Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

All That Sparkles December 4, 2014

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to Christmas decorations around here. From the ornaments on the tree to the garland on the windows to holiday-themed gadgets mom disperses throughout the house, mom usually covers all the bases.

With this being dear baby Carter’s first Christmas, I expected the full array of all things Christmas to sprinkle the house with a special kind of holiday joy. So you can imagine my surprise at the restraint she’s demonstrated (at least thus far) for what she is saying is the sake of Carter’s safety.

Anything that would normally be within his almost three-foot-tall reach has been held back. The tree features a more sparse selection of ornaments than usual at the bottom area, including primarily the squishy or non-breakable (namely, slightly less sentimental) items. But there is one thing she whole-heartedly embraced. Twinkle lights. They seem to be Twinkleseverywhere. On the tree, in the windows, you name it. Twinkles everywhere.

Today I saw why. I’m sure it’s happened before in the handful of days the decorations have been displayed. But this was the first time it happened when I was able to pause and take it all in. It was dark in the living room except for the lights of the tree and the window garland and Carter was absolutely mesmerized. There he was, standing there by the tree, his little face lit by the faint glow. That’s when I saw it. His eyes were twinkling almost as bright as the lights. And his smile was the brightest thing in the room.

I’m not usually a fan of all that glitters. I could care less about all things glamorous. But all that sparkles is indeed gold in my world, especially when there is joy involved. It brought to mind the words of American pastor Roy L. Smith who suggested “he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to Christmas decorations. It feels like every year, there’s a new something or another joining the collection of all things holiday around here. Though at first it appeared mom was scaling back, she brought more lights into play. And I’m so glad she did. Because today I saw joy sparkle. It was a beautiful sight to see.

 

Broken Little Things November 26, 2014

I think it is probably one of the most frustrating things I see people experience. That says a lot given all that I observe in a day between my early morning, mid-morning, late morning, early afternoon, mid-afternoon and late afternoon naps. And it happened again today.

Mom has been in the holiday spirit even more than usual (which is saying a lot, believe me), so she’s been going against her self-imposed rule not to put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Alas, the garland is up, the stockings are hung, and various other decorations donning messages of all things holiday are sprinkled throughout my forever home. I love every bit of it, not just  because of the brightness of the twinkle lights throughout the house, but because I can see straight through the twinkle in her eye to her happy heart.Just call me Wiley

All was going according to plan today when it happened. Three strings of new lights didn’t work. They were all brand new, purchased from the store today, and they simply did not light up. They were broken beyond repair. And there was a brief pause as this sank in for my forever mom and dad as they were near completion on operation holiday decoration for the day. Defeat. From the ground up, it was in the air. But not for long.

Because things don’t work sometimes. Things are broken. It is not the end of the world. First of all, they are just things. You can’t take any of it with you to heaven, so in my opinion it doesn’t really matter all that much. Beyond that, defeat has no place in a day like today. A day full of twinkle lights and Christmas carols and joy. That is what today was about.

The thing is, I understand it’s frustrating. It’s infuriating. It’s absolutely maddening when something is supposed to work and doesn’t. But that’s life. And life goes on. The question is, are you going on with it? Or are you going to let something as silly as a broken set of holiday lights bring darkness into your day? Either way, it’s up to you. But I find there is strength to be gained from these situations that is much more significant than any broken little thing.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places,” as American author Ernest Hemingway put it. And I would say it is the broken places that make us who we are.

 

Glowing in the Dark November 25, 2014

It doesn’t make sense. I have never and will never understand it. I will, however, question why this trick of nature happens every year. Here we are in the midst of all things holiday and literally speaking it is the darkest time of year.

The sun seems to rise later and set sooner every single day. That means less sunshine, which (at least from what I can tell) means less happy people. None of this is good news in my world. It’s also not the worst news, because I make it a point of mine in life to be a light amid the darkness in whatever way possible. This thing called daylight savings time will not break me down.

My faith in the power of one’s inner light was renewed tonight as I watched as another bought of silliness unfolded between my forever parents and dear baby Carter.Hard at Work

There we were, the four of us, in the darkness of the basement. I was sure either mom or dad would turn the lights on eventually. Instead they grabbed out these little sticks and I listened as they cracked them to life. I’m not sure of the correlation between the cracking sound and what happened next, but I suppose some things are best left to mystery anyway. Within a few seconds, the room was dimly lit by little florescent glow sticks, which brought far more joy to everyone involved than I would have ever expected.

The fun continued as mom suggested Carter have a glow-in-the-dark bath time. He loved every minute of it. He was happy. Mom and dad were happy. I was happy.

It doesn’t make sense to me why there is so much darkness during such an otherwise joyful time of year. But that’s okay. It sounds silly, but the glow-in-the-dark games tonight reminded me it’s possible not just to let your light shine, but to find new ways to do it. Routine has its perks, but switching it up from time to time is good for the soul. How you choose to shine ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that you shine at all.

Because as Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus put it “give light and the darkness will disappear.”

 

Lighting the Way January 12, 2014

It’s official. I think my people are losing their minds. Maybe it’s because of the lack of sleep. I can’t be sure. All I know is there is a new nighttime Sleep, Don't Weeproutine in the Schmidt household and I’m not sure what to make of it.

It actually starts during the day, with all kinds of loud noises, open windows and bright lights. Then at 8:30 sharp, they shut off all the lights and put baby Carter in a dark room away from any televisions or other noises. They speak to each other (and me) in hushed tones and I get scolded even more than usual for barking at animals on the television (which admittedly is one of my more unusual quirks).

Apparently it’s to do with the baby’s days and nights being flip flopped. Daytime to us is nighttime to him, so to attempt to get him on track with what my people refer to as a “normal” schedule. Tonight was the second swing at this new way of things, and I’m not sure how it will go.

Because the baby will probably do his own thing anyway. So to me it feels a bit like flipping a coin. And I found that frustrating at first because there’s really nothing I can do to help. Except there is. I don’t think my people are losing their minds. But I do think they need me now more than ever to remind them to seek out joy. From the ground up, it’s always there even when we lose our way.