Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The End of The Tunnel April 27, 2014

I’m sure it looks different for everyone. In its various forms, the darkness has a way of encompassing us sometimes. Be it in a job we hate. Or a project that never ends. Maybe in a toxic relationship. Or, in the case of this four-legged life lover, the foe otherwise known as winter. It was awfully nasty this year, despite the bundle of joy it delivered into the lives of my family. (Thank goodness for that!)

Seriously though. Between the record low temperatures, and the snow sneezes that kept coming down on us every couple of days, it was a pretty epically horrendous winter in Wisconsin. And that’s coming from someone who knows winter in Wisconsin. Not to mention someone who makes a point of not complaining about things. I seek to find the good in all people, places and things, and all this talk about terrible weather has certainly not been filled with much (if any) of my usual silver-lining perspective.

Until now. Because the other day it was 70 degrees for the first time in seven months. It was gorgeous outside. And I got to spend time reveling in it all with my beloved family in my backyard paradise. That’s when I realized something I guess I’ve always known but never really paid attention to about that light at the end of the tunnel.

It is so very important because it keeps us going. It motivates us to be better. To do better. To live better. Because it’s always there, guiding the way. But maybe more importantly, the wait is always worth it. Sometimes the longer the struggle, the higher the mountain, the darker the times – the more sincere the joy is when you reach the end. When you reach the light.

That’s certainly how I felt the other day as my whole family laughed together and I wagged and they laughed and none of us knew which came first. I know it looks different for everyone. It happens at different times and varying frequencies for all of us. And I don’t think it’s ever the same twice. Except maybe it is in that one crucial way. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to focus to see it.

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You Just Wait March 12, 2014

Apparently it’s one of those things parents say to each other. Like the never ending piece of advice stuck on repeat in the CD player. And while I’m usually all for taking in and putting to practice any piece of advice or wisdom, this has (of late) been one of my least favorite tracks. You just wait.

When my forever mom was up all night because baby Carter was beat boxing on her ribs, people told her. You just wait. After he was born and he was sleeping in teeny tiny increments of time, people told her. You just wait. Even now, when he’s starting to interact with the world in both smiles and experimental cries, people tell her. You just wait. Cuddles

And I will tell you. Each and every time someone says this, I watch as she visibly tenses up and I know better than anyone else what she’s thinking. YOU just wait. Because here’s the thing about unsolicited advice and wisdom. It’s great when it means something positive. And it’s even all right when it means something negative, as long as it’s delivered in the right way. But even when you’re a boy dog who will never in a million years understand the mystery of birth, I can hear it.

There is something grating about hearing someone imply things will get worse before they will get better. It doesn’t matter if its family life, work life, personal life, or whatever sort of life path you’re on – it just plain sucks to hear even the slightest implication of things being worse on the horizon.

That is, until you live it. I know it grated on my mom’s nerves when people told her to “just wait” for what sleep would be like after the baby was born. I know it the same as I know things will only be getting more complicated from here as Carter figures out his emotions. Happy and sad. Love and hate. Chaos and peace. You just wait.

It’s a track that has been stuck on repeat far too long around here. And yet I know its one we need to hear. Not necessarily as its intended from its various unsolicited advisors. Because tone has no place in true wisdom. Instead I would rather cherish the good things that come to those who “just wait.” I cherish the first full night’s sleep my people have had in a while. And these first smiles that are happening on purpose. And that look of recognition when mom and dad talk and he seems calmed by their voices.

As one who has just waited, I can definitely confirm a certain and undeniable truth. It’s always worth the wait.

 

A Little Dream January 10, 2014

It finally happened. I’ve been thinking about it for months. But I didn’t want to push my luck and try it too soon. So I waited. Perhaps not as patiently as my forever mom and dad would have liked. But I waited. After almost ten months of waiting, that’s saying something.

Well today I got my chance. And let me tell you something. It was worth the wait. Today I got to cuddle with my new little person. It was just as beautiful as I imagined it would be. He was warm. And I could hear his little heart beating. Peace. From the ground up, that’s what was contagious in the Schmidt house today.Peace.

So there we were, snuggling ourselves into the nap world, when things took a turn for the unexpected. For this I was not prepared. It was fleeting. If I hadn’t been peaking at Carter out of the corner of my eye at that exact moment I would have certainly missed it. But I didn’t.

The smile. I can’t explain the joy I felt in the moment I saw that peaceful little smile. I knew then that he was dreaming and selfishly hoped that just maybe he was dreaming about me. Because when I closed my eyes again, I dreamed of him. I saw us together playing catch in a new fenced-in backyard I didn’t recognize. He was laughing, and I was wagging and all was well with the world.

I dreamed this little dream as I napped with baby Carter this afternoon. And it made me realize maybe us canines are more capable of being patient than I thought. “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet,” as 18th century Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggested.

I waited almost ten months for the cuddling I enjoyed today. All that waiting fulfilled in a single sweet moment. It was worth the wait.