Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Rear View Mirror November 15, 2013

It has many faces and wears many hats. But the faces scare me and (let’s be honest) hats are not a dog’s best friend. Evil. It’s become such a foreign concept to me in my forever home, that it’s commonplace for me to forget it exists altogether.

Then I see something like I did on the side of the road on the way to the dog park, and it all comes rushing back. I know mom saw it too, and neither of us knew what to do. It was startling. So we drove on, and I wondered whether that was really the right thing to do. A man and a woman were arguing by a car when it happened. The man took the woman by the neck and (rather violently) threw her toward the nearby ditch. I was relieved to see them both get in the car and drive away from the safety of the rear view mirror.

Rear View MirrorWe made it to the park a few minutes later and I found myself lost in my thoughts as mom and I walked together on the trail. I realized that’s kind of the embodiment of evil in my life. The rear view mirror. It’s in my past, behind me and forgotten. And for that I am so grateful. But it’s not that way for everyone. Seeing what happened to that poor woman on the side of the road today was proof enough of that.

Maybe I’ve been going about this concept of evil all wrong. Just because something is in the mirror doesn’t mean it’s not really there. It’s there, alive and real, and ready to take the wheel if we let it. It does no good to pretend it isn’t.

Evil. My journey through life has led me to believe it has many faces and wears many hats. It’s that man on the side of the road. It’s in the eyes of Demon Dog in my backyard. It was in the hands of the man with the leather belt. It’s in the worry currently consuming my people. The faces of evil scare me and (let’s be honest) hats are not a dog’s best friend. But that’s no reason to ignore it altogether.

“Wisdom we know is the knowledge of good and evil,” suggested American writer John Cheever, “not the strength to chose between the two.” It’s an easy choice to me. What’s more challenging is looking in that rear view mirror, acknowledging the evil that exists, and moving on. Make them wonder why you’re smiling. Because good ultimately wins that battle every time.

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Pawsing Amidst the Noise August 30, 2013

They are apparently called hogs. Yet they sound more like lions. And I thought hogs was a synonym for pigs. My surroundings sure have me confused today.

Then I heard mom and dad talking and it all came together. H.O.G. stands for Harley’s Owner Group, which is widely known and respected as the world’s largest motorcycle club. These motorcycles roar loudly like lions. And these “hogs” taking over our city this weekend are not pigs. They are people coming in from all over the world to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson. They’re coming to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it all began. They’re coming home.

Being Still

I have to admit, these motorcycle contraptions appear to be a lot of fun. They are loud, fast, and no two bikes look alike. Beyond that, their owners are incredibly passionate about all things Harley. And I know dogs are learning how to drive cars in Australia, so I’m not sure what that means for our future in motorcycles.

I don’t suppose it matters all that much, especially with a little person on the way. But all of this noise got me to thinking about noise in our lives. It can be actual noise, like the constant roaring I am hearing outside my forever home tonight. Or it can be figurative noise, like when our brains can’t focus because there is simply too much happening in our minds. I think mom has this kind of noise in her head at night sometimes when she can’t sleep.

Being still amidst the noise isn’t always easy to do and yet I think that makes it even more important. The noise around the neighborhood tonight reminds me of the importance of pawsing to be still. Quiet. Peaceful.

“See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence,” suggested Mother Teresa. “We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

This is not to say there is anything wrong with enjoying the roar of motorcycle horsepower. In fact, I know some Harley lovers who would argue the sound is one of the most important markers of a Harley compared to other motorcycles. But those moments in between the noise are special too. I think these moments of silence amidst the noise are a big part of what this anniversary celebration is really about – passion. History. Culture.

They might be called hogs and roar like lions but they sure have a whole lot of heart. Welcome home.