Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Things Live in Memories January 10, 2015

I would say I’ve lived a pretty full life. This year I will turn seven doggie years old, and I’ve seen a lot, witnessed a lot and learned a lot in my time living joy from the ground up. But even though that makes me the equivalent of almost 50 people years old, I know I haven’t seen it all. There are lots of people in my life who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more.

Change. From the ground up, I find it’s everywhere. People change and adapt as the world around them evolves. I’ve even seen it as I’ve seen my dear forever mom grow (what some might say is) a bit too attached to her cell phone. The same conceptual device that she used to use to call loved ones has developed into a multi-functional tool. Heck, I can even remember in one of my other (temporary) adoptive homes, they had a phone that was attached to the wall. They had other things I rarely see anymore too, like a humongous box for a television and a record player.

From what I can tell, technology is one of the most rapidly changing things people need to adapt to. And while I feel there is a certain degree of caution that needs to be taken with any and all aforementioned devices, the concept behind the continued modification of society isn’t necessarily a bad one in my mind. Today will become tomorrow whether we like it or not. And that’s nothing to be afraid of in my humble doggie opinion. Hard At Work

I’ve seen a lot in my doggie life. I aspire to see a lot more. But that doesn’t give any less meaning to the things of the past. Though the things themselves may no longer be around, that doesn’t mean they can’t live on through the memories they helped create.

Like this person mom was talking to the other day who fondly remembers when he was seven years old watching the historic 1967 Ice Bowl on 12-inch black and white television with his family. He remembers everything about that day, in part because of that tiny little box that made it all possible.

All good things from the past are not lost. Sure, they are just things. But they are also memories. And memories are meant to hold on to for as long as we’d like.

 

The (Not-So) Funny Phone Fiasco November 3, 2014

I wonder sometimes whether people can predict the future. I know it probably sounds crazy, but sometimes its like there are signs pointing us to what is about to happen and it’s up to us to read them correctly.

Like yesterday, mom absolutely freaked out when she thought for sure she’d lost her phone. She looked everywhere. In all of the couch cushions, upstairs and downstairs, in the kitchen, under the couches, in the fridge (yes, she honestly checked there), in the bedroom, under the bed…you name a spot and she examined it. Everything except the car, where it was, right where she left it.Silly Numbers

I suppose this was a precursor for what would happen today, though none of us realized it. I wasn’t there to see it all unfold, but from what I can tell it was an absolute disaster. I warn you. You may be tempted to laugh when you see what happened, but please try to restrain yourselves, at it is actually a very painful story. (All right, all right, a few giggles is acceptable).

She left it on the roof of the car and drove away. It was that simple, and it was all over in a flash, though she was able to retrieve it when she realized a few moments into her drive what had happened. I swear, she is so attached to that thing, I’m shocked it even took moments for her to miss it.

In the hours that followed, she was reminded what it was like to not have a cell phone to check email, which was bad enough, let alone make any phone calls she needed to make for work. It was far from ideal, and the outlook appeared grim.

The tide changed as it tends to do when dad got home from that place called work, and discussion happened on what to do next. Dad got so worked up about everything, he called the phone company and pleaded with them to help us. Begged is perhaps the better word.

Not only did they offer to help, but when my beloved people got to the store, even more good things happened. I don’t understand everything personally, other than that they came home twice as happy as when they left.

Sometimes that happens. Sometimes a day that can’t get any worse does. But then it gets better. It always gets better. And I can’t help but notice it is usually thanks to a person or people who step aside to make their part of the world a happier place. Today I celebrate those people. Today I say thank you to anyone who has ever made someone’s pretty terrible situation into a better one. You are making the world go round.

 

Game of Direwolves May 23, 2014

It’s kind of like those so-called “smart” phones. Or those newfangled fancy video gaming systems. Or any other kind of technology that discourages actual person-to-person contact. Otherwise known as one of those people things I kind of wish were never invented.

I feel this way about a lot of people technology, including the aforementioned devices. But every now and then I retract my opinion.

Like when there is a fun commercial of that includes a dog on the moving picture window in the living room (otherwise known a TV). Or when a message from one of moms gal pals on her smart phone makes her giggle. Or when dad defeats a level in a video game. All of these things seem to bring the people I love a sense of joy.

As does this show my people have been watching lately. I don’t get it. But, like so many people things in life, I suppose I don’t have to. Because they do. And it seems to bring them joy, or happiness, or at least theatrical enjoyment for the time being.
2014-05-20 18.20.45
Game of Thrones. Apparently it is some sort of phenomenon. Anyone who’s been with me for a while could probably guess what I take from it. It’s probably not what most people take from it, which is something about power and the scary things it can do to people.

