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Ripples

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Ripples

Yesterday I told someone about an experience in my life that happened several years ago. They were looking for an example of a certain subject and I had it. As I relayed to them the story you could tell they were surprised but also relieved that someone else had a similar experience that impacted their life. The basic question from the other person was; “Can good rise from bad? Is there a way to navigate a negative part of our journey that will ultimately lead to something positive?” What was interesting is that I didn’t answer their question and they didn’t seem to notice. I’m still waiting for the good, the positive to be revealed from my negative experience. However, what was more important to the person was not what resulted but that I made it through. This gave them hope.

Too often, when going through chaotic times of life we wonder; “Is there a rhyme or reason?” Then we meet someone who’s been through something similar and we are comforted simply by knowing someone who has survived. At first, we want to know how it all ends but we quickly understand each experience no matter how similar is different for everyone with incalculable resolutions. Our deepest desire is to know we are not alone, to believe if another made it through then maybe we can also.

 blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Rain

Rain

For the last few days, we have had a lot of rain. It’s remnants of Hurricane Harvey the horrendous storm which slammed into parts of Texas earlier this week leaving devastation in its wake. Most of the morning and afternoon I have listened to the rain fall on the tin roof of our porch. It’s a mesmerizing and relaxing melody. There is a wisdom proverb which says; “Some people feel the rain other simply get wet.” I am of the former variety. I feel rain, storms, overcast skies. There are times when a rainy day is nourishment to my soul. It’s like the water falling from the sky is landing on my parched spirit and bringing needed comfort and nourishment. In other seasons the overcast clouds and rain dampen my motivation and put me in a trance where I get nothing done.

Without rain, the flower does not grow.”
-Wisdom Proverb

Like the flowers, trees, bushes, and grass we need rain in our lives. We need times of growth and blossoming. However, too much rain, as Houston and other Texas areas dealing with Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, can drown, devastate, and destroy.

Rain, like life, can be beautiful and dangerous.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Craving

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Craving

I had a surprise waiting for me in my workshop this morning. On a table where odds and ends are kept is a pail with a plastic top that’s full of rat poison. We’ve had a wet summer and this might be the reason the rats are keeping near the house. Whatever the reason I don’t want these varmints in or near us. Several weeks ago I bought the rat poison and placed some in strategic areas of the workshop. Since then I’ve found two bodies so I know it’s working. However, today, to my shock the lid of the pail with the poison had been eaten through and there was a rat size hole! I took the lid off and much of the poison had been nibbled on along with rat feces. Yuck!

I’m not sure why it was a surprise to me except that I knew it was poison. The whole point is that the rats smell something which entices them to eat. They have no idea its poison. To them, it simply tastes good. For me, knowing it’s poison means I wear gloves when I open it, place it in the desired area, and seal it tightly when finished. I wash my hands after I am anywhere near the stuff. The difference between me and the rat is I know it kills.

I reflected on this today as I finished up the yard work and came inside. Many of the things we crave; attention, respect, fortune, fame, come with a high price. Wisdom teaches us to not get caught up in the cravings. From our point of view, we wonder; “What’s the harm?” but from those who know, it’s a truth which could save our lives.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Found

Found

I had a friend who used to tell me she felt guilty for falling asleep when praying her nightly prayers. “God must be so disappointed in me! I can’t even stay awake to say goodnight to him.” I knew her heart was full of love and a desire to please God. I listened and then I asked her a question; “What do you think God would like more? To hear you say; ‘Goodnight.’ or for you to fall asleep in his arms?'” She smiled and understood that oftentimes we make our relationship with God more complicated than it should be.

The contemplative way tells us that when we are chopping wood, it is with God. When we eat a meal, it is with God. When sitting quietly, it is with God. All things we do can be with an awareness that God isn’t impressed with our showmanship, rules and regulations, dogma and definitions. God longs for us to realize where we are; he is and our awareness of his presence, our understanding he desires to be with us is the meeting of every need we have now and forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Old Dogs, New Tricks

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Old Dog, New Trick

I just witnessed our Siberian Husky, Trooper, suppress a desire he almost always embraces. Our property is next to a piece of property which belongs to a church. A family was at the church and a little girl bolted out a door and began to run across the property. Trooper was a mere 30 feet from the little one and I ran towards him as soon as I spied the girl. I knew what was going to happen.

