Blog Archives

Pick Up

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Pick Up

This afternoon it was hot. So hot that I was struggling to walk up a hill on my exercise route. As I labored to make it up a man in an old pick-up truck pulled up beside me and asked; “Need a lift?” I smiled, thanked him and replied; “No thank you. Just trying to get in shape.” He nodded and drove off. It was nice of the man to stop and ask but it also brought up images of stories I’ve read on the news about people hitchhiking, accepting a ride and never being heard from again.

We live in a place and time when even genuine offers of help are looked on with suspicion. I don’t like that this world has made me more dubious, overly cautious, hesitant to see an act of kindness as anything less than gracious.

I don’t know how we turn it around. I’m not sure what to do to make the world more hospitable and less hostile. I think it starts with laying aside our fears and living free. I believe we need more acceptance and less aggression.

Or…maybe we can’t and a better world is a dream. I guess it’s up to all of us to determine if dreams do come true.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Balancing Act

Balance

Life is a balancing act. It is a lesson I have been keenly aware of this week. To walk the line between the joy of being alive and the acceptance that one day everything, everyone dies takes careful, reflectful steps. If you veer too far one way or the other you fall into illusion and suffering.

We all want to live but not just live, to thrive. This is our desire for those we love as well. If we could we would protect ourselves and everyone we care about from disease, difficulties, and death. However, when we forget our place, our lack of power and lack of ability to make life safe and well, we become anxious, envious and desperate.

It takes a while to learn to walk through the narrow gate of humility and acceptance. The narrow path becomes more narrow but the paradox is the smaller the way becomes the more we open ourselves to grace and healing.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Perfectly Acceptable

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Perfectly Acceptable –

It is time!” my wife told me last night. “Cutting the lawn can wait no longer!” I was hoping to wait until mid-April because mowing the grass too early can leave it vulnerable to disease. However, last week the church beside us cut theirs and now our yard looks even more unkempt. So, if it doesn’t rain today and the grass can dry out from a shower last night, I will mow today.

I blame the mild winter and the enormous amounts of rain we’ve had the last two months on the lawn being so out of control. Everything is blooming, budding sprouting and looks beautiful. The grass is the exception. It’s not all one height. Part of the grass is several inches tall while other parts are just turning green and still short.

Waiting for the sun and slight wind of this beautiful spring day to chase away the moisture I’m also reflecting on how the lawn and life are similar. There are parts of our lives where everything seems to be growing and flourishing while other parts seem to have trouble keeping up. There are relationships that are blossoming and healthy while we struggle with others. Our job may be going well but our home life needs improving. We are well-balanced emotionally but our physical side could use some conditioning. Mentally we are strong but spiritually we are lacking.

Wisdom teaches us that life is rarely, if ever, simultaneously great or terrible. What we look to do is find balance and acceptance. To do this we must ask; “Are we giving too much time to one area while neglecting another?” or “Is it just seasonal?” Perhaps a little more attention and lot more patience and we will see the blessing of a life that’s not perfect but is loved, accepted and a work in progress.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Futility

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Futility

The first Thursday of each month is a busy one. It is on this day that I go to an out-of-town rehabilitation center and lecture close to 100 men, in multiple classes, about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and the impact it has upon them and their families. My schedule necessitates that I have to leave early so this morning I decided to take my coffee with me. I prepared it with cream and sweetener, placed it in a cup with a top and sat it by the front door so I would remember to grab it when I picked up my bag.

I’ve done this countless times before and never had a problem. However, today, after I got ready, picked up my bag, I opened the door and spilled the coffee everywhere. I ran and grabbed a few paper towels, cleaned up the mess and had about a 1/3 of a cup left over. I had the cup in one hand, the bag over my shoulder, the keys in my other hand. Locking the door I turned around and somehow, someway, caught my foot on a rug on the porch, twisted my ankle, and came crashing down on my left knee scraping it in several places. To top it off the rest of the coffee was now on the porch and stoop. In that moment, I sat the cup upright, left it on the porch and drove off.

