Author Archives: thewannabesaint.com

The Risk

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The Risk

There’s a bumblebee stuck on a screen of our front porch. It’s the porch we’ve been building for several months now and have almost everything completed but the doors. There will be double sliding doors leading to the front door of the house and a side door leading to the front of the house. These missing doors leave large gaps to fly to freedom, yet for some reason, for several days, the little-winged insect stays put.

The problem is we’re hoping to finish up the porch quickly so we can enjoy it these spring and summer months. When the doors go up the bee goes out, forced to face the world full of birds, bug zappers, and countless other dangers.

When I see him I think of the invisible barriers that we all place upon our lives. Most of us like the idea of a smaller world.  A place where we aren’t in too much danger, there’s shelter from storms, protection from so many things which we can’t control.

However, to truly live, we must venture beyond our comfort zones and self-constructed barriers. There’s no guarantee we will be safe nor comfortable but freedom is worth the risk.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

In Sight of What’s Important

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In Sight of What’s Important

Last night, my wife, the dog and I sat in the most interior room of our house waiting for the all clear sign to be given. About thirty minutes prior every phone we have buzzed and beeped a cacophonic chorus. We looked at them and they all read; “Tornado Warning! Find Cover Immediately!” When we had received the message we did what all logical beings would do…went outside to see what the sky looked like. It was gray and growing darker. We went inside when lightning began striking and watched until the winds blew the rain sideways and we couldn’t see anymore. We determined it was time to get into the safest room and wait until the storm passed by. I sat holding the laptop and hitting the refresh button, Beth sat petting the dog while hail, rain, and wind pounded the house. After about an hour it was over. No damage was done save a few huge mud puddles littering the front yard.

The darkness and blinding of the wind and rain made it feel more unsafe than anything else. When you can’t see it scares you. You can’t see exits, shelters, ways to protection and safety. Whether storms of the Earth, of the mind or the spirit, sight is valued above all things. Last night I was thankful for shelter, family, and light inside. It was great reminder of what’s important and what’s not.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Best Teachers

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Best Teachers

This morning, while getting ready for work, my mind drifted to a place from several years ago. It was a place I worked at for little over a year and yet it seemed much longer. I thought about the people I knew there, the one who brought blessings into my life and the ones that brought difficulty.

It’s hard to know who your life teachers are especially when going through a painful experience. It’s hard to learn the lessons when you are looking to escape.

There are days when looking back over our lives we wonder if there were teachers in our midst, people we would’ve learned from if we had eyes to see. These instructors-in-disguise might be the ones we struggle with the most but still have valuable lessons to teach us. What is being taught might also be what we don’t want to learn but needed.

Wisdom tells us that people, nature, circumstances are some of our best teachers. All we need is a willing, humble spirit.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Our Greatest Gift and Need

Our Greatest Gift and Need

This morning at church, a video was shown of a woman whose testimony included her first memories of involvement with Christian people. Her family was very poor and people from a church would bring her and her family food, clothing, whatever they could to help these in need. She credits this with why she is still a part of the community of faith today.

After the video the following verses were read from the Gospel according to Saint Luke, chapter 16;
“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.  

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.”

The “rich” compassionless man and the poor needy man switched placed at death. Now, it was the “rich” man who was in need and the “poor beggar” who had plenty.

One of my favorite wisdom quotes is; “Kindness is my religion. Kindness (another word for compassion) is always within our power to give.

Too often we mistake our communities of faith for dogma, certain beliefs, attendance of services, giving of our time, talent and treasure to the community. These are all certainly important but they can never replace kindness, love, compassion. If the former does exceed these we will turn cruel, judgmental, hostile. We will find it is us who are in the greatest need for we have lost our greatest lover.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Old and New

Old and New

Yesterday, on my Facebook memories page, was a picture I took of a wonderful couple Beth and I know in Pennsylvania. It was taken in March of 2014 just after beginning my sabbatical. The smile on both their faces portrayed the genuineness and kindness they had shown Beth and me for many years. They were only in town for a Sunday and after church, we went out to eat. As usual, they picked up the tab and the photo was snapped before we said our goodbyes.

