Blog Archives

Strangled

Strangled

I don’t like wearing ties. They aren’t my preferred mode of dress. When I am forced to wear ties I feel as though I am being strangled and somewhere in my mind, there’s a countdown clock ticking to when I can loosen and take it off.

I exclusively wear ties for important events. Weddings (maybe) unless I am the minister officiating the wedding (then definitely), presentations for the company I work for (if the people I am presenting to are expected to be wearing them) and funerals (always). I own enough ties to do each of these a few times a year along with one suit.

Life is meant to be experienced, enjoyed, savored. Even when wearing a tie, or going or doing something we’d rather not be going or doing, it is a moment never to be repeated. Every instant is an opportunity to allow it to exist, to be what it is going to be, without our controlling or manipulating. Nothing lasts forever. Not even wearing ties.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Fuel

Image result for 5 gallon gas tank

Fuel

His braided hair was unkempt, long and matted. His feet and hands were covered in dirt. In his hands was a gas tank and as he approached me I knew what he wanted. “Could you give me some gas?” came the anticipated question. “Sure,” I answered. “Where are you headed?” He named a town not anywhere near the gas station and admitted he had taken several wrong turns, ran out of gas and didn’t have the money to get the gas to get him to his destination. I finished filling up my truck and brought the nozzle over to his small tank. I filled it up and wished him the best in finding his way.

As I drove off I thought about the small act of kindness extended to the unwashed young man and was thankful for the ability to offer grace to him as he traveled. I’m also thankful for the many small and big acts of grace and kindness extended to me over the span of my journey to help me get closer to my destination.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Try Again

Image result for try again

Try Again

All. Day. Long. Dropping things, misplacing things, bumping into things. I don’t know what’s up with my visual acuity and proficient dexterity today but I cannot seem to stop being clumsy. I am in an “oops” state of being. When it happens the first time you don’t really pay attention. When it happens again your eyebrow raises but you don’t panic. When it happens a third, fourth and fifth time you begin to wonder if you should crawl back in the bed and hit the day’s reset button. Oh yeah. There’s not a reset button. So, you simply try to make it through the day without hurting yourself or someone else. Today; graceless and inelegant. Tomorrow, hopefully, less awkward.

It never ceases to amaze me what little control we seem to have on things. How often, things we should be able to grab firmly, escape and elude our grasp. Days like today remind me that we are finite, and if not powerless, certainly much less powerful than we would estimate or imagine.

To grasp the truth of our limited mastery of the little sphere of influence we call existence is the first step to remaining calm and carrying on.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

wp-image-1718483709jpg.jpeg

Fill Up

Related image

Fill Up

Warm weather, especially as you near Spring, has a way of lulling you into a false sense of security. We use a big kerosene heater to warm our little farmhouse and I have two big kerosene cans to fill the lamp when needed. The catch is that we haven’t needed the heater for a couple of weeks because of unseasonable warmth and I had run out of oil the last time I filled it up.

It was warm this week, temps hitting almost 80 degrees on Friday. However, the weekend brought a cool front through the area, and Saturday and Sunday have been chilly! The temps dropped into the 20’s last night and it was cold in the house this morning! I got out of the bed a little after 6 o’clock and realized to warm things up I was going to have to grab the kerosene cans and drive to one of the few gas stations that carry kerosene and fill them up. I did and made it back home, put the kerosene into the heater and its warmth quickly spread through our home.

I didn’t want to get outside this morning, nor drive to a gas station, or stand in the cold while filling up the cans. What I did want was warmth and if you have no fuel you have not heat. A good lesson for little farmhouses and people of all shapes and sizes.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.comwp-image-1718483709jpg.jpeg

 

Lock Up

t

Lock Up

Earlier today, on my way to a meeting, I drove by the local recycling and refuse center to empty some trash-cans I had in the back of my truck. I did the deed and proceeded on my way to work. Arriving at work I then ran a chain through my trash-can handles and locked them to insides of the truck bed liner. I didn’t want someone to steal my garbage containers after all. As I sat in my office I began to wonder; “Who, exactly, would want my trash cans?” These dirty, stinky, scratched, dented, containers of all things nasty and disgusting, who would want them?