There are times in life where something we want, desire, crave just wasn’t meant to be ours. We may fight for it, jump through hoops, feel we’ve earned it but in the end, it wasn’t meant to be. How we react when we realize our quest is futile is key to acceptance and contentment. Do we let go and move on or do we continue to grab at what refuses to be grasped?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Enjoyment and Loss

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Enjoyment and Loss

A clump of faded feathers is all that’s left of a once majestic and beautiful sight.

Several months ago Beth came home from work and told me about two Peacocks she had seen a few miles up the road from us. She described them as “gorgeous” and “amazing“. I had never seen the birds so we hopped in the truck and went to the spot where they had been but there was no sign of them. Several times over the preceding months she spotted them but I was never able to catch even a glimpse.

Then a couple of weeks ago I spied something in the middle of the road. As I got closer my heart sank because I could tell by the color and size of the feathers that one of the peacocks had been hit by a vehicle. The ugliness of the sight was in stark contrast to the beautiful feathers scattered everywhere. When I arrived at the house I asked Beth if she had seen the downed bird. She hadn’t and I had to break the news to her.

We live in a world where nothing lasts. Even those things which seem permanent are slowly being worn away by time. The highest mountain will one day be laid low, the largest boulder ground into dust. Transience, change, gain, and loss; all part of the experience we call life.

Wisdom teaches us to take nothing for granted because all is vapor and smoke. This truth is not to discourage us from investing ourselves in the enjoyment of life in the present moment but to stop us from clinging to what cannot and will not last. To embrace the blessing of each moment while also letting it go is difficult and the key to acceptance and freedom.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Small Things

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Small Things

An Israeli woman accidentally stepped on a Garden Snail and instead of ignoring it, kicking it to the side, wiping off her feet in disgust, took the small creature to the veterinarian to save its life. (Full story and link below).

It’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference. We forget this wisdom lesson so easily. We are wrapped up in our world, being the center of our own universe, the main character, and hero of our own story. Too often the small, insignificant, unnoticed and nobodies are ignored and unseen.

A friend asked me today; “Is there an objective reality?” I answered; “I don’t think so. There is the reality we exist in which for us seems real but is in fact shaped by nature, nurture, our experiences and expectations. We believe it’s real but in truth, our reality is no more real than another person’s.” I continued; “I don’t believe we can find an objective reality but we can be aware of our own limited knowledge, biases, beliefs and agendas. When we become self-aware we are able to accept that which we cannot know and humility is the path to wisdom.

A small snail crawling on the ground. An accidental injury. A reaction that seems extreme to some is empathy and kindness in this woman’s reality. To be aware of the small things, like snails and our own existence is to see and understand more than most.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Israeli Woman Accidentally Steps on Garden Snail, Takes It to the Vet to Save Its Life

(http://www.odditycentral.com/news/israeli-woman-accidentally-steps-on-garden-snail-takes-it-to-the-vet-to-save-its-life.html)

The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

 The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc  patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

Handle with Care

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Handle with Care

I gave myself a concussion today! Well, probably not an officially medically diagnosed concussion but I whacked my head pretty bad with a rake handle. We’ve had some much-needed rain this week and as has been my ritual the last several weeks I went out today and raked. The leaves were wet which made them heavier and there was a large collection I was moving and pushing with the rake when it snapped at the end and pressure I was exerting on the leaves reversed itself and cracked me on the head and ear. It was painful enough I dropped to my knees and if saying; “OWWWWWW!” counts as a prayer I did a lot of praying. After the pain subsided I began looking for a replacement handle. Finding one I removed the broken handle and attached one from another garden tool. My head, and especially the ear, continued to hurt the rest of the afternoon but the replacement handle worked fine and I was able to finish the job.

Wisdom teaches us that life comes with pain and brokenness. There is no secret prayer, acquired knowledge, or anything one can do to have a life free of suffering. What we can do, however, is accept what comes, fix and heal when we can, and keep going.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannebsaint.com

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Leaving Tomorrow Be

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Leaving Tomorrow Be

Yesterday I spent most of the mid-morning and early afternoon raking leaves. It was a nice day, almost 80 degrees and the job was pleasant enough and kept my mind from racing as it so often does. After raking for a while I noticed that as soon as I raked a leaf another would fall in its place. I looked up and saw the trees were more than two-thirds full which meant I would be doing this again, and again, in the near and distant future.

