Category Archives: Contemplative

Loneliness

Spoke to my spirit this morning…
#blessings
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com


Whenever you feel lonely, you must try to find the source of this feeling. You are inclined either to run away from your loneliness or to dwell in it. When you run away from it, your loneliness does not really diminish; you simply force it out of your mind temporarily. When you start dwelling in it, your feelings only become stronger, and you slip into depression.

The spiritual task is not to escape your loneliness, not to let yourself drown in it, but to find its source. This is not so easy to do, but when you can somehow identify the place from which these feelings emerge, they will lose some of their power over you. This identification is not an intellectual task; it is a task of the heart. With your heart you must search for that place without fear.

This is an important search because it leads you to discern something good about yourself. The pain of your loneliness may be rooted in your deepest vocation. You might find that your loneliness is linked to your call to live completely for God. Thus your loneliness may be revealed to you as the other side of your unique gift. Once you can experience in your innermost being the truth of this, you may find your loneliness not only tolerable but even fruitful. What seemed primarily painful may then become a feeling that, though painful, opens for you the way to an even deeper knowledge of God’s love.

#HenriNouwen

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Useful

Late last week I stopped by a parcel store to return a few items to Amazon. It should’ve been free but the woman behind the counter told me it would cost $2. I handed her my debit card and then she told me it wasn’t accepted unless the cost was $5 or more. “Grrrr!” She said I was welcome to buy a soft drink and cookies or candy which were conveniently nearby. Not wanting anything I asked her to wait, walked out to my truck and began digging out pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from the coin slot. I use my debit card almost exclusively so the coins had been collected over several years. They were dirty and sticky from a tube of chapstick that had busted. I wiped them off, spread them out on the driver’s seat, counted out $2, and took them in to the clerk. All paid up I went home.

I thought about those coins as I drove. Until the moment I used them they were just… there. Many times I almost gave them to someone, deposited them, even thought of throwing the messy ones away. Then, not even realizing I would need them, they were there for me.

Perhaps this is life. Things that seem useless become useful, stuff taking up space are the right fit at the right time, jobs that are hard and wear us down reveal a purpose and show us why we are needed, people we didn’t know we could count on reveal themselves to be true friends.

Life is full of surprises and grace. Being mindful that all things could be a blessing in disguise is both challenging and rewarding.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Sharing

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Anyway Part 2

A few days ago I blogged about not wanting help unloading a truck full of windows and getting it anyway (https://thewannabesaint.com/2019/01/20/anyway/).

As me and the helper emptied the truck I was trying to place the windows into the dumpster without breaking any panes so others wouldn’t have to walk on broken glass or cut themselves. In spite of my best efforts I somehow broke one. I saw the crack, then watched as a large piece of the pane slowly broke away and dropped, shattering on the metal floor. Many pieces of a whole now scattered never to be put together again.

I thought about life and how things that were once treasured and useful are now considered disposable. The pieces of glass a reminder of what was once cut and fitted in a window to allow light, air, scents, life into a home, now trampled and useless.

Be careful not to take the good for granted. It’s never guaranteed to be there the next moment, time, or season.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Anyway

Earlier this week I took some old windows to the dump. The bed of the truck was full and after arriving I began to unload. A man who needed to use the same dumpster pulled in and waited for me to finish. He got out of his truck, walked over and asked if I needed any help. I told him; “No, thank you,” and kept working. He jumped in the dumpster and helped anyway. At first I was aggravated but it was a lot of windows and by helping me he also helped himself. We finished and I told him thank you and asked if I could help him. He said; “That’s okay.” I told him thanks again and headed to an appointment, appreciative of the help even if at first it was unwanted.

There are moments, days, seasons, in our lives when we have enough or more than enough junk to handle. It can be overwhelming but we don’t ask for or desire help because we feel the burden is ours to bear alone. There are those family members, friends, even strangers, however, that see our struggle and insist on assisting us anyway. We may at first resist but when the burden is finally lifted we are thankful and humbled by the grace extended.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Ashes

The last two weeks I’ve been cleaning out the big shed and the workshop. Lots of things stored, projects started but not finished, items never used. Some of it went to Goodwill, some will be sold, and the useless stuff I burned in the firepit.