Wisdom teaches us that many of the things we value in this life are not treasure but trash. They don’t help us but hinder, don’t support us but weigh us down, add no value to our life. Yet, we hold on to them, protect them, refusing to let the refuse go.

I don’t want to buy new trash cans but I certainly want the desire and strength to let go, throw away, any and all things which contaminate my body, mind, and spirit.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511-3

Ordinary

Ordinary

Most days are ordinary. There’s nothing special about them with the exception of the miracle of being alive, which is truly something if you take the time to stop and think about it which we don’t do nearly as often as we should.

By this definition there wasn’t much that happened today. I had a session with a dad who is probably facing jail time for a poor decision at the wrong time. We talked about what imprisonment does to a family and began making plans for this event that’ll impact his loved ones.

I taught a class in jail this afternoon to a group of guys who are trying to change a life of bad decisions into one they, and their families, can be proud of. We spoke about the importance of making choices that would not harm them or others, especially those they love.

I talked on the phone, answered and sent far too many emails. Now I sit in front of the fire pit watching the logs being eaten by the flame. Like most of my days days, they are disappearing too quickly.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Look Out!

Look Out! –

He came out of nowhere! One minute I’m driving in the backwoods of South Central Tennessee, enjoying a picturesque perfect fall day, the next a squirrel ran right into my lane of traffic! I didn’t have time to swerve, slow down or react in anyway except to close my eyes, hold my breath, and hope for the best. Waiting for the inevitable; “Thump, Thump!” But it never came. Some how, some way, I missed him. “Whew!”

For the past few days my heart and spirit have been heavy. Something unexpected has ran onto my path and I couldn’t avoid it. It was a surprise that’s caused me to reflect, remember and realize there’s nothing I can do but close my eyes, breathe, pray and hope.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com 

Tastes Good 


I like a good Styrofoam cup. It’s one of those simple pleasures in my life.  Plastic cups sweat and make a mess, the liquid becomes warm quickly and watered down with the melted ice. Not so with a Styrofoam one.

McDonald’s has a large drink for a buck served in a Styrofoam cup. A great deal when you’re running between speaking, counseling and teaching.

Tuesday and Wednesday I had long busy days and made two Micky D pit stops for drinks. I forgot to take my cup out of the truck Tuesday evening and Wednesday night, after teaching an incarcerated fathers group, I took a big swig of what I thought was that day’s cup and discovered quickly I was mistaken. “Blech! Nasty!” was my reaction.

It was a distasteful reminder that what satisfies one day may not the next and to know what we thirst for in this life, and the one to come, better taste good in both.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com 

Step Outside

  
It’s been a long day and I am worn out. Partially, I’m whooped because my wife had outpatient surgery today and I spent almost twelve hours in the hospital. The stress of loved ones lives being in another’s hands is intense. Thankfully everything went well and she is home recovering.

The second reason for being exhausted is because I got lost. I didn’t lose my way going to the hospital, getting my wife to the admissions desk or finding her in the Recovery department. Nope I became lost trying to find my car to retrieve the Mrs. when she was discharged. I didn’t realize there were three parking garages connected to this large medical center. As I searched in vain in the first two structures for our little Honda CRV I was growing more confused and frustrated. Finally, after looking over the second with nothing to show for it, I decided to get to the bottom floor, exit and get a better view. I was then able to see the correct garage and I found the car.

Wisdom tells us that sometimes to figure out where you need to go you have to get to the bottom of things. To achieve the best view of life you need to step outside of your current location and walk in a different direction.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

Safe is Not a Place

Last night it was my privilege to give a group of dads a graduating certificate from our Incarcerated Fathers’ class. We began the evening by highlighting the previous twelve weeks and the core values we’ve learned as we walked this path together. Then each dad was called up to the front of the classroom and handed an official certificate stating they had completed the course.

