Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Defeat Meets Victory December 9, 2013

I looked into the eyes of evil today. It wasn’t pretty. There I was, face to face, nose to nose, with my arch nemesis otherwise known as Demon Dog. I could feel his breath on my face as his terrifying bark tore through the air. Worst of all, I could see the look in his eyes. It chilled me to my core. (Or maybe that was the frigid -10 degree wind chill).

What do you think?I’m not sure how it happened actually. One minute I was on my lead (which generally separates us by at least 20 feet) and the next I was not. So I seized the opportunity and ran myself right back to that fence. I don’t know what took over me. It’s like I lost all sense of self control. I shamelessly ignored the voices in my heart that cautioned me to stay. Instead I got close. I looked danger in the eye and gave it a good talking to.

It lasted only about as long as it took dad to run barefoot through the snow to grab me and haul me back inside. Boy was I in trouble. Not just because dad and mom were upset with me for putting myself in danger like that, but because I have what I have determined to be a pretty serious problem. And I’m not sure what to do about it.

I realized it tonight as I saw the darkness in those eyes. I got up close and personal with evil and I didn’t like what I saw. Defeat. On both our parts. On his, from whatever made him into such a monster. Everyone has a story and I’ve wanted nothing more than to give him the benefit of the doubt. And on mine, because I realized I don’t think I can save him. Your resident doggie optimist is throwing in the proverbial optimistic towel on this one.

And I don’t like it. Not one bit. I don’t give up – it’s not in my nature. I see the good in all people, places and things. I find the silver lining. But sometimes there is maturity in recognizing there are some things we simply cannot control. Some problems can’t be fixed. I find peace in knowing this itself is the silver lining.

“Defeat is not the worst of failures,” suggested American literary critic and poet George Edward Woodbury. “Not to have tried is the true failure.” I tried. That’s what matters. In this case my defeat can be my victory.

 

Diamond In The Rough September 29, 2013

Garbage stinks.

Today the garbage in my forever home smells like a combination of pizza crusts, discarded stale bread, and onions. And I love it. I often gaze at it longingly, just dying to attack. To knock it over and feast on all the fabulously delicious samples inside. Sometimes I even get close enough to make my (albeit naughty) feasting fantasy come true. But I’ve never actually gone through with my malicious plan. Partially because I will admit I do eat a pretty well-balanced diet of dog food, treats, rawhides and people-approved people food throughout the day. Mostly because I don’t want to get scolded.

Recylce ThisSo you can imagine my confusion when my mom returns from a store called Goodwill every now and then with a variety of second-hand items. I can’t say she ever needs any of it (just as I don’t need more food), but I get the impression there’s a sense of fulfillment in finding treasures in someone else’s trash. And I can’t fault her for that.

I didn’t get into the garbage today. I don’t plan to do so any time soon either. But all this gets me to thinking about something pretty powerful. Finding treasures in someone else’s trash. Recycling it. Giving it new life. I am fortunate enough to say this has actually happened to me firsthand when my forever people found me at the Oshkosh Humane Society.

I was a diamond in the rough. The staff at the shelter were very protective of me since I had already been adopted and returned once before. I was deemed a “problem puppy.” I heard tell more than one person to “look past the cute and see the commitment” it would take to bring me home. Yet my people found me, believed in me, and the rest is history.

I don’t mean to glamorize garbage. Because let’s face it – it does stink. But (in one way or another) we all have it. Junk. Garbage that we might deem to stinky to properly address. Probably not in the form of pizza crusts and onions, but perhaps in our closets. Or maybe even in our hearts. Both literally and figuratively, we have the ability not just to find treasures in someone else’s trash, but in our own.

Just as I was recycled, I continue to recycle myself on a daily basis. It’s a choice I make in seeing the good in all people, places and things around me regardless of the junk I encountered in my past. It’s not always easy. It might even stink from time to time. But at its very core it’s joy from the ground up.