big dogs don’t cry. I would prefer to think we all are capable of shedding a tear every now and then, happy or sad. “Maybe I’m in the black, maybe I’m on my knees,” sings Chris Martin of Coldplay in “Every Tear’s a Waterfall.” “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes, but my heart is beating and my pulses start, Cathedrals in my heart….Every tear’s a waterfall…so you can hurt, hurt me bad, but I’ll raise the flag.”

William Blake saw beauty in the trees. Chris Martin finds the joy in teardrops. I dream to live and live to dream.