There was a part of me that questioned the validity of raking leaves when there would be more tomorrow but I know if I don’t take care of the ones I can today, tomorrow may be too much to handle. So, I raked, front, sides, back and when I finished, sure enough, leaves were already covering parts of the yard. I, however, took heart at a job well done and accepted the truth of repeating the chore.

Wisdom tells us that we are not to worry about tomorrow because today has enough worries of its own. Leaves will keep falling until the trees are almost bare. I will keep raking until the yard doesn’t need it any longer. I have learned the lesson of doing in the present what can be done and letting go of what may happen tomorrow. When tomorrow does turn in today I will again do my best and that will be enough.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Take Care

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Take Care

Yesterday, during my second lecture at a Rehabilitation Center, a young man challenged me about the ideas and skills I was teaching about getting and staying clean of alcohol and drugs. It started as fidgeting in his seat and then he couldn’t keep his thoughts quiet! He mumbled something out loud and I heard but didn’t understand. I looked at him and asked him what he said.  I was interested in a dialogue but he was only interested in telling me how wrong I was about addicts and the ongoing journey to sobriety.

I was careful not to feel attacked nor make him feel on the defensive as I tried to help him understand why what I was saying was true. Others in the group started speaking up and telling the young man he needed to listen. I thanked the others for their support but asked them to let me speak to him so he wouldn’t feel the group of forty or so guys was against him. Unfortunately, the young man was done speaking and listening. My last words to him were; “I’d really like to talk to you about this after we’re done with the lecture.” He put his head down and when we were done he rushed out of the room. I looked for him as I was leaving but couldn’t find him.

This was the young man’s first time in a Rehab Center. He was struggling with admitting he was an addict, putting his past behind him, coming to grips with the truth that addiction is a life long battle. His thoughts, I am sure, swirled between surrender and control, acceptance and resistance, freedom and slavery.

People who have lived with addiction will tell you that the temptation to use begins in the mind, subtle thoughts start gnawing at you and soon, if they are not checked, you are neck-deep in things you said you’d never do again.

Wisdom teaches us that our thoughts and our words are to be guarded zealously for from them springs our destiny.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Growth

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Growth

Whew! Spent most of the day framing in the porch. We are almost ready for the screening and the end is in sight. There’s a good tired feeling after a day’s worth of hard work and feeling as if you’ve accomplished a lot.

To finish out the day I watered our plants and flowers. It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had any rain and they were quite thirsty. In the front yard, we have four Blue Spruces. We bought them at the same time and they looked the same; small and a bluish-green. However, today, when I was watering them I noticed they all looked different. They were planted at the same time, are basically in the same place. They receive water, mulch, pruning at the same time and yet they are growing in disparate ways. One is taller, one is “fatter”, one has two stems on top, and one looks bigger than all the others. Even though they’ve received the same amount of attention, sunshine, rain, hot and cool days, the are not the same.

Wisdom teaches us that people are similar to the Blue Spruces. They grow at different rates, in different ways, at different times. Often we forget how unique each of us are in how we mature emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We are tempted to judge negatively those who aren’t keeping up with others only later to perhaps discover an unexpected growth spurt from a “late bloomer” has surpassed them all. Patience. Acceptance. Perseverance. These are all needed attributes when measuring the growth and maturation of those around us.

“Never judge a person’s progress no matter how slow.” -Plato

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Season Pass

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Season Pass

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~ Author Unknown

On my way back from a lecture today in Hohenwald, TN the sun was shining brightly through the limbs of the trees which are rapidly becoming barren. It still feels like summer with temps in the low to mid 90’s but fall is approaching. The leaves are already giving up their grips and descending to the ground. We probably won’t have too much color as they turn this year due to the lack of rain this hot and barren summer.

Fall is another reminder of the transience of life. Summer’s rapid end reflects our own aging and how life is fleeting. The youth of spring and summer is like the cool morning mist of fall; easy to see but impossible to grasp and hold on to.