I knew what was going to happen. Trooper was going to run after her and most likely scare her, trip her, run all around her, sniffing, wanting to play. He has done it before, more than a few times, and it’s always frightening for all involved. I yelled; “Trooper, no! No! No!” He never moved, was perfectly still and when I called to him, he looked at the running girl, paused, and came trotting over to me. I praised him for being a good dog and he’ll have a special treat with his dinner tonight.

The old saying goes; “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.” This may be true but I witnessed today a dog who’s learned a lesson he’s been taught for a long time and it seems to finally have sunk in.

Perhaps there’s hope for me and others as well.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Dashed Hopes

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Dashed Hopes

One of the incarcerated fathers I work with was told recently by the parole board that it would be at least another 12 months before he would be eligible again. The board didn’t think he was to the point where he was ready to be released. He was crushed by this revelation. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up,’ he said, ‘but they were raised anyway. Now I’m just down and lost.” We spoke for a while about making good choices while he was still incarcerated, using the time wisely by taking other classes the jail offers, hanging around the right people and not giving up. He agreed but I could tell he was coming to grips with dashed hopes.

Hope is a wonderful thing but it can also be devastating when what you desire, long for, remains elusive, out of reach. Hope can help us through the most trying of circumstances and drag out difficult and challenging seasons. Hope can be the driving force behind our survival but it is also the reason we burn ourselves up and out. Trying to figure out when to keep hoping and when to give up hope seems impossible to know. Perhaps giving up hope is not the solution but rather learning where to place our hope is true wisdom.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Lock Up

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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

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Shhhhh

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Shhhhh…

What does it mean to listen?

I had a conversation with a gentleman today about what it means to truly hear another person, to listen intently, empathetically, contemplatively. It’s not an easy discipline to master. To hear another, to touch their true selves takes practice and no small amount of humility.

Most of the time when we are conversing with another person we are simultaneously thinking about what we are going to say in response and filtering what the other is saying through our own life filter.  In other words, we hear according to who we are not the person speaking to us. If we desire to listen, hear the other person speak, feel their words, the emotions behind them we must be a blank paper that they can write upon.

We live in a world where listening is quickly becoming a lost art, a forgotten discipline. To listen to someone is to make a bond, join together, connect on a deeper level than all the drivel which inundates our lives through TV, radio, internet, social media each day.

Contemplative listening is letting a person speak their words, to have them imprinted upon us, without a ready response or hasty judgement. It is to touch the soul of the other and know that neither will be the same afterwards.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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My Kind of Reality

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My Kind of Reality

I like the truth behind this quote from Bill Waterson. Many realities are forced upon us by different medias, people, cultures, and environments. We are told what to think, who to trust, where we’re supposed to go and how we are to get there.

I enjoy social media for the most part. Catching up and keeping up with people whom I care for and love is one of the biggest positives of being connected. However, one of the worst bits of social media is the relentless posts on political preferences, judgements and snarky remarks against folks who have done one thing or another to upset the poster. There are litmus tests such as abortion, gay rights, presidential candidates, celebrities, and a host of other subjects that decide for us whether or not a person is worth our time, and perhaps even our love. I am consistently appalled at the vitriol people say to one another online, things, I hope, they’d never say face to face.

It seems we’re surrounded by litmus tests such as abortion, gay rights, presidential candidates, celebrities, and a host of other subjects that decide whether we ae worth a person’s attention or their love. If we fail, we’re not worthy.

It wears me out! This isn’t the reality I choose to live in. I want to be in a place where people can believe and express different opinions and still be friends. I desire a world more nuanced where one won’t decide whether a person is good or bad by whether they agree or disagree on a subject the other is passionate about. I long to see people converse instead of scream, listen and not talk incessantly, have an open heart and spirit to the one who is different, offensive and human, just like us.