Instead I side with the direwolves. I should probably mention my people are not all the way through the series, and therefore I don’t know whether this remains true. But at least from what I can tell in the middle of the second season I know this is my truth.

The direwolves are my heroes. They are strong and fearless and loyal. I think the loyalty might be what I most respect. Above all, they protect their people.

It doesn’t always bring me the sincerest of joy when my people chose to watch them (and the rest of the Game of Thrones cast) on a Friday night, but I was reminded when it happened tonight that it is not about me.

If I am to live as those I respect and idolize, like the direwolves, nothing is really about me. (Gasp, this is tough to digest in some ways). But that’s okay. Because I have so much in my life to be thankful for it’s ridiculous.

Like today when I was outside with my people as they cared for the lawn. Carter was asleep in his room and they were happy in a way they used to be before the little person was in the picture. Mom even took a few minutes of alone time in her hammock in my backyard paradise.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I am not that big a fan of technology. Because (at least in my humble opinion) it takes precious time away from personal interaction.

Like those so-called “smart” phones. Or those newfangled fancy video gaming systems. Or any other kind of technology that discourages actual person-to-person contact. But every now and then these things surprise me with their very own silver lining. Like tonight when all the work was done outside and my people came inside to watch an episode of this “Game of Thrones.”

It was bloody and gory and depressing to me. But those direwolves brought to life for me what I would like to think viewers get from the show. They live and breathe loyalty and life. I’m not sure what else you can ask for when it comes to confusing people television.

 

There’s No App For That Revisited January 30, 2014

Gratitude. Love. Joy. These are big words with a lot of emotion behind them. That’s why I have always been a believer in putting these so-called “Smartphones” away. They take away attention from me. They distract my people. And, in general, I simply don’t care for technology replacing the real thing.
LoveA tiny smiley face on a screen in no way is as powerful as a real one. And (let’s face it) a cyber hug only goes so far. To me there is an entire generation of little people growing up in an age that doesn’t encourage nearly enough physical communication. I don’t really understand what makes these phones so “smart” anyway.

So today I was reading through some comments from my friends in the blogosphere and it occurred to me. I am so often very deeply touched by the words I see on the screen. To all of you (you know who you are) who comment regularly, please know that your words sincerely make my heart swell with joy. That brings the purpose of this blog full circle, as joy truly is best when shared. I share my take on life’s little joys from the ground up with you, and (in turn) you share joy with me.

It’s a very powerful technological cycle that I couldn’t ever replace with physical contact since we are all so far away. Therein I find the silver lining. This thing called technology certainly has its downsides – like replacing attention for the company we keep with company elsewhere – but it’s not like me to miss the silver lining in something. Technology. From the ground up, it in no way can replace the real thing.

But it is still real to both the sender and the receiver of the messages. Gratitude. Love. Joy. While I still feel these are best served in person, that doesn’t entirely negate their value via text message or email. Blessings are being shared. There may not be an app for that, but that’s okay. Because maybe this technology thing isn’t so bad after all.

Related Post: There’s No App For That – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/05/04/theres-no-app-for-that/

 

The Love Tree October 13, 2013

Normally I don’t care much for those things they call Smartphones. They draw attention away from where it belongs (i.e. the company we keep, namely me). They distract people on car rides. And I don’t think they are really all that smart.

But today I witnessed firsthand what I suppose would be the one silver lining within these things called Smartphones. Randomness. This may come as a surprise given my open belief that everything happens for a reason, but it is a concept I can appreciate (and even find some humor in) within the right context. Today, for example, the context made for a pretty special moment of randomness even I could appreciate.Who do you love?

“I love you.” That was it. That’s all the text message contained. And (to be honest) that’s all it needed to say. Mom received that message from her little sister Morgan this afternoon and I’m pretty sure it made her day. Which made my day. Which got me to thinking (of course) about this people theory of randomness.

As I basked in the warmth of another unusually warm fall day, I took note of the tree (my favorite in my backyard paradise) above me. I looked up at the branches, each reaching out to the next. Connecting.

It reminded me of the random bit of love mom received from Morgan. Morgan shared love with mom, who shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. Random? I’m not so sure. But love needs no explanation. And each bit of random love is like a branch, reaching to the next. Connecting.

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit,” Lebanese thinker Khalil Gibran suggested. Well then (I thought to myself as I drifted away into the fabulous dreamland of my second afternoon nap) we must do all we can to share random moments of love with those around us. Heaven forbid anyone experience a life without love.

Morgan shared it with mom, mom shared it with me, and now I share it with you. Please consider reaching out to someone sometime soon. Connecting. Whether in person, on the phone or (gasp) even in a text on one of those Smartphones. Tell them they are loved. Because as ancient Greek theologian Saint Basil proposed, “a tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”