I asked the fathers what they had learned over the last three months. Answers included; “how to respect others, communicate, control emotions, expressing emotions in productive ways, better understanding of how to love their children and family, self-awareness and the need to keep trying and not give up.” I followed by inquiring what they would miss about the class. One father stated; “Being with a group of guys and not worrying about sharing, someone judging, knowing we’re all on the same level trying to be better men and better dads.” For a man to express this in a jail, with a group of men he spends almost every minute of every day was huge and humbling.

One of the keys to listening, learning and changing is feeling safe and jail can be a dangerous place. In spite of being filled with people it can also be depressingly lonely. You keep to yourself, mind your own business and try not to get on the wrong side of anyone. You’re on edge constantly and never let your guard down. For a place designed to keep groups of people confined and secure, isolation and fear are ever-present.

Bring together a group of men who’ve seen the worst this world has to offer, living in a place they don’t want to be, put there by both their choices and the choices of others, plop them in a room and trouble seems the likeliest outcome. However, the opposite can happen if you treat them with respect, listen to their stories, see them as equals and commit to walk this part of their journey with them. Do this and friendships are formed, confessions are uttered, weaknesses recognized, worth is bestowed and people become more than what they believed possible.

We are all so very much alike. What unites us is far greater than what divides us. What we need is someone to help us feel safe, a person who makes us feel accepted, loved, appreciated, valued for where we’ve been and where we’re going.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

wpid-screenshot_2015-07-30-21-13-57-1.jpg

Cutting in Line

This morning I will give a presentation to give to a group of foster parents about the importance of fathers and primary male role models in the lives of children. The location of the session is downtown Nashville and traffic in this ever burgeoning city, like life, is always unpredictable.

I left extra early and to my relief everything ran smoothly. I arrived quite a bit ahead of schedule and so asked Google where the closest McDonald’s was located. When I got to the fast food joint I discovered where all the traffic was…in the drive thru line! It was backed up out of the parking lot and into the street. After finally being able to park I went inside and stood in line to order my coffee and biscuit.

As I waited two women, having a lively conversation, walked through the door and without hesitation made their way to the next available cashier. I thought about speaking up, considered telling them there was a line and to proceed to the back. Instead, I smiled, listened as they placed their order and continued their dialogue with each other. My turn came and all was well. I found a seat, sipped my house blend and ate my “not really good for me but very tasty” sausage biscuit. I did a little reading, tried meditating while the smoothie machine blared in the back ground and was thankful for a moment to center myself before a hectic day.

I think back to the “absorbed in their own world” women who just assumed it was their turn to order and the choice of reactions I had before me. Too often we choose to express or demand our rights, declare outrage at the perceived injustices, refuse to take second place, a position of servant-hood and put others before us.

Allowing irritations, inconveniences, negative situational possibilities to not materialize takes patience, kindness, a refusal to be consumed by ego\self and a willingness to accept that more often than not life doesn’t go as planned.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

wpid-tws-logo-2.jpg.jpeg

Humility & Ignorance

Last night I participated in a group discussion about the need for leaders and teachers to always be learning. We talked about simply telling staff/students to have a life long thirst for knowledge and truly having a personal desire to never stop growing in wisdom. As the discussion progressed one of the participants made the comment; “I have a bacehlor’s and master’s degree. If someone is going to teach me they need to realize and respect how much I already know !” After a few moments I quoted to him a thought from Galileo Galilei;

I’ve never a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.”

A wisdom which is grounded in humility is a heart felt conviction that every person, situation, event is an opportunity to grow, mature, become more aware of a much larger world. Humility allows us to explore the deepest recesses of humanity, be made aware of how small we are and how large the universe of which we are apart.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand  And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,  Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand  And Eternity in an hour.”  ― William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”

Wisdom teaches us to leave our perceptions, labels, convictions of our own aptitude and grandiose opinions of our intellect and accept that we can learn much more when we understand how little we actually know.

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates

blessings,
@brianloging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

wpid-tws-logo-2.jpg.jpeg

 

%d bloggers like this: