Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Life In The Fast Lane September 22, 2013

Today was loud. And fast. And I loved every minute of it.

I was the official unofficial race dog today at a place called Road America. It’s a well-known racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin about an hour away from my forever home. It has become a family tradition to go with my people and my grandparents right around this time every year. I look forward to the sights, the smells and the people love even more than the car ride to get there.

Joy. From the ground up, it happens throughout my time there when I get all kinds of attention from a wide variety of people from all over the country. I encounter smiles wherever my heart takes me and it doesn’t even bother me that they’re not just smiling because of me. They’re smiling because they love everything about race day. The sights. The smells. The speed.

The speed is what got me thinking today. I’ve never been on a car ride where the car was traveling 140 miles per hour. And I can’t say I would really like to try it. But I have gotten caught speeding in the fast lane once or twice. Not literally (as much as I would still love to learn) but figuratively. I think I have this in common with a lot of the people I met today. At one point or another we have all gotten a little carried away with life in the fast lane.

It gets loud. And flies by when you’re having fun. And we love every minute of it. But every now and then we need to slow down. I did this with mom and dad for a bit today as we took a walk around the track. Sure, the air still smelled like brats and motor fuel. And the cars kept doing their noisy thing on the track. But in those moments things were quiet. They paused to note the color in the trees and the simple beauty of the day.

The words of American musician Lindsey Buckingham came to life in these moments. “But by taking the time away, getting myself off the treadmill, and just slowing down and learning, I felt I had so much more to give back. And maybe that was something that needed to happen for all of us.”

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My Racing Thoughts July 11, 2013

I ran a marathon today. I ran through snow, rain, sun, and leaves. I ran through valleys, mountains, rivers and oceans. Through marshmallow clouds and tornados. Good, bad, or ugly, I ran 26 miles right through everything God threw at me. Then I woke up.

There I was, in the same cozy place as I was when it all started, and I realized I hadn’t actually moved at all. It had all been a dream. And a somewhat intense one at that. I’ve spoken before about my fondness for running wild and free, and my consequent patience in understanding that I instead remain leashed the majority of the time I’m outside. (Heaven forbid I run too far and never find my way back to my forever home). So it doesn’t surprise me that I dream of running and running and running until I can’t run anymore.

What surprised me was the perseverance I had in my dream. As unusual as the combination of hurdles was, nothing could stop me on my mission. Not the changes in the season, nor the struggle up the mountains. I appreciated the valleys, knowing each led to the beautiful stillness atop the next mountain. I didn’t get caught up in the beautiful clouds or the life-changing tornados. I had my eyes on the prize.

Tired from the run

In my dream the prize was the world’s largest dog bone, wrapped in bacon (the real stuff, not any of that Beggin’ Strip garbage) and covered in peanut butter. In reality, my thoughts kept racing after I woke up, but not toward the bacon goodness.

Instead I found myself contemplating the meaning of the marathon dream. I realized my thoughts are like that sometimes; racing along without a care in the world because I know my purpose in life. “Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness,” suggested American inspiration Helen Keller. “It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” My racing thoughts never tire like I did in my dream, always thinking, playing, planning, and dreaming. Always dreaming. And always with purpose. I find it’s pretty easy to do with all that extra time the marathon of life affords us.

Sure, some days are better than others. The sun is shining, and we are at the very top of the mountain breathing in God’s creation that surrounds us. Other days, every step we take is labored as we journey through stormy situations. Some days are marathons. Others are sprints. But perseverance fed by passion and purpose are unstoppable no matter what hurdles come at us.

I didn’t actually go anywhere today. I stayed in my safe, cozy place on the couch. But that didn’t stop me from running a marathon in my dreams. Now where’s my ridiculously delicious prize?