Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Lesson In Sacrifice December 23, 2013

Disgruntled, disheveled and exhausted. Or in other words crabby. That’s how mom came home today from that place called work. Apparently her mood was reflective of the majority of the folks with whom she came into contact today. People who wanted things done. Now. Unless yesterday is possible, in which case they would prefer that.

The truth is, on a day like today, you are only one person who can really only do one thing: your best. I got the impression that’s what she did, but it sure took its toll on her emotions. She looked like she could cry the moment she walked in the door. And my keen attentiveness to such things informs me this would most definitely not have been tears of joy.

Watching and waitingThat’s when it happened. Just as she came through the door, dad stepped up to the plate. He took one for the team. I was ready with all my usual tactics for brining joy into a room and dad beat me to it. He swept her away to some place immediately upon her arrival home and when they returned they were laughing. No more almost tears. It was really something to see.

What mom doesn’t know is dad had a rough day too. He didn’t sleep much last night either. He’s overcome with worry of his own about all things pregnancy and labor and baby related. I’ve even been guilty of forgetting this in the last nine months. But none of that mattered in those crucial moments when mom got home. He pushed everything he was feeling aside to bring joy to mom.

I never really have to do such things. Sure, I worry and have my own things that evoke fear and stress. But for me, bringing joy to the lives of others rarely (if ever) involves sacrifice. The way I see it its ingrained in me as my work in my forever home. Except it’s not work because I love it so much. It’s part of what I’m meant to do.

Dad, on the other hand, definitely sacrificed his own thoughts and emotions to support mom tonight. And I’m proud of him. “If you want to be loved, be lovable,” suggested ancient Roman poet Ovid. Mom certainly wasn’t lovable upon returning home from that place called work today. Regardless of the reasons, she was an emotional wreck. But dad loves and cared for her anyway. And it worked. That’s the thing about selflessness – it tends to do the trick every time.

 

But Now I See November 9, 2013

It doesn’t happen often. But when it does I’m in trouble. Big trouble.

Today it happened for the purest of reasons. Mom opened the front door to greet my aunt Morgan and I ran. To greet her, not to run away. But it makes all of the people in my life so nervous when I get outside without my leash. I forget this when I get excited. I wish there was a way for me to tell them there’s no way I could do it. I’m not going anywhere, at least not on purpose. Everything along my path in life has led me here, to my forever home. I would never leave it behind. Another Purpose-Filled Day at the Office

So I don’t know how Elroy did it. From puppyhood until a few months ago, he lived with a friend of my mom’s named Melissa. She took care of him, trained him and (most importantly) she loved him. A lot. And she still does. But Elroy doesn’t live with her anymore.

Now he lives with a new person named Catalina. He was paired with her through the Leader Dogs for the Blind program, which provides guide dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired to enhance their mobility, independence and quality of life. Melissa (and her husband Daniel) were puppy raiser volunteers as part of this program. It was among the best – and hardest – things they’ve ever done.

I know Melissa and Daniel miss Elroy. And he misses them. But he has a new purpose now: to bring joy from the ground up to the life of Catalina. To be her eyes. And to nurture her heart. She was blind, but now she sees. Elroy is an inspiration.

Because I certainly couldn’t do it. Everything in my past has led me to this point, to my forever home, with my forever people. They are my purpose in life. Purpose is one of those powerful things that brings focus to even the cloudiest of situations.

“True happiness…is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose,” suggested American heroine Helen Keller. Melissa and Daniel did a truly selfless thing in raising Elroy. But they had purpose. As does Elroy. As do I. Before I met my people, I was blind. But now I see.

This post is dedicated to the wonderful program that is Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Photo courtesy of Leader Dogs for the Blind

Photo courtesy of Leader Dogs for the Blind

All of my best to Elroy, Melissa and Daniel, and Catalina.

 

Your Teacher Heart September 16, 2013

Every now and then someone will ask me a question that I truly don’t know how to answer. (Want to go …anywhere…is not the question, in case you were wondering). How did you get so smart? They ask. Even if I could speak people, I’m not sure what my answer would be.

The thing is, I wouldn’t say I’m particularly smart. I’m not (that) special. Perhaps that’s why people think I’m smart. Because I’ve noticed a trend in modern society that people generally are not as smart as they think they are. A concept I think can go both ways.

Psychology aside, I do sometimes wonder where “smart” comes from. It’s not among the list of qualities American author John Grogan said seem to come so effortlessly to dogs: “loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love.” Grogan hypothesizes these emotions that are second nature to canines can be “elusive to humans.”

I can’t say this is true for everyone, but it does spark a curiosity in my heart. And I beg to differ with the popular thought that curiosity killed the cat. First, because I think it’s a terrible thing to say even if it is theoretical. Second, because I think curiosity of the heart is the ultimate spark for learning.Love. Unplugged.

This occurred to me today as I dreamed of meeting my little person and all he or she has to learn about the world. I found myself both excited and overwhelmed by the insight of my dog park friend Tucker, who shared with me all about his little person Mason. They are best buddies, and they are constantly learning from each other. But Mason is 13 people years old now. My little person will be brand new to the world the same time he or she is brand new to me. Talk about pressure.

Then I took a deep sighing breath (the kind that catches the attention of my forever mom and inevitably merits a scratch behind the ears) as I realized something that gave me the sincerest form of peace. I don’t know what I’m so worried about. My heart is my teacher. That’s why things like loyalty and selflessness come so easy to me. It’s all rooted in the unconditional love in my heart.

Every now and then someone will ask me a question that I truly don’t know how to answer. How did you get so smart? Beyond the people/dog language barrier lies their answer. I’m not. Not in the conventional sense at least. But I do know where smart comes from. It comes from a curiosity of the heart. It stems from a desire to be loyal, devoted, selfless and optimistic. It is love.

This post is dedicated to my dear blog friend Utesmile, whose encouragement inspired these words.