Accepting that life’s seasons pass quickly is the first step to living fully in every moment, not taking for granted any breath, experience, ray of sunshine, or drop of rain. Wisdom teaches us to be mindful of every moment for these are what life is made up of.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Rest and Suffering

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Rest and Suffering

Yesterday afternoon, on my way back from an out-of-town meeting, I passed a delivery truck. Its hood was up, flashers on, obviously broke down and not going anywhere. What caught my attention was the driver. He was laying down in a shady spot, one arm for a pillow and the other holding a cellphone and talking. He wasn’t nervously pacing, angrily kicking tires, yelling into the phone. If he could’ve fixed the truck I am sure he would have. If there was a way to deliver his goods he would’ve completed his goals for the day. Instead, he was resting because there wasn’t anything else to do but wait.

I struggle following this man’s example. I like rhythm, order, control. I don’t like surprises, detours, or delays. There is certainly a part of that which comes from having a Severe Anxiety Disorder. Mapping out the day so it can be more easily managed is part of my therapy. However, I also believe it’s very human to want control, to get things done in a timely manner, to feel like our lives are not always a random gathering of happenstance.

Wisdom teaches us that the distance between acceptance of what happens every moment and our expectation of what should happen every moment is where suffering is found. Knowing how to rest in the unplanned, perhaps even unwanted, experiences of life is one of the toughest and most valuable lessons we can learn.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The Obstacle is the Path

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The Obstacle is the Path

This morning, on my way  to Fayetteville, Tennessee, I came across a couch in the middle of a 4 way stop intersection. It didn’t take me long to come to the conclusion; “That doesn’t belong there!” It had obviously been dropped  out of a vehicle because it was broken in half and the feet and cushions were scattered. I cautiously drove around the couch, and through the intersection, continuing on my journey wondering who dropped it, why and that someone should pick up the unsightly mess before some body gets hurt.

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A few more miles down the road a baby deer hopped onto the road while its sibling stayed off to the side. I slowed down and thought; “What a beautiful sight!” and proceeded cautiously in case the one, not on the road, decided it wanted to be reunited with its sibling. I soaked in the beauty of nature, wondered where its mother was and was thankful for being present at that time and place.

Two sights, two different responses.

I reflected on how we decide what should and should not be on our road of life. For the unwanted, ugly, messy thing we judge as not worthy, we try to avoid it and want it gone. To others, which we deem as beautiful and worthy, we are thankful and count ourselves blessed to enjoy the wonderment of life.

Wisdom teaches us to accept all things on the road of life. We are not to judge which is good or bad, positive or negative, but to allow the possibility of everything to teach and guide us. It is only when we stop slapping labels on things, (including people) and accept each experience with open minds, hearts, and spirits that we can appreciate, find the mystery and beauty in all obstacles on the road of life.

“The obstacle is the path.” -Wisdom Proverb

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Accepting Both

Accepting Both

This morning I was trying to explain to the dog that; “sniffing” was not the point of him being outside. Realizing, again, our Siberian Husky doesn’t speak English I felt something buzz my head. It sounded like a huge BumbleBee (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumblebee), flinching I tried to spot the culprit and instead spotted a Hummingbird (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummingbird). It was fluttering from one plant to another looking for nectar. I was mesmerized by its quick, sporadic, movement and “invisible wings.” I know that a Hummingbird’s wings are not transparent they just flap them incredibly fast and they are amazing creatures to watch. I forgot about the dog and watched the bird until it landed on a branch and began watching me. I was still as possible but Trooper had finished, came running back, and frightened it flew away.

A few hours later I mowed, weeded, the yard and after I finished I sat down outside drinking water and trying to cool off. I enjoyed the shade and a nice stiff breeze. I watched as the wind blew limbs, petals, leaves and grass. I thought to myself; “This is the second time today I’ve watched the effects of something I can’t see; the wings of the Hummingbird and the wind.”

I reflected on the invisible forces which move in our lives, propelling us on our path. There are seasons when these unseen powers blow chaos, difficulties, and tragedies and like the leaves and grass we are helpless to stop it. Other times, like the Hummingbird, with great effort we can choose to move to the rhythm of goodness and light.

