Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Dreams Are Dreams September 13, 2013

Some things just aren’t meant to be. It would take a miracle (for example) for me to fly. Or ride a roller coaster. Or walk on the moon. Just because all of these things happen frequently in my daydreams doesn’t make them real.

But let’s say (just for a minute) things that happen in our dreams really do come true. I could finally catch those elusive squirrels that taunt me in the backyard. I could whine my doggie guts out on The Whizzer at Six Flags (yes, the starter coaster – don’t judge). And perhaps one day us dogs will walk on the moon. How amazing would all of this be? Snarky Sparky

I think there’s general misconception about these things in our society. We have our dreamers who think anything is possible, we have our realists who keep the dreamers grounded, and we have our pessimists who don’t bother thinking outside the box. I (obviously) fall into the first category, but I have characters in my life who I know have given up on their dreams. They may not say so, or even admit it to themselves, but they’ve stopped reaching for those goals. And it breaks my heart.

I’ve said it before, but it seems even more relevant now. The journey can be half as much (if not more) fun as the destination if we only let it be. It’s one thing to drive across America to get from A to B. It’s something totally different to stop and see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas on your way to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. To take the scenic route through Minnesota instead of the highways. To hike through the mountains of Tennessee rather than drive. These are the moments that make a journey worth living.

There are two ways to look at things, and I think this dog Frankenstein is the perfect demonstration of both.

To our realists, it appears the prize is just out of reach. To our pessimists, the goal is simply unattainable. But to our optimists, our dreamers, it looks like he is (at the very least) having fun making his dreams come true no matter how stubborn and challenging they may be.

I think we can all take a lesson from Frankenstein. It’s one thing to respect that some things just aren’t meant to be. Let’s face it: the chances of me ever being able to fly, ride a roller coaster or walk on the moon are pretty slim. But dreams are dreams and I will still have fun trying.


The Family Fortune May 20, 2013

It was an absolutely beautiful day in Wisconsin today. The sun was shining its warmth on us and there was a solid breeze from the south to keep things feeling toasty. Literally. Today brought a warmth to the soul that breeds joy from the heart. That is, until I realized how awful a hand of weather was being dealt a few states to our south.

Tornadoes tore through Kansas and Oklahoma today, leaving whole neighborhoods in their wake. The latest reports are confirming casualties at an elementary school in Oklahoma City. Precious little people who were going about their day learning their multiplication tables and how to write haiku poetry. Gone. Lives are changed forever, ripped apart by mother nature. All of this on a day that seemed pretty close to perfect in my little part of the world.

I generally make a point of avoiding disturbing news, but today I find value in a moment’s paws to reflect. The physical devastation left behind by these tornadoes is apparent, but what’s less visible is the emotional wounds that have yet to seem real to those affected. Houses can be rebuilt, streets reconstructed, building facades altered, but you can’t bring back the precious lives lost today. This is where real devastation resides.

While I don’t condone living in constant fear of the unknown, my reflections today have led me to count my blessings. Among them are many valuables that can be easily replaced, as well as two that are absolutely priceless to me. My forever mom and dad. My family. Losing one of them would be like trying to function without the ability to see or hear or taste. I know when a sense is lost, the others generally pick up the slack, but I don’t think my increased love for the one left behind would ever be enough. Together they are ultimately more special to me than everything we have, including the roof over our heads and the endless supply of dog food in my doggie bowl.

The tally of precious lives lost today has not even been finalized yet. And it goes without saying that while the sun was shining in Wisconsin today, a cloud of grief remains. Today was not such a beautiful day for a lot of people. And no insurance policy can bring them back. But I know in my little doggie heart those lost will live on through their loved ones. I remembered this today as I counted my blessings, and among them was a fortune not made up of dollars and cents. My family is my fortune. No tornado can take that away.

Heavenly Reflections