Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Fighting Life’s Fires February 18, 2015

It’s never just one thing. I find as an observer of people that it’s usually many things that snowball into one of two categories. Good or bad, I look to find the silver lining in whatever may be happening in the world around me. But there are some days when that is easier said than done.

Because my time as an observer of people has taught me a thing or two about life. From the ground up, bad things happen to good people all the time.

Take today, for example. I don’t think a single person with whom I come into contact had a good day. Mom has been fighting the same darned cold for weeks now, and it’s really starting to bother her. She’s sick of being sick, she says. Dad encountered obstacle after obstacle at work. Dear baby Carter wasn’t himself from another lousy night of sleep the night before. But of that was nothing compared to what happened to my dear aunt Morgan.

It’s been frigidly cold here in my neck of the Wisconsin woods lately. Almost record-breakingly cold. I would go so far as to say 20 degrees has felt like a heat wave in recent weeks. So when the call came into my grandma (who was watching Carter while mom was at that place called work), I guess I wasn’t all that surprised.

My deaFeeling Sleepy On the Jobr aunt Morgan fell on some ice that has been neglected near her apartment complex. She was in pain. She was cold. And she was scared. I could hear it in her voice how scared she was.

Apparently my forever mom got a similar phone call a few minutes after it happened, because within about 20 minutes of the original call to grandma, she was home from that place called work. She came home so grandma could go help Morgan.

The last I heard, the fall may have resulted in some sort of knee damage, though it may be too early to tell how serious. My first (albeit emotional) response to everything that happened in such a short period of time was that there couldn’t possibly be a silver lining to this story. Because it’s never just one thing, and today the snowball went very quickly in a negative direction.

That is until I thought about what happened in that time between the fall and mom’s return home. Sure, Carter was pretty oblivious to what was happening. He just went about playing with all sorts of things he thinks are toys (while simultaneously disregarding his actual toys). But mom and dad and grandma came together to fight the fire together. The moving parts all worked together to address the situation in an effective and timely manner.

I’ve heard of this thing called flashover in a fire. In simple language, it’s the point of no return and it happens quicker than you might think. But that didn’t happen today. Because my people came together and they made it work. They do that a lot, now that I think about it. The fires happen, but they fight them together and everything is okay in the end. If that isn’t a silver lining, I don’t know what is.

 

Love Many: My Personal VIP List March 9, 2013

There is this quote I’ve seen in my forever home that I’ve always wondered about. It reads “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” It is sewed onto a little pillow in one of the bedrooms and written onto a teeny homemade canoe on the bookcase in the living room. I can’t say I was a believer in its theory until I learned its history.

It was something my adoptive mom’s grandpa (my great-grandpa) used to say. He went to heaven a long time before I would have had the opportunity to meet him, but I have to say he sounds like a pretty stand-up guy. My adoptive dad never met him either, so we have in common that we wish we could have met him before it was too late. Instead we have his stories and theories to hold onto, including (but not limited to) his quote about the canoe.Paddling Life's Canoe

I will admit: I do love my fair share of people. Good, bad, or ugly people are pretty important in a dog’s life regardless of the role they play. People have the power to pretty much control a dog’s environment at all times to reflect whatever they desire. Unfortunately, what they desire isn’t always a happy place in a dog’s life. I myself have had my fair share of negative experiences with people choices that impact a dog’s life. But as I am making it my goal to find good and happiness in all people and things, I will focus my attention on the very important people in my life:

1) Momma Schmidt – I love you more than words can say. You know that. If home is where the heart is, you are home to me.

2) Dad Schmidt – I’ve heard you say more than once that you will never admit to loving “a dog,” but your actions speak otherwise. I know you love me without you ever having to say so, which (in my opinion) is perhaps even more affective and meaningful than if you said it all the time.

3) Grandma and Auntie Finke – My momma’s momma and sister. How I love you both simply for who you are.

4) Grandma and Grandpa Schmidt – You buy special treats and toys for me when you know I’m coming over. What more could I ask for?

5) Little Schmidts – You are the little people in my lives, from whom I gain more wisdom than anyone else. Thank you.

6) Schmidt family friends – You know who you are. If you have ever left the Schmidt house with my fur all over you, consider yourself loved.

7) My blogosphere – Especially, Amba, Seeker, Hope, Leisa, Rachel, Misifusa, Putney, Cheyne and Popper’s momTrompie’s mom , Trev’s mom and all else. You are some of my most favorite people who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I am grateful for you all.

Love ManyAs a former stray who was adopted into the wrong families before I found my forever home, I understand the “trust few” portion of the quote more than I would like to admit. Yesterday my own adoptive dad (who I love and trust) took his belt off and I cowered like I always do. It doesn’t mean I don’t trust him, but my instinct for leather belts is negative and that stays with me forever. Especially after being beaten and abandoned, experience has reinforced the importance of earning trust. My doggie circle of trust is known only to me.

That said, I can say with honesty that I would prefer to never paddle my own canoe. Like my perspective on joy, my time on boats has taught me these are moments best enjoyed when shared with loved ones in spite of how plentiful that list may be.

People are pretty important in a dog’s life. Good, bad and ugly, it doesn’t matter. And so it is. I love many, trust few, and choose to paddle my joy canoe with the help of whomever wants to join me. Fortunately for me those negative days are in my past now, and I have nothing but very important positive people to celebrate.