True wisdom is not knowing how to avoid the hard times but accepting both with grace and humility.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannbesaint.com

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Grow Again

Grow Again

A few weeks ago when I mowed our lawn it seemed mostly running the blades over dirt. However, the last week and a half has brought several days of much-needed rain and the grass is growing again. In less than a week since the last mow the yard needs cutting again! I am certainly not complaining. I would rather mow more often than look at brown grass and stunted plants. I don’t know if the rain will continue to fall but I am enjoying every drop that settles on the parched land.

It’s interesting how new patterns in life can emerge. For most of the summer the rain would fall around us, just a few miles away but not often at our place. Now we are enjoying being on the receiving end.

The rain is a wonderful reminder that life seems unfair when others are being “blessed” while we are merely witnesses. Though we try to be thankful for others’ gifts and favors we can’t help but wonder; “Why not us?” The answer is often elusive but patience and acceptance are the lessons learned and for these we should be thankful.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Almost There

Almost There

April showers might bring May flowers but very little rain in May might not be a good sign for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday evening the Mrs. and I were outside looking at the skies hoping for rain. It was cloudy, gray and looked promising. As we watched it began to rain on a field across the street. We stood and watched the rain so tantalizingly close but seemingly not moving our way. “Come on!” I yelled, not sure if rain had ears but willing to take a chance. After what felt like forever the drops of rain began to move across the field and toward our house. Slowly, steadily we watched it soak the street, the driveway and then it began pouring all over the yard. It was wonderful! (If I had known yelling at rain would make it come to me, I’d have done it sooner.)

Life can be this way at times. We enter a season of dryness when our spirits and emotions are barren. We search for renewal and restoration and may even feel they are incredibly close but nothing seems to happen. We shout at the heavens pleading for the rejuvenation we so desperately need. Wisdom teaches us that in time, and on time, revitalization will come. It cannot be forced or coerced but if we are willing to accept, what is beyond our power to control, we will be strengthened and enlightened when the moment and our path are in sync with our need.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Comparing

Comparing

I came out to my wife this weekend.

I had been in the closet for too long and on our way to Franklin, TN on Saturday I stepped into the light and admitted being a closet Adele fan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adele). It wasn’t a predetermined choice but I was singing the song; “Hello” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfG6VKnjrVw) without realizing it and Beth, a long time Adele fan, asked incredulously; “Are you singing an Adele song?!?!” and I came clean.

Saturday afternoon, the song still stuck in my head, I looked up the video on YouTube and began listening to it. As I listened to it, I started reading the comments (never a good choice). To my astonishment the song playing wasn’t being sung by Adele but by someone who sounded like her. I couldn’t tell the difference at first but some of the commenters noticed and didn’t spare the feelings of the person who uploaded the video. They accused her of being a; “want to be Adele, she didn’t sound like the famous singer, should never sing again, was hurting their ears, etc.” I was dumbstruck. The singer on the video had a fantastic voice and I think if the people making the rude remarks hadn’t heard it sung by a famous professional singer first, they would’ve been much more accepting and complimentary.

When life is about judging ourselves and others by a set of standards most, if not all, can’t reach, then we, and perhaps even the recipients of our expectations, are guaranteed to live a miserable and hopeless existence.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Grabbing or Letting Go

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A mother’s work is never done…

This morning, during worship, a young rascal of a boy was giving his mom a hard time, on Mother’s Day, no less. After a while the mom had enough of his mischief and began to escort him out of the sanctuary for an “intense conversation.” The son, seeing what was happening, grabbed onto the edge of the wooden pew, deciding he didn’t want to go. The mom, who was having no more of it, bent down, whispered into the youngster’s ear and the boy promptly let go. It was a funny scene to watch but I’m sure the mother wasn’t amused.

Stifling my laughter I thought about how often as a young boy I had reached the end of my mom’s good grace and needed an “intense conversation” to help me get back on the straight and narrow. I also reflected on life and it’s ability to change, quickly. We are often dragged into a place, a season, not of our choosing. It isn’t pleasant but it is necessary. The question becomes; “Will we accept and let go or grab and fight that which we cannot change?”

