Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Joy: A Daily Dose December 5, 2013

Peanut butter, salami, bacon, ice cream and yogurt. I’m pretty sure these things would all be in the bag I would pack if I every was to head off to a deserted island (along with my forever people and Mrs. Prickles obviously). So it makes sense to me why people have employed these guilty pleasures to entice dogs into taking medicine. A spoonful of peanut butter definitely makes the medicine go down.Ready for my vitamin

I love these foods as much as the next canine, but I’ve never needed any such bait attached to my pills. If it hits the floor I’ll eat it. I’ve learned in life not to be choosy with such things. Instead, I eagerly look forward to my doggie vitamin each day. Every night before bedtime is when mom usually gives me my vitamin treat, which is apparently supposed to help me have stronger bones. I don’t know if it does any good (I certainly don’t feel any different), but smells fabulously stinky and tastes like chalky meat. I certainly don’t need it to be smothered with peanut butter to know what’s good for me.

Neither does joy, I realized tonight. It doesn’t need to be salami coated. It doesn’t have to come in pretty packages with bows. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. It’s completely and 100% free. It’s just up to you to take it, to find it in each day, just as you would with a multivitamin. And (just like with the vitamin) you might not even know if it’s working at first. But it is.

If you don’t believe me, perhaps you will believe the words of Helen Keller, whose blindness never kept her from finding her daily dose of joy. “We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world,” she said. “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

Not every day will be filled with joy. We will struggle. We will meet challenges. We will experience loss that affects us to our core. But on these days even the smallest dose of joy can make all the difference. Even if it’s not obvious (or better yet, covered in bacon), it feeds our soul in a way no multivitamin can.

 

A God Thing August 6, 2013

Mom calls it a God thing. When something unusual happens that seems to right a wrong turn in life.

I’ve had several that I can think of, but one stands out in my mind as one of my life’s most powerful turning points. It happened the day of my great escape from the house with three other dogs and two cats. The house I’d hoped to be a forever home ended up feeling more like a dungeon. And I wanted out.

The doggie door had been tempting me for weeks. And I knew I could clear that four-foot fence if I really put my mind to it. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving my ultimate goal. Freedom. Freedom from a house ruled by people who didn’t really care for animals.  Freedom to find my own food on the streets instead of scavenge for scraps when there wasn’t enough dog food to go around. Freedom from feeling unloved.

There’s something better out there for me, I thought, and I’m going to find it! So one mid-summer day while the people were away at that place called work, I left it all behind. I cleared the fence, and tore down the first few blocks before I let myself slow down. No turning back. I remember breathing in the fresh lake breeze coming off the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and feeling like I had the world at my paws.Picture Perfect

That’s when it happened. I stumbled across a crumpled up piece of paper on the sidewalk and stopped to sniff it. It smelled like peanut butter (which is one of my most favorite things) and strawberries. It was a drawing of a house with three stick people I recognized vaguely as a mom, a dad, and a little girl (most likely the artist who smelled like peanut butter). What caught my eye (and pulled at my heart) was the little brown stick doggie she was holding. It appeared to be a puppy of some sort (it’s hard to decipher breeds in stick drawings). And everyone was smiling.

That’s when I knew I had to turn back. I knew I would be loved again like Jo loved me before the man with the leather belt deserted me on the side of the road. I had faith. But I wasn’t going to find that kind of love on my own. I wasn’t going to find it on the streets of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

So I made my way, slowly but surely, back to the house of unrest. And (at the time I thought) my whole plan backfired because “my little escapade” as the people called it was “the last straw.” They returned me to the humane society that same day, never to return.

I didn’t know it until later, but that crumpled piece of paper changed my life forever. I may have stayed the course if I hadn’t smelled the delicious peanut butter-y goodness. I would have kept going if not for the image pulling at my heart strings. And if I had I may have never met my forever parents. The people who make up my picture perfect life.

Mom calls it a God thing. I call it faith coming to life. We all have moments with our own versions of the crumpled up piece of paper. Moments that point the way. Moments that change our life forever. We just have to keep our eyes, hearts (and noses) peeled so we don’t pass them by.