I was in all kinds of pain at that time but didn’t have a real grasp of the mental and emotional toll the previous years had taken on me. I’m still coming to grips with a lot of it.

We had moved from a people, place we loved and had no idea what was ahead. Everything seemed to swirl around us and we could not seem to find a place to plant our feet and get our bearings. Then, along came this couple back into our lives. It was a reminder that love, grace, kindness were still present even though the winds of upheaval seemed to strip away all we held dear.

Most of 2014 seemed like the end of life as we’d known it. It would stay that way for next year. However, slowly we found our feet on firm ground and began building something new.

This evening I am thankful for old friends and new beginnings.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Last Second

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Last Second

Beth and I lost a dear friend yesterday in a car accident. She was 91 years old. She was pulling out of a gas station parking lot and didn’t see an oncoming vehicle. In a moment she was gone leaving behind a wonderful legacy of grace, kindness, and love.

I received the news last night about 8:30PM and I’ve thought about her all day. I’ve reflected upon the sweetness of her spirit, her genuine laugh, and contagious smile. I’ve thought about the violent way she left this world, not at all like the gentleness with which she carried herself.

I first met her in 2008. She was leading a weekly prayer group. She was 82 years old but still had a quick mind and a body, worn down by its eighty-plus years, but she wouldn’t let it stop her. We became quick friends and as I looked at pictures of her today I was reminded all the wonderful things I liked about her.

I can’t help but wonder, as I think of the crash which took her life if she ever saw the vehicle which hit her? Did she react or was there no time in the split-second before impact?

I also wonder, how many of us truly recognize that every next moment, second could be our last?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

The Disease of Busyness

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The Disease of Busyness

Yesterday I attended a webinar on the importance of silence in the discipline of mindfulness. The two speakers, both doctors of psychology, wrote their thesis on the; “the silence in between” the notes in music. These pauses in between are just as important as the notes which are being played.

Too often we construct our lives with what we think makes us successful or at least look the part. We craft an existence that has no place for silence. We believe busyness is a sign of importance. Eugene Peterson says; “Busyness is the disease of our time.”

When there is no place for silence, reflection, taking the time to breathe in quiet and breathe out the noise which pollutes our lives we die on the inside, in the deepest parts of our being where only silence can fill.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

To the Rescue

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To the Rescue

Today I completed my bi-annual training and testing for CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) for a person who has stopped breathing and Abdominal thrusts (also called the “Heimlich maneuver”) which is a first aid procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions (choking) by foreign objects. The training was good and the test wasn’t a problem but the thought of being the one someone was counting on to save their life still is unsettling.

I never considered being a police officer, fireman, doctor, nurse, soldier. These are folks who put their life on the line every day and/or have someone’s life in their hands. There’s a courage and confidence in them I don’t think I have to be able to do these vocations faithfully. I admire and support those who are able to step up and do these jobs so admirably.

However, there may be a time when I am put in the position of being the one who saves. I can only hope that the investment of time and attention in the course today allows me to perform competently until the professionals arrive.

After finishing the course today I also reflected on what it means to “save someone.” It’s not always stopped breathing, hearts not beating, throats choking or other physical emergencies. Sometimes it’s an open ear, kind word or selfless act.

There are people in our lives, those we encounter who need what we can give, we just need the eyes to see them. I wonder if there is a course for that…..?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Each Decision

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Each Decision

One of the hardest disciplines to commit to in life is letting go of things, places, and people who are not good for us.

Wisdom teaches us that to have an ordered life, one that is not torn between calm and chaos, requires us to evaluate all that we possess, or possess us. In an examination such as this, we decide what is holding us back and what will allow us to let go and find serenity.

Google defines serenity as; the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled (“an oasis of serenity amidst the bustling city”). As I read this definition and it’s example, I was struck with the image. As OASIS in a BUSTLING city. The place of peace and stillness is not found in the desert, on a mountain top, a cabin in the woods but in the midst of the hustle and bustle of today, this moment.

