Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

If At First You Don’t Succeed January 27, 2015

Persistence. Determination. Strength. From the ground up, these are some big-picture words in my world. They get you through the valleys and up to the mountains. They push you to the limit. I’ve always been a believer in the British writer W. E. Hickson’s words “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

It’s a simple thought. And I think it applies to a lot of challenging situations. We all encounter hurdles on our journey through life, and we all fall from time to time. In the short-term, it might be the best thing to do. Happiness.

But in the long-term, I wonder sometimes if it’s really always best to try, try again. Life happens in ways we can’t anticipate sometimes, and I think there can be hurdles that seem to multiply before our eyes.

That was the case for my dear forever mom today. In itself, there was nothing that out of the ordinary that happened. After an incredibly productive morning, her presentation for work this afternoon went off without a hitch. She managed to keep a group of more than 60 middle school students entertained for a half hour immediately following their lunch break. I’d say that is a feat in itself. Everything was great.

Then it happened. Somewhere between answering her work phone for the nineteenth time in a row while finishing up the story she was working on and keeping an eye on the mashed potatoes on the stovetop and trying not to overcook the pork roast in the oven and cleaning up after Carter as he decorated the kitchen floor with pots, pans, lids and tupperware containers and ultimately carrying Carter as she danced around the kitchen because he simply could not stand to be on the floor one more second, she lost it.

Not because of any one thing in particular. The snuggle time from Carter was actually kind of nice. But the sum of the parts got to her in a way I know it wouldn’t have if she weren’t 20 weeks pregnant. She’s firing full speed ahead as if nothing were different, but the truth is it’s starting to catch up with her.

And that’s okay.

It was okay to let that one last phone call go to voicemail. It was okay to save that story to finish for tomorrow. It was okay that dad ran to get takeout because the potatoes somehow got overcooked and the pork was undercooked. It was okay that (for once) the kitchen and rest of the house were a complete mess when dad got home from that place called work. It was okay.

Because persistence, determination and strength can only take us so far sometimes. Limits are real, and need to be respected for a reason. If at first you don’t succeed, it’s okay to try again tomorrow instead of today. In some cases it’s better.

Like today, when dad finally convinced mom to just stop. To take a breath. And sit down. And snuggle dear Carter. And tomorrow we will try, try again.

 

Grass is Grass January 11, 2013

It bothers me when people talk about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence.

First of all, I don’t like fences. They are the ultimate metaphor for limitations. And while I have an appreciation for understanding one’s limitations, I don’t appreciate having a constant reminder taunting me about it.

Also, the way I see color completely negates the concept of the phrase. I see a spectrum of colors consisting mostly of yellows, blues and violets. Reds, greens and oranges are not distinguishable to me.

Regardless of my logical refutes to the phrase, I can admit there are metaphorical implications to consider. For people, fences are less of a limitation. (Especially those four-foot chained link ones that I have been known to clear in my more mischievous past.) And the grass may very well be greener on the other side. But just because something is perceived as a limitation doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be surpassed if it’s for the better good.

As with anything, it’s all a matter of perspective. I’ve said before that I’m an optimist. As a result, I’ve decided to find good in things on my side of the fence by watering the grass with my optimism. One of my favorite inspirational people Hellen Keller had a lot to say on this. Among many references she made to one’s optimistic option as an outlook on things made an appearance in today’s reading with Simple Abundance, which encourages positive thinking.

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit,” she said.

So I say no to the fence. And no to the grass being greener on the other side. Grass is grass, and its pretty darned great no matter what color it is.

Grass is grass