Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Hopeful Impulse June 25, 2014

For me, it’s the grill. Not only does it create some of the most delicious smells ever known to man, but I’ve observed something else about the grill. Thank YOU

Around here, a grill is a social status symbol. Around here, a grill brings more than perfectly smokey sausages, burgers, and chicken breasts. Around here, a grill means joy. From the ground up, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the matter in recent years and I know it to be truth. Because where there is a grill, there is happiness.

It happens with my people more this time of year than any other. They spend time together outside enjoying all things beautiful and bam! The next thing you know, there is a host of delicious food. Not that food equals happiness. That is not the case by any means.

But that’s okay because it’s not about the food.

“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world,” suggested Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson, “and bettered the tradition of mankind.”

I can hardly change the world with simply my observation of human interaction. So I know my observations about the people and the grill will not be changing anything for the better. But I do know what I learn from such things can help make the world a better place.

Because for me, it’s the grill. It probably sounds ridiculous to some people, but to me it makes perfect sense. It creates the most delicious smells that I see as evidence of hearts beating strongly. It frequently involves impulse as it pertains to what exactly gets grilled in the first place.

But ultimately none of that matters. Because whether it’s just my people, or them and some of their friends, I know this thing called grilling brings joy to the table. This thing called grilling makes hearts beat strongly, with or without the hopeful impulse.

And that, like Stevenson said, betters the tradition of mankind.

 

Seeing is Believing April 26, 2013

I look around my house all the time, but today I found myself counting the blessings of the words all around me.

“Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away” hangs over my beloved bay window.

“Simplify” graces one of the end tables by my favorite spot on the couch.

“Live, laugh, love,” hangs above the kitchen sink where I frequently steal any and every scrumptious morsel that falls to the ground.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in perfect harmony” hangs in the hallway where dad throws my toys for me to fetch.

These messages are all such fantastic reminders of what it means to be alive, and yet I live most of my days without giving them a second glance.

Sight is funny that way. I’ve noted before how familiarity with our surroundings can make us lazy. Today I wondered how our perspective would change if we could no longer see. It reminds me of a story I heard once about a little girl who got her first pair of glasses when she was four-years-old.

Her kindergarten teacher thought she was over-exaggerating. Surely this little girl didn’t really suffer from chronic headaches, she thought, and she is too smart to be struggling with her alphabet. The teacher suggested to the little girl’s parents that she see a child psychologist for her apparent emotional issues.

This was puzzling to the parents, who knew their daughter to be happy and healthy other than those darned headaches she was having all the time. It all made sense at the optometrist office when the little girl couldn’t identify the big birthday cake on the screen they use in place of the big “E” for children in eye exams. While she had almost perfect 20/20 vision in her right eye, it turned out she had 20/400 vision in her left eye. At four-years-old, my forever mom was diagnosed as legally blind. The optometrist prepared her parents for the reality that the sight may not be fixable and as a result she may never be able to drive.

The parents were devastated, but from that moment on there was no stopping them on their mission to improve the eyesight of their baby girl. It was awfully hard on them to see her sitting inches from the television to watch her favorite movie “The Little Mermaid” (for the hundredth time). Instead of singing along to “Part of Their World” like usual, she cried and cried because she couldn’t see Ariel. The patching of her good eye was excruciating for all parties involved.

Sight is indeed one of life’s most simple of gifts, Sarah Ban Breathnach reminds us in Simple Abundance, and it should not be taken for granted.

“Today really look around at your world…Smile at everyone you meet because you can see them,” Breathnach writs. “Never forget that the gift of vision was so important that when God created the world, the first command was for Light in order to see, and after the Great Creator finished with each day’s task, He glanced back on his handiwork and ‘saw that it was good.’ We need to see how good it is too.”

More than 20 years later, my forever mom now has 20/30 eyesight in her left eye. She calls it her “little miracle” in life. Because her parents believed when even her eye doctor lacked faith, she has the blessing of sight and all that comes along with it.

The senses are a funny thing, after all. We can hear but not really listen. We can touch but not really feel. We can eat but not really taste. All of these oddities came to mind today when I realized how powerful it is to look and really see.

Seeing Is Believing