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Knock Knock

Someone unexpected came to the front door today and rang the doorbell, followed by several knocks. I’m not sure why by but my anxiety rises when folks come to the house unannounced. I’ve never had something bad happened when a person or group of people came calling I just freeze for a moment, my mind filled with questions; “who is that? what do they want? did we forget we have company coming over? how quickly can we clean up the house?” Most times it’s a girl scout or someone collecting monies for a volunteer organization, a neighbor or friend. In spite of my confusion and surprise the only way to know who it is, what they want, it is to answer the door and go from there.

Life is this way. Many things come unannounced into our life, knocking on our door, barging into our existence. We may want to hide, ignore, hope it goes away but most times it keeps knocking until we answer the door. No matter what it is or what it wants, we must face it, accept it, adapt to it, live with it and learn from it.

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

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Blinded by the Light

Yesterday evening, as the sun set and the autumn cool air settled in, I gathered some wood, placed it in the fire pit, started a fire, sat in an Adirondack chair and stared at the stars becoming visible in the quickly darkening sky. I breathed out the hustle and bustle and breathed in relaxation. Silence and beauty, what more could you want after a busy day?

Then, out of the corner or my eye, I spied a bright light. I looked over and let out a frustrated “sigh!” The farmer who owns the land adjacent to ours had come on his big, green, John Deere tractor to rake the hay he cut earlier in the day. “Ugh!” What was a serene, peaceful moment of reflection and relaxation turned quickly into a noisy, dusty, beams of lights in my eyes disappointment.

I understand the days are getting shorter. I know the seasons are changing. I recognize the driver of the big, loud machine would also rather be somewhere else but this knowledge still didn’t stop me from being annoyed. As I sat there stewing a few questions came to my mind and spirit; “Is the fire no longer beautiful? Are the stars any less in number? Did the fall breeze cease?” Of course the answers to each of these were; “no.

In life few things are, or stay, our definition of perfection. Wisdom teaches us that acceptance and embrace of change, disruption, the passing of “perfect” moments is vital to peace of mind and spirit. Being able to adapt, finding the gift, and the good, even in moments of frustration and disappointment is needed and necessary.

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

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Saving a Place

Saturday evening it was raining and cold outside but the house was warm and dry. Beth had driven up to Nashville so I plopped down on the couch, threw a blanket over me and finished watching a documentary I’d been viewing for almost a week.

The film is entitled; “The Amish: Shunned” and dealt with Amish children who, when they were old enough to choose, could leave home. Most of us have made the decision to move away from home to go to college, rent or buy a place of our own and see it as a rite of passage into adulthood. For the Amish, however, the choice to leave brought with it stigma, judgement and a loss of family and community.

The documentary followed several young and middle-aged Amish who chose to walk away from their quaint, confined culture and into a big, strange, new world. Some stayed on the outside and never returned, others decided to go back. The stories of families who refused to speak with their “shunned” children, wouldn’t invite them into their childhood home when they visited were heartbreaking. One man spoke of reconciling with his father after twenty-five years of estrangement. Another recounts a family reunion when her parents pulled the curtains shut so no one would see their prodigal daughter was home. To be sure there were exceptions to the strict adherence to the Amish rules of conduct but they were rare. I found myself growing frustrated as the film concluded. I didn’t understand how a parent could choose community over a child. I am confused by the stubbornness and belief that “shunning” saves the Amish way and possibly the child who chooses to leave.

One of the last parts of the documentary was an unseen Amish man speaking, they don’t allow themselves to appear on camera, who describes how each family sets the dining room table with a spot for those who are missing. “Three times a day,’ he says, ‘those who’ve left know there is still a place for them. There will always be room at the table.'” I both loved and disliked the symbol of the empty place setting. I loved it because they hadn’t forgotten the ones who were no longer there. I disliked it because the only way home was conditional, an adoption of particular a way of life the shunned no longer wanted.

Being truly accepted, loved, a part of a family or community comes from unconditional love and irresistible grace.

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

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