This is the reality I choose and pray others will join me.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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No Dumping

No Dumping

The other day someone mentioned a piece of juicy gossip to me. I replied; “Hmmm…didn’t know that.” and quickly exited the conversation by finding something else to do some place else. One of the things I enjoy is; “Being out of the loop.” I don’t have any desire to know secrets, troubles, and provocative nuggets of information about other people. The truth is I have enough junk of my own  and enough problems to deal with that folks can keep others’ tidbits out of my life.

If someone is going through a hard time, facing unfortunate circumstances and needs an ear to bend, or a shoulder to lean on, mine are available but those who are only spreading family and friends’  business all over can stay away. I only have enough passion, energy and time to deal with what should be in my life not what others want to dump there.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Our Displeasure

Our Displeasure

My Siberian Husky, Trooper, is a nut. He’s always in a hurry to go somewhere, fast! He feels left out if you leave him inside while you do a task outside. He wants to be in on everything I do, tagging along, “supervising.” He’s especially not fond of being chained up when I use the riding mower to cut the lawn.

The reason I place him on the chain out-of-the-way is that he wants to be near me. His desire for closeness results in him being in front, on the side and behind the mower. Its dangerous and so he’s put in a safe place until I finish. However, he doesn’t understand the reason so he expresses his displeasure by pulling the chain as far as it will go and then standing on his hind legs and howls, loudly! If you’ve never heard a Husky howl, click here for a few YouTube videos of Huskies getting their howl on! (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=husky%20yelling) I can hear his protestations over the lawn mower and ear plugs. In spite of my empathy for his plight I know the reason he’s there and, until the proper time, his screaming doesn’t dissuade my resolution.

Wisdom teaches us that limits and boundaries in life are necessary. There are times when we want to go further, harder, reach the summits of our dreams and desire yet something seems to hold us back from achieving what we so desperately want. We complain, scream, cite unfairness and simply don’t understand why we can’t have everything. Perhaps we can’t see the whole picture. Maybe there’s a danger we can’t see. Possibly acquiring our highest aspiration would lead us down a path which would threaten us and all we hold dear.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Stop Searching

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We are missing a few cans of paint.  No idea where they are hiding.  We’ve looked every place we know to look but haven’t found them. The Mrs.  thinks I’ve put them somewhere and forgot, she’s probably right. Nonetheless, after searching high and low, wide and narrow, we have yet to locate the elusive cans.

As I searched for them and tried to think of other places they may be I’ve reflected on the wisdom quote; “Stop searching and you will find that which you seek.” The meaning is simple but the discipline is difficult.

Too often we want our problems solved now, our challenges conquered, our questions answered, our purposes revealed. However, our desire for resolution and the timetable for the eventual solving of them are rarely aligned.

Allowing for patience as the path unfolds. Accepting the limits of our power and knowledge. Living life with open hand instead of trying to grasp, manipulate, control is not easy but worth understanding and doing.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Our Purpose

The lawn caretakers for the church next door came early this morning, before 7AM. Luckily I was already up and taking the dog outside for his morning routine. As I stood there, in my bathrobe, I heard a noise over the sound of the zero turn lawn mowers. At first I couldn’t make it out but as I focused on the sound it became clear someone was singing. It was one of the men on the mowers. He had headphones on and whatever song was playing he was singing along with it. I began to smile. He hadn’t seen me and continued for a while bellowing at the top of is lungs. Before long he noticed me, quieted down until me and the dog went inside.For a lawn jockey he was a decent singer. He didn’t need to be any more talented than what he was because his purpose was to mow grass, take care of lawns, not entertain folks with his musical abilities.