Letting go or being dragged comes down to how we want to exist in our physical, emotional and spiritual being. It is the choice we make as each second ticks by leading us to the destination that is dictated by our most important decision.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

 

Powerless

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Powerless –

One of the hardest things to do in life is to admit we are powerless. It’s not in our DNA. We are overcomers. We make a way where there isn’t a way. We will not be conquered, helpless, ineffectual, useless, defenseless, defeated.

However, there are times when we have no choice. In spite of our defiance and indomitable spirit, we must admit we cannot win, change or alter a situation.

Wisdom tells us that submission can at times be our greatest strength. It is when we are still, not struggling, we find our way to peace and contentment. There is a difference between being physically or emotionally powerless and having the ability to know the fight isn’t ours to win.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabsaint.com

The Little Things

The Little Things

Beth and I finally, after two years and some change, finished moving the rest of our stuff from South Carolina to Tennessee this weekend. It’s odd when you find, see stuff you forgot you owned. It takes a while to remember owning it, what it was used for, and, at least for me, the reoccurring thought; “If we haven’t used it for 2+ years maybe we don’t need it.” I asked that question multiple times this weekend and there was always an answer from the Mrs. as to how and why we still needed it.

Sometimes in life we look at stuff we don’t use regularly and ask; “Do I truly need this?” This applies to tangible items, but also to relationships, emotional baggage, spiritual disciplines, and more. We are tempted to think because some aren’t a regular part of our life it is they which must be lacking in importance.

However, if we allow it, wisdom will teach us that the little things, what we often forget or don’t have a prominent place in our lives, are usually what we need and would benefit us the most.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

New Life In Dead Things

New Life in Dead Things – 

This morning I was walking, reflecting, on a number of things in a friend’s yard where we are spending the weekend. As I ambled around I came across a rotted tree stump about three feet tall (pictured). I jiggled it a little then a lot and soon it came loose and broke off from the bottom. Carrying the piece of dead wood to a place to throw it away I felt a flutter by my hand and looked down in time to see a bird fly up and land on a tree limb nearby. At first I thought it strange for a bird to fly that close but then I examined the dead stump in my hand. Looking closely I spotted a hole in the trunk about a quarter size with tiny red dotted eggs. I realized I had, like a giant movie monster, yanked up the bird’s home and carried it off. I gently righted the stump and took it back to where it was removed. I hope the mama bird will return.

It was a wonderful reminder that life can be found even in places which appear desolate, dark and dead.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Left Behind

Left Behind

Whew! It’s been a long day! So, this will be a short entry.

Today, Beth and I went through the belongings of a dear friend who passed a few years ago. It was both erie and interesting.

To know one day each of our lives will be reduced to a few boxes, pieces of furniture and other knick knacks is a great lesson in humility. Truly, what we do, who we are is what matters in the short time we exist in this planet. What a shame it would be to just be remembered for the trinkets we left behind instead who we were and the lives we impacted.

Thankfully, my friend lived a life that touched many, didn’t collect a lot of useless things and as we went through her left-behind belongings they paled in comparison to who she was and what she left in us by her love and grace.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Saving Daylight

Saving Daylight

Daylight savings time happened last Sunday. The days seem to be longer now even though there is still roughly the same amount of daylight. Losing an hour’s worth of sleep isn’t ideal but having the sun still shining at 6:30PM is wonderful.

Time, however, didn’t actually move ahead an hour just as in the fall it doesn’t take a step back. Each of us has 24 hours each day to live. No one has the power to give us more nor can we bargain, beg or steal it.

Following last Sunday we have extra daylight in the evening and as summer approaches we will attain more.  Even then, however, we only have 24 hours each day. The “extra” light in the spring and summer give us opportunities to work out in the garden, on outdoor projects, sit on the porch, take evening walks, make the most of each long day until fall comes to take it’s light back.

Time is a difficult idea to master. Why do some days and seasons feel longer than others? Why does time fly when having fun and drag when things are difficult. Yet 24 hours is allotted to us every day. Whether dark or light, fun or frightening, long or short, it’s what we have, what we need to make the most of while we can.

Do not wish time away, for it is this that life is made of.” #WisdomProverb

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Honk!