Today, I was cleaning out the pit and came across pieces of wood, shards of metal, and other unidentifiable remains. Most of it I couldn’t tell what it was originally. I was unable to recognize what was by looking at what remained. The fire had twisted, reshaped, destroyed, and remade.

Life is hard. What it does to us, the people we love, makes it almost impossible to endure at times. The fire of distruction, the flames of chaos, the intense heat of accidents and choices, reshape us into someone we don’t recognize, and can’t remember what our life was like before.

Perhaps what emerges from the ashes will be beautiful. However, when we are in the fire, all we know is life will never be the same again.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Stay

Last week, one morning when I had the dogs outside taking care of business, we were up the hill of our backyard.

I’ve been working with our Beagle-Walker, “Scooby”, for almost three months training him to be a service dog. There are parts he’s excelling at and others that need more work. I had his leash but had let him off to work on obeying the “come” command. He was twenty feet away from me when down at the beginning of the driveway a brown dog appeared. Me and Scooby spotted it at the same time. I said; “Scooby! Scooby!” He stood still and I was getting to him as fast as I could without startling him as he stared at the unwelcome visitor. Quivering with energy and instinct he took off when I was five feet away! “Scooby! No!” but it was too late. He was gone. I leashed up Trooper (our Siberian Husky), went searching, and found him at a neighbor’s house.

There are seasons of loss in all our Iives. Times when what or who we love won’t stay. No matter what we say, do, or plan, we can’t keep relationships from dissolving, death knocking on a loved one’s door, jobs we care about ending, places we treasure disappearing, other occurrences happening, which alter us forever.

One of the most important disciplines we can learn is the practice of letting go and accepting that which we cannot change.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Understanding Christmas

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Passing Down Traditions

blessings,

@BrianLoging

thewannabesaint.com

What We Have

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Be Still

A Christmas card came in the mail last week from Beth’s cousin. The Bible verse on the outside cover was Psalm 46:10; “Be still and know that I am God.” This has been my favorite Psalm for longer than I can remember.

Before I was diagnosed with a Chronic Major Depressive Disorder and a Severe Anxiety Disorder I knew there was a lot of chatter in my head. Regrets about the past, being unworthy in the present, and fear of the unknown and uncontrollable. Combined with incessant negative self-talk and panic in many situations, this verse was a plea, a prayer, a reminder.

I still pray this verse every day. My mind, despite therapy and medication, still swirls. Filled with unwelcome thoughts and ruminations this verse can anchor me sometimes. Other moments it’s a desperate hope that maybe one day the verse will be one of of thankfulness.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Stillness is…

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Kindness

I bought a smart watch during the week of sales at Thanksgiving. One of the apps installed on it reminds me to take mindful breaths during the day. It also asks questions that make me more aware of myself and others.

One of today’s question was; “Is there someone near you who could use some kindness?” At that moment I was by myself but I thought of someone I could call. So, I did. The conversation wasn’t long but it was good to connect, remind the person they are cared for and loved.

Truthfully I don’t think I would’ve thought of the person without the question but was thankful for the reminder and the follow through.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Perspective

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Be Silent

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Mocking

The last few days have been perfect for raking. The idea of gathering the leaves and disposing of them so one can have a nice, neat, immaculate yard is exhilarating! As I raked today the wind was blowing and leaves kept falling. One leaf landed on my shoulder as if the trees were mocking my efforts. It could have been defeating but instead I accepted it was never going to be flawless but it will be better than what it is currently.

Or world is messy. Troubles, difficulties, and challenges seem to fall from the sky. We want to make it all better but evil and negligence mock us. This is when we decide to give up or do what we can, when we can, and make even a small part of this planet we call home better.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Pulled Up through the Roots

Image result for psalm 1 tree water

Pulled Up through the Roots

It was late last night when I finally sat down and read scripture for the day. It was Psalm 1. I read it as rain pounded on the roof, truly one of life’s most beautiful sounds. We’ve been dry lately. The storms have passed us by leaving the ground, trees, and plants desperate for water. Earlier in the evening, I thought I heard raining so I turned off all the fans and listened as it pinged on our porch’s tin roof. I checked again before heading to the bedroom and it was still coming down.

