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.

 

Like A Heartbeat May 17, 2014

I think there is a distinct difference between a habit and repetition. At least from what I observe in human behavior. From what I can tell, a habit occurs mindlessly, like when I scratch that same spot by my collar on my neck seventeen times a day. This is different from when I spin in circles trying to find the absolute perfect spot on the bed or the couch or the floor or my dog bed. It is different from repetition, which (at least in my humble doggie opinion) occurs as the result of a conscious effort of some sort. Writer's Block?

I got to thinking about this today as my people worked in the yard. It’s the same work they always do this time of year, with the flowers and the hanging baskets and the mulch and the bird seed. It’s all too familiar, being the third time I’ve witnessed it all. It seems like a lot of work to me from my given spot of relaxation at the moment. Yet it seems to bring them joy and happiness. So my heart sings, no matter how tired it gets watching them work so tirelessly.

It made me think a little about this struggle I’m having with the blog. I’ve been at a crossroads lately trying to figure out whether my doggie opinion on things is still relevant and interesting. It certainly is in my humble mind. But it’s hard to tell sometimes.

I guess this is true for anyone at some point in life. Anyone can start to question why they are doing something – is it a habit or mindful repetition? And is either one so bad? This is a living part of my struggle as I was starting to worry I was repeating myself. But today, as I watched my beloved forever people plant the same flowers in the same place they have for the last three summers, I realized something.

A little repetition isn’t so bad. It keeps us steady. It reminds us where we came from and where we’re going. It’s like a heartbeat that keeps life’s beat in order. “Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind,” said Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. That is the least I could possibly hope for on this journey of blogging. So I chose to beat on. Not out of habit, but through embracing the repetition that makes life real.