Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Things That Happen at Dusk July 16, 2014

I’ve gotten pretty used to the nighttime routine around here. Dinner, play, nap, play eat, sleep. Things have progressed slightly from where they were a few months ago, for which I am appreciative. Mom, dad and dear baby Carter spend a little more family time together than they used to thanks mostly to the six-month landmark that is solid foods.

Nonetheless, something happened today that departed from routine. And I’m not going to lie. I loved it. Moments after Carter went to bed, mom spontaneously decided she was going to take me for a quick walk around the neighborhood. This might not sound like much to the average canine, but to me it meant the world.

I can’t remember the last time I was out and about sans baby and carefree. While I realize this sounds like a complaint, I truly and sincerely digress. It’s not about that. It’s about things that happen at dusk and my love and appreciation for them.

Be it a random walk around the neighborhood, observing Carter’s bedtime routine, or watching the moving picture window known by people as the TV, it doesn’t really matter. I see stars in all of these things because these things spark happiness in the people around me.

Today, my stars multiplied because I felt like I was out living large with a chapter of my past. In what some might call the “good ole days,” mom and I adventured through the neighborhood (and sometimes even the dog park) on a daily basis. Obviously it has been some time since that has been the norm, but that doesn’t remove the importance of a thing like tonight from my heart.

If nothing else, it increases it. Because I’ve gotten quite used to the nighttime routine around here. It has departed (a bit) from the temporary eat, sleep, poop routine that was the norm a few months ago. And while that change has been welcomed, something else is welcomed along with it. While still increasingly important, routine needs to be broken every now and then. And when such a thing involves a journey to the past to which I felt like paying tribute, all is well in my little doggie world. So I say long live tradition and all it means for change.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

A Bird’s Eye View June 10, 2014

I find it’s more likely to happen when the skies are grey like a rain storm is coming. Then when it doesn’t I breathe a sigh of relief since I (like most dogs) don’t particularly care for the thunderstorms that occasionally accompany our summer days in my neck of the woods. They are loud and obnoxious and sometimes the thunder hurts my ears.

Dreaming a little dreamDays like today are interesting in their own kind of way because they remind me the slightest bit of the freezing cold doldrums of winter in the Midwest United States. Except in addition to the warmer temperatures, there is something present now that is not around in those times.

Birds. The more I observe them, the more I know it to be true. There is not much I envy about their lives other than this one thing. They can fly. I know that unless I ever travel a far enough distance with my forever people on an airplane, I will mostly likely never know what it’s like to fly. Sure, I hold my head out the window of a driving car with the best of them. And I’ve been known to clear three or four feet in a horizontal jump. But this is not the same as flying.

I thought of this today as my dear Aunt Morgan is on her way home from a far away place. As I type, she is waiting on a delayed flight out of Denver, Colorado, with no cell phone and no charger. At first I wondered what she would do with herself since she (like my dear forever mom) is terribly attached to that so-called Smartphone of hers. But that’s okay. I don’t need to talk to her to know what’s happening.

It’s a favorite past time of mine in fact. People watching. From the ground up, a lot can be learned from this tradition I’ve perfected over the years. I think I’ve learned more from observing people than people would even like to know.

One such lesson I’ve learned to take note of when the skies are grey and a rain storm is coming. Sure, when it comes to flight, it’s all relative. I say this both figuratively and literally, as I believe English humorist Douglas Adams may have said it himself.

“Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss,” he said. My perspective doesn’t need to be a bird’s eye view for me to know this as truth.

 

The Right Questions February 14, 2014

It could be any number of things. A cell phone ringing. An unrelated conversation with someone else. A to-do list that would take longer to complete than there are hours in the day. As a professional observer of people, I am here to confirm there are so many things that distract us from things that really matter on a daily basis.

It wasn’t anything extraordinary for my forever people today. Dad had an especially trying day at that place called work. Mom struggled to console baby Carter through one of his most fussy days yet. But today I watched with love as they pushed both of these things aside. Today they celebrated Valentine’s Day. And in doing so they celebrated each other.

Love. From the ground up, I watched it unfold before my little doggie eyes as dad put together a surf and turf dinner for mom. I saw it in their eyes when they read the cards they got for each other. Yet there was something else, something more, that set the day apart. Something I realized could do a lot of people good.

Questions. Thoughtful directive emotional questions beyond the more common “how was your day” pleasantries. What have I done this past year that you’re most happy with, mom asked. What can I do to be a better husband, dad asked. And conversation abounded, regardless of the happenings of the prior eight hours. Distractions stepped aside in those precious moments and it was just them.

It was just two people falling in love with each other all over again. And it was beautiful. This is not to say they don’t love each other every day of the year. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. But today was different and I think it’s because they put aside everything else and asked the right questions.

You know the ones. They challenge us and build us up and make us think. They are capable of breathing fresh perspective into our relationships. These are the questions we should be asking each other frequently. It might not be as easy as an empty “how are you,” but I think that’s the point. Love, like the love being celebrated around the country today, should never be empty. It should never be distracted. It should be full and overwhelming to the point where no distraction is powerful enough to take away its attention to detail.

“Love is a force more formidable than any other,” suggests American author Barbara de Angelis. “It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

Love offers you more joy than any material possession ever could. But you have to reach out and take it. At least from what I can tell, one way to do this is to ask the right questions. Like what is love? It’s powerful. It can transform you. Love is joy. Love is life.

I Love You

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!