Honk! –

This morning, on my way to an appointment, I was driving and approached a side road with a truck and car stopped. At my speed and proximity to both vehicles, I figured they would wait until I passed. The truck began pulling out in front of me and I immediately took my foot off the gas and thought; “You don’t have a lot of room there friend!” I slid my foot back to the gas pedal because there was no way the car would go…it did! “Not smart!” I thought as I hit the brake with my foot and the horn with my hand. What he did wasn’t safe and I wanted him to know I was not happy. I don’t blow the horn often simply because you don’t know what people will do. I’ve seen too many news reports of road rage and you take a chance each time you honk your disapproval at someone’s driving. I watched to make sure the driver wouldn’t turn around but I’m not sure he even knew what he did wrong.

Continuing down the road I reflected on the need for honking, the need for all of us to be told when we do something wrong, unsafe, not smart. Similar to hesitating to honk we are often too timid, concerned with the other’s reaction, offending and ticking off the receiver to give a reprimand when it’s appropriate.

The truth is that each of us makes mistakes, could do a better job at times, don’t look before we leap, and need to be held accountable for the consequences of our decisions. It’s never fun to realize we did something wrong. Too often we equate mistakes and missteps with failure. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Correction, discipline aren’t meant to keep us from trying again but to teach us a better way so that we can succeed the next time.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Punishment or Provision

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Punishment or Provision

This morning, at a County Jail Resource Council Meeting, the group was discussing the different programs and services offered to the residents of the facility. It was stated that we want to do more than incarcerate men and women, we want to rehabilitate them so they can gain the skills and talents to give them the best opportunity to get out and stay out.

One of the programs is an art program. The residents come together and work on a project. A person who works at the jail said the first time he heard the announcement; “…report to the art room,” he thought he was in a school, not a jail. This and other programs offered at the facility have not been without their detractors. “Jail’s for punishing! It’s not for the inmates to have fun, be comfortable, doted on by the staff!

What most of the naysayers don’t understand is if these folks don’t learn good, responsible lessons from the teachers and mentors at the jail they will learn not so good stuff from each other. I’ve seen the cells, the pods, the lockdown rooms. Trust me they’re far from comfortable. As far our treatment of them, some have never known what it is to be loved, cared for, respected. To understand they are of value is the greatest lesson we teach. If they can grasp the truth that they are of great worth, the rest is easy.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Broke and Broken 

Broke or Broken

Someone asked me today what’s the difference between being broke and broken? It was a great question that I am still pondering.

I think being, believing, you are broke is resignation. To be broke spiritually or emotionally is to lose hope of being fixed, reset, used again. I have felt this way in the throes of an episode of major depression. When all is dark and being of any use our used again is lost to the shroud that settles, stifles and suffocates your soul.

To be broken, for me, is to still believe there is life and light to be found in the dark night of the soul. It’s not easy to find hope, purpose, any emotional or spiritual depth but somehow, someway, there’s a place in your inner most being that believes it’ll get better. These are my good days and, though they may seem disheartening to one who has not suffered from depression and anxiety, are worth celebrating.

Broke and broken. Two sides of the same coin where one is a sense of worthlessness and the other a chance for a life which is valued.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Serving Tea

Serving Tea

I had heard the story many times before. As he started talking I already knew how it ended. He’s an addict. He’s been one for almost as long as he can remember and will be one until he dies. The victory of an addict is not to stop being one but learning how to live life clean as one. He wasn’t living free, some of his old acquaintances had become recent friends.

The big three ways an addict stays away from relapse is a clean (drug, alcohol-free) place to live, a permanent job, and supportive friends. None of them are simple to attain and maintain but in my experience with addicts, the one which is the hardest to do is stay around supportive people. The reason this is so difficult for the addict is that oftentimes their addiction has hurt or destroyed the healthy relationships with family and friends which leave them with other addicts and pushers to be around when they are released from jail or a rehab center. It’s also hard to make new or mend relationships when at first you’re only sober moment to moment, hour by hour.

