Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Morality and The Good Life June 24, 2013

I did the right thing today. It went against everything my terrier nature told me to do. And it wasn’t easy, which is why I know it was right.

Dad was using that scary loud contraption called a lawnmower in the backyard when it happened. He came across something on the ground that prompted him to turn off the machine and stare. Which prompted me to investigate what he was staring at. Sure enough, the rabbit I’ve been seeing a lot of in our yard lately suddenly appeared from beneath the ground and darted away. I chased her, but she was too fast for me and quickly ran beyond the length of my lead. I’m certain she was hoping to cause a diversion, as dad and I quickly discovered she left behind two little rabbit babies (each no larger than the majority of my chew toys) and they were both in my reach.

In that moment, I was faced with a decision. Do what came naturally to me as a terrier or do the right thing. I knew immediately what I was going to do so (in spite of my dad scolding me and pulling me away) I simply sniffed at the little guys and wished them well. Life's Big Questions

It goes back to my first moments after I was separated from my birth mom and brothers. I know what its like to be in their teeny little rabbit paws in that situation. They were me today, lost and afraid and uncertain of what the future holds for them. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy, let alone two helpless little rabbit babies who may or may not reunite with their mom. To make matters worse, I watched in horror as they each scurried off in their own separate way. I know it should have made me want to chase them, but watching everything unfold the way it did actually just made me sad.

Still I know in my heart that my birth mom would be proud of what I did today, wherever she is. She is the reason I believe no character comes into our life without a good reason, without a message or life lesson. Her brevity in my life made my moments with her that much more valuable, and I can say with honesty that I remember the majority of what she taught me. Some things made sense immediately: dream big, love bigger, never take no for an answer. Others didn’t make sense right away (as these things never do when we’re to young to understand) but these are the things that seem most important now. Love your neighbors as yourself. Strive to be a servant leader. Do the right thing even if it hurts.

“Aim above morality,” American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau suggested. “Be not simply good, be good for something.”

I did the right thing today. I was good for something. And it was far from easy. But if there is anything experience has taught me its that usually doing the right thing is most important when it hurts. These are the moments when learning comes full circle and we truly understand morality and the good life.

 

A Deconstructed Ocean May 2, 2013

One person’s nonsense is another person’s art. I realized that today as I powered through the puddles in my backyard in a mad dash to catch the group of rabbits who seemed to be throwing some sort of pool party. Silly rabbits, I thought to myself, I’m going to get you! But as they scattered to their hiding places in the corners of the yard I felt the slightest bit of guilt for breaking up their fun.

I don’t usually have feelings of remorse in situations like this, so it definitely took me by surprise. We’ve all been like those rabbits at some point or another, I realized as I sloshed back through the lake that seemed to appear in the backyard in a matter of minutes. (The sky is not crying today. It’s bawling.)

Playing With WordsI remember a time when water turned me into a thoughtless nincompoop too. Not too long after my forever parents adopted me, they took me aboard something I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around. One minute we were enjoying a beautiful car ride, and the next minute there we were, the three of us, on what they called a boat. I couldn’t believe my little doggie eyes. The water was dazzling. The sunlight sparkled off each and every little peak in the water in the most breathtakingly fabulous way. I had to get closer – I had to feel the magic! Once, twice, three times, I jumped off the boat into the water for no other reason than that I was mesmerized by its beauty.

In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the best plan of action as that was my one and only experience on the boat with them. I also better understand now why the two people I love most in the whole world yelled at me like they did that day. I’m not the best swimmer (I can’t manage to keep my backside from sliding down behind me), and they were both fearing the worst.

Gratefully, the worst is far from what happened. Instead, I took with me the image of all those beautiful diamonds glittering on the water. The lake in the backyard looks nothing like my ocean memory, but a metaphor came to life in my heart today as I considered the fun those rabbits were having before I crashed the party.

Words are like water to me. I haven’t always liked how they make me feel, but I need them to survive. They can bring the worst, but they can sparkle in such a mesmerizing way it takes my breath away. And they’re so darned fun to play with (which must be why those rabbits were throwing that silly pool party in the puddles). I did an experiment today that brought poetry to life with the most interesting combination of articles, adjectives and nouns. I asked some of the people in my life put together a mad lib of sorts today without really knowing it. The result? A fluffy tree sings to an affectionate Tiger licking Pumpernickel bread. I don’t care if I sound like those rabbits looked at their pool party in the rain. This nonsense is artwork to me.