Psalm 1 says this:

-The Two Ways-

Blessed are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or be counted among the malcontents;
their delight is in the of the Lord and his way,
and on him, they meditate day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so 
but are like dry leaves and bark that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not be found innocent,
nor sinners among the people who are humble;
for the Lord watches over the way of all,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I reflected on these verses as I listened to the rain and it was a great reminder not to be an unpleasant person, not to choose a way of life that only benefits myself, to be rooted in God, pulling up through my roots; love, kindness, humility, and bloom in a too often evil world.

For more posts, reflections, poems, and other writings, please visit: http://www.thewannabesaint.com

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

Balancing Act

Image result for balance lawn mower hill

Balancing Act

There is an area in our yard next to the road that is tricky to mow. It is a sharp incline and in order to the get the job done the mower and the rider has to be at a steep angle. When I mow this particular spot in the yard I sit halfway on the seat with my body leaning in the opposite direction of the incline. The balance has to be perfect. Too far off the seat the mower doesn’t sense enough pressure on the seat and shuts off. Don’t lean far enough and there’s a chance the mower and rider could topple over. It’s a twenty-five yard long, difficult and dangerous, balancing act.

Life is also a balancing act. We live in perilous times. All one has to do is turn on the television, log online, and get the sense our families, communities, nations, and world is one mistake from toppling over into a dangerous place and we may not recover.

The problem is balance.  Sides are chosen, political parties picked, litmus tests are given, judgments made and those on the other side, even ones seeking a middle way, are labeled as; “the enemy.” I don’t know if we are going to make it back from the edge of disaster but I do know it takes more strength to listen than to ignore, to understand than to shout down, to accept than to reject, to see others as us than ‘less than,’ to find balance than to demand conformity.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Quiet Corners

Quiet Corners –

I spent the day in a stuffy shed cleaning out items which have accumulated over many years. It was hot today! The forecast said temperatures were going to be in the in 90’s. As a result, there was an old metal fan switched to the high setting blowing in my ear. Add to that sounds of metal scraping, ladders being moved, dust blowers humming, brooms sweeping, a cacophony of loud obnoxious sounds. After a while, I got used to the noise and didn’t notice until I came inside. I sat down and the only sound was a ceiling fan. It seemed loud because everything else in the house was quiet. Following a day when the noise was overabundant, the need for quiet was desperate. I turned down the ceiling fan and soaked in the silence, thankful for the stark reminder that our world is noisy!

Noise can be overwhelming, we must find the quiet corners or never find peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Mush

Image result for brain mush

Mush

My brain has officially turned to mush! After two full days of training in Nashville, my head organ can take no more! It is full of pieces of information, stories, facts, figures, graphs, bars, charts and more. I know in a few days when everything I received processes everything it will be worth the mental fatigue but right now it’s like my brain is in a blender set on high. My eyes are heavy from lack of sleep, my back hurts from sitting for two straight days in a non-reclining chair, my stomach hungry for homemade food and nothing pre-packaged. It’s amazing, or horrifying, that your body, mind, and spirit can be so out of sync after a couple of days.

This morning, on my way into Nashville, I listened to a prayer app and it has a time, after the invitation to pray, to pause and be silent. As silence filled the car I thought about how disjointed I felt, vowed to never work in Nashville and drive into the city every day, reflected on the difference between a room full of forty people plus four teachers and the quietude of the moment and then the app started playing scripture. I wasn’t ready for the noise. I said out loud; “Not long enough!”, then sighed and continued.

Silence is underrated.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Old News

Image result for burnt newspaper

Old News

The last couple of weeks of February have been a rough time for me the last several years. There are painful, heart hurting memories which seem to resurface and dealing with these challenging emotions is difficult.

Today I cleaned up our yard after a round of storms and rain this last week. I threw them on a burn pile and set it afire. I also had some old fence pieces and newspapers to burn. The newspapers are from my wife. She is doing her best to understand and begin to use extreme couponing in an effort to save money. I made sure to take old piles of newspaper and watched as the flames began consuming them. I tried reading some of the headlines and articles before the fire reached them and then they were gone.

As the fire leaped into the air I thought about it being old news which was out of date and historical. I also reflected on the memories I’ve struggled with the last few weeks and tried to remind myself that healing and time can also consume the heartache of the past and that our history enlightens our present.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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