Wisdom tells us that we cannot stop negative people, negative thoughts coming into our lives and minds. However, we don’t have to stay or take up residence. We can choose to make our lives a priority, take care of ourselves so we can one day take care of others.

“You cannot stop negative thoughts from coming in the door of you mind, but you do not have to serve them tea.” #ZenProverb

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Your Path

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Your Path

I had a conversation not long ago with someone who’s trying to stay on a certain path for the rest of his life. I asked him; “How much regret do you have over choices you’ve made, decisions which have shaped your life so far?” He closed his eyes, released a heavy “sigh” and replied; “Plenty.”

I reminded him that every choice he makes takes him down a certain path. “You were born with certain genetics and predispositions. You didn’t choose your parents, the environment you were raised in, the “normal” you existed in that had a big hand in who you were and are today. However, you have the ability to decide if these things will dictate the path of your life or if you will be master of your own fate.” 

All paths lead us to our last day. People will gather, songs will be sung, words will be spoken and the shell known as our bodies will be laid in a box, lowered into the dirt and dirt we shall become. What happens after our burial we have no control but the path we take to get there will either be one chosen for us or one we defiantly, determinedly, choose to walk and not waver.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Hope is Tricky

Hope is Tricky

Fire can be a tricky thing. It doesn’t always burn when you want it to, go out when need it to, spread evenly, move at a trackable rate.

Last night a mighty storm blew through our area and left a lot of dead limbs in its wake (see pic). This afternoon I went out and picked them up. Some were wet, others dry but I was hoping to burn them since it was such a large pile. Pouring a little fuel starter on the pile I lit the match and waited. The fuel burned quickly but didn’t seem to be able to light the other limbs and debris. After half and hour, the flames disappeared and a big puff of smoke emitted from the pile as if the fire gave up.

It was lunch time so I went inside, washed my hands, decided what I wanted for lunch but as I was sitting down it occurred to me to check the fire, “just in case.” I stepped outside to get a view of the pile of limbs and spied one tiny flame. Over the next several minutes the flame grew and before I knew it I was sliding my chair away from the fire as it grew taller and hotter consuming everything. A few moments before it seemed out for the count but it was biding its time, growing warmer, waiting for the right conditions and then everything worked together to feed the flame and devour the pile.

Sitting there I thought about the elusiveness of hope. Hope, like a fire, isn’t always easy to keep lit.In dark times we need the light to see, the warmth of hope to stay focused and alive. However, in desperate seasons, hope seems to be snuffed out. We are drained, drowning in the evil which surrounds us. We need the flames of hope but a puff of smoke seems all we can muster.

Hope takes its time, smoldering, waiting for the right conditions, time and place to burst forth in uncontrollable, consuming flame. Hope can be a tricky thing. It doesn’t always inspire when you want it to, give you strength when you need it to, spread evenly, move at a predictable rate. Hope isn’t ours to control. It’s more powerful than us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

What We Know

What We Know

Wisdom begins when we realize we know nothing.

Philosophers tell us that everything changes, doesn’t stay the same. Mountains wear down, skies fall, mighty trees topple and the greatest among people are but a wisp of wind, sound, and fury signifying nothing.

Reducing our ego is one of the hardest wisdom disciplines. One of my favorite wisdom proverbs says; “Take compliments and criticisms with equal value.” Too often we believe the good and ignore the not so good. It’s easy to focus on what others like about us. We wrap ourselves in the words of friends, families, even those whose positivity drips off their tongue like poison, people who see us mere objects to use to further their objectives. Ego builds us up only to be pulled out from under us by someone with a bigger, stronger ego. We fight back and when one take on another, no one wins and out of control egos only destroy never heal.

Humility is wisdom’s greatest and most difficult lesson. Saying; “No” to puffery and stroking; “Yes” to a self-awareness that leads us to a place where our egos are not bruised, or quickly heal, from a careless word, a selfish act, a purposeful plan to defame, defraud, demolish. Wisdom tells us; “Smaller egos take less time to heal because the wound isn’t as big.”

Socrates once said; “There is true joy (bliss) when we realize we know, and are, nothing.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannebsaint.com

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