The incident reminded me of a professor I had in college. I asked him one day; “How can we, who are so frail, weak, selfish, short-sighted and sinful, so human, ever please a God who is so good?” He smiled and took a pen from his shirt pocket and pointed out the scratches, dings and dents, faded color of the imitated gold casing and asked me; “What is the purpose of this pen? Is it to look good? Impress by its shine? Cause awe to all who behold it? Or, is it to write when pressed on to a piece of paper?” “To write.” I said. “Then it is a perfect pen because it fulfills its purpose. As long as it writes, its perfect no matter what it looks on the outside. In the same way our purpose is to love and be loved by God. Oftentimes we aren’t much to look at but if we desire to love and be loved by our Heavenly Father we are fulfilling our purpose and His love is what makes us perfect.”

He was a wise man.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Bug, Windshield or Road?

This afternoon, on my way back from a community meeting, I noticed my windshield was dirty and depressed the level on my steering column which sprayed a chemical onto the filthy glass, causing the wipers to vigorously move left to right and back again several times. After a few moments it was clean, clear and bright. “Nice!, much better.” I thought. Almost immediately another big bug splatted on the windshield. It would’ve hit me between the eyes if not for the protective glass. “Sheesh!” was my next thought. I shook my head at “my kind of luck” and cleaned it again expecting another bug to sacrifice himself on my windshield just as the wipers finished their work.

As I waited for this kamikaze bug I reflected on life and our desperate desire for cleanliness, orderliness in a chaotic, messy world. No matter how much we want or anticipate an end to the unpredictability and muck of our existence the truth is life will never be our definition of spotless and safe. Each of us travel this road and our focus can be the bugs or the distance we are covering.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Who We Desire to Be

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If humanity made a 2016 resolution to quit being rude and allow niceness and kindness to rule they must’ve changed their mind.

My first stop this morning was taking my push mower to get it serviced. The person behind the counter acted like I was asking him to fix it personally and came up with several excuses as why he couldn’t fulfill the extended warranty. Finally, he relented and I was worn out with the hassle. My next stop was to buy a kerosene heater and a cashier refused to answer a question I had about the product. I figured out the answer myself. My last stop was to buy kerosene and the line inside to prepay was long. When another cashier opened up a woman cut in front of me without any hesitation. “Oy!” I was thankful when I pulled into the driveway to be greeted by the smile of my beautiful bride.

Being kind, nice, peaceful, in a world seemingly intent on being anything but, can be difficult. In these trying times we must remind ourselves we do not base our emotions, words and actions on what others do but on who we desire to be.

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

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the Path We Walk

A few months ago I spoke with someone who was heartbroken over the life choices being made by someone they cared for deeply. It was an agonizing conversation and a stark reminder of how little control we have over another’s path. We fool ourselves rather easily when it comes to those we care for and the way their life ultimately unfolds. We like to think we can convince them to turn around, take a right or left, choose the way we believe is best for them. In truth, this power eludes us. We have no more real control over another being than waves that roll on the ocean, a moon staying in orbit, whether or not the sun shines. Good or bad, right or wrong, negative or positive another’s ability to set out on a course cannot be diverged from unless the other chooses to do so or gives their power over to someone or something else.

What we do have control over is our reaction to their actions, our responses to their choices. Will love or rejection be the way, grace or condemnation shown, presence or absence in one whose life choices we struggle with, don’t understand, would change if we were able. One of the hardest and most difficult battles in life is the acceptance that each of us choose our path and the ultimate destination.

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

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Going in Circles

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Yesterday evening,  the sun was setting as Beth and I we’re covering plants in preparation for a heavy frost. As we finished up our outside work, I spotted an inch worm slowly making its way around the rim of a flower pot. I watched him stretch forward and pull the rest of his body up and repeat the process. I wondered where it was going? It was a lot of effort to just go in a circle. Sooner or later it would need to change direction if it was ever going to get anywhere.

I then begin to think about my journey and the journey of others I’ve known. There are paths we choose to take that lead us no where. Dreams and what we hope for don’t happen. Plans for our life go awry and yet stubbornly we cling to our desires trying in vain to control, coerce, make life fit our vision. We try and fail, using great effort and passion but never getting anywhere.

The choice becomes do we keep going in circles or decide to change direction? Can we let go of what we want our life to be, take a new path trusting it will lead us to the life we need?

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

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