Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Diaper Change Fiasco January 16, 2014

I thought for a second I was in a dream. But I definitely was not. What was happening was real. And it kind of freaked me out. Last night somewhere in the wee hours, dad picked me up out of bed, held me like a baby, and attempted to put me in something I’ve heard called a changing table.

“Dang, you’re heavy,” he half-stammered in his sleepy state. That’s when I figured it out. He thought I was Carter. He had mistaken all 20 pounds of terrier that I am for his child and was about to change my nonexistent diaper. I couldn’t have that (any more than I could wear such a diaper contraption), so I wiggled my way out of that situation right quick.Peace.

It wasn’t until morning that it all paid off for me. It happened as dad retold the story to mom, who miraculously managed to sleep through the whole escapade. Laughter. From the ground up, it rejuvenated our weary hearts this morning.

Because let’s face it. It’s rough right now. My people are (clearly) overtired. They aren’t sleeping. Their clock revolves around Carter, and my clock revolves around them. And it’s quite honestly a little frustrating since there really isn’t too much I can do to help with anything. And I know in reality it really wasn’t anything I did that caused the laughter. My warm little body was just in the right place at the right moment. I even thought for a second I was in a dream. But I definitely was not.

“Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen,” American author Carl Sandburg suggested. What happened this morning was real, mistaken venture that it was. I’m so glad I listened for the aftermath. Because sometimes it just helps to laugh. Out loud. At yourself. It helps to stop and listen for the healing wisdom the laughter brings. Even if you are mistaken for a newborn baby in the process.

**No dogs or babies were harmed in the making of this completely true story**


A Smile Never Goes Out of Style March 31, 2013

Snow was coming down sideways for a bit today. It got incredibly dark outside and looked like it was going to rain, but instead it snowed just enough to cover the ground with a healthy layer of snow blanket diamonds in a matter of about five minutes. It was remarkable in the worst kind of way for us Wisconsinites who have been so desperately pining for the warmth of spring.2013-03-31 18.51.572013-03-31 18.51.51

I found victory in those five minutes I couldn’t help but share. Hardly anyone noticed the snow because I was the center of attention (as it should be). Joking aside, I noticed two circles around me containing a dozen sets of eyes focused entirely on me. Closest to me was a circle of my favorite little people and around them was a circle of their adult loved ones.

We were playing pickle in the middle (with me as the pickle as usual), I had just gotten the toy away for myself and was celebrating my victory. Then it hit me. In that moment I heard the most beautiful sound: a whole room of people I love laughing. Better yet, literally everyone was smiling regardless of the reality of the weather happenings outside. It wasn’t too long before a hushed sense of surprise came over the room when they saw what was happening outside, but in those few precious moments leading up to that joy was in the air.2013-03-31 18.39.44

Some may think I’m overreacting about the painfully long winter we’re having in Wisconsin. I’m not one to exaggerate the truth. I even heard a few people comment on how there is finally more green than white on the ground (which is a small spring success story for us). Then the cloudburst happened. It was brief but it was heavy.

It reminded me of those moments that seem to come out of left field and mix things up in ways we don’t always appreciate. In these challenging moments we find strength in smiles and laughter. We seek comfort from our circles of loved ones. In these moments we find sincere and lasting joy. “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face,” as French poet Victor Hugo once said.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of the pictures my mom took of me being the pickle in the middle appear to have a bright light in the background. Snow was coming down sideways for a bit this afternoon, but that didn’t keep the sun from shining in the living room where my family gathered.