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Unrepeatable Miracle

Unrepeatable Miracle

I think we forget how amazing the truth that we exist. On some plane of reality, we are present. A one of a kind, never happened before, not to be repeated miracle of life.

I have been watching an unsolved mystery documentary series and a few episodes deal with the proof, or lack thereof, of aliens. I don’t believe in aliens. I understand my non-belief does not negate their existence but the more I read about science and the odds of the right planet being formed, at the right time, with the right basic building blocks of life, the critical, tenuous stages of evolution, that have made us possible, the more convinced I become we are indeed a miracle. Every one of us.

With this limited understanding and unending quest for wisdom and truth, we approach each day, hour, moment. Too often we treat our lives with disregard. “Tomorrow is a new day. I will take care of this tomorrow. I will love better, live better, be better, tomorrow.” However, in the corners of our minds, in the deepest parts of our spirits, we know tomorrow is not guaranteed. Right now is a miracle and we exist only here.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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I think the world stinks! Somedays. Other days its okay and on a rare occasion I see the best in humanity and what we’re capable of and it makes the day brighter

Earlier this week a man was contemplating ending his life. It’s not an easy decision to make but he had decided at least to walk to the bridge and then choose his next step. People say that those who threaten don’t want to commit suicide they want attention. It’s only those who choose to do it secretly, commit the act in privacy who are serious. This is not true. When someone decides to take their own life they may choose to do it in any number of ways, telling or not telling any number of people. This is why all threats of suicide should be taken seriously.

Back to the man on the bridge, contemplating his existence, his purpose in life and whether both were at an end. As he wrestled with one of life’s ultimate decisions police and crisis personnel tried to persuade him not to do it. Then, semi-truckers began to pull under the bridge and stop! They were doing their best to fill up enough space under the bridge that the man couldn’t end his life. They had loads to deliver, jobs to do, families to feed and paychecks to earn but they put their livelihoods aside to try to convince this man that people cared. Read story: (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/04/24/a-man-nearly-jumped-off-an-overpass-13-truckers-made-a-safety-net/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.006906aecec9)

Life is hard, the world is a mess, our nation is falling apart. Each of us can do something to show someone who feels unloved how much we care, clean up our part of the planet, heal our community and be the difference between life and death.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannbesaint.com

Full of Junk

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Full of Junk

Today is President’s Day. I wish I would’ve remembered that before this afternoon. The last few weeks have been rough weather wise. Cold, rainy, windy and our trash has piled up in the bin outside. Finally, today, it was dry enough to put the all the trash in the back of the truck and take it to the Refuse and Recycle Center. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do it before meeting with some fathers today so it sat in the back of the truck until afternoon. My truck looked like Sanford and Son. After finishing up my appointments I headed to the dump. I was almost there and thankful to get rid of the trash. Then, to my disbelieving eyes, the gates were closed and it dawned on me; “President’s Day.” It was a holiday and county employees weren’t working today. My truck would stay loaded down until tomorrow. “Grrrr!” and “Sigh.

Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” Easy sentence to write a hard sentence to live. We are surrounded by many negative things which can be like anchors to our spirits. Violence, injustice, racism, sexism, bigotry, and all sorts of evil that threaten to permeate our souls. We must be careful, watchful, mindful to not allow this corruption of creation to become a part of us, absorb us, soak up our existence and make us apart of what we should be fighting against.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Hate

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Hate

I listened to a conversation this week where the person told another, to their face, that they hated them. “I hated you when you left,” they said. “It took a long time to not hate you anymore.” It was an honest and startling admission. Most times people are adept at not showing the person they hate their true feelings.

It left me with a question; “Have I ever, in my life, hated someone?” I define hate; as the inability to see the good in someone. As I reflected on the question a person came to mind. If I’ve ever hated someone, according to my definition, this man fit the criteria. I had the hardest time seeing the good, the light, the benefit of his existence, the unique expression of God in him. It was, at times, impossible to not be suspicious of his motives, think of the worst outcome of his decisions, belittle his beliefs and talents. Then, one day, ranting in my head about something he had done the question came from out of the blue; “Can you see any good in this man?” My mind stopped dead in its tracks. The answer was “no, I couldn’t.” It was then I realized the problem wasn’t him it was me.

I’d love to post about how this moment fixed everything but it didn’t. However, it did give me a new way of looking at this person and my role in the frustration, anxiety, and chaos within me. It took me a long time to forgive the hurt and betrayal he had caused but I began focusing on what was going on inside of me instead of what someone was doing on the outside. This made all the difference.

“You will never see God until you can see Him in every next face you see.” #SaintMotherTeresa

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Revealed

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Revealed

Have you ever had someone talk about their funeral with you? I have many times. It’s surreal and humbling all at once.

We spend our lives chasing things which will pass, change, not stay or fulfill us. We ignore death as if that will somehow postpone its inevitability. However, when death becomes a reality and we see life for what it is; most an illusory, transient and brief journey our vision of ourselves and the world changes.

For some, there is anger that they cannot stave off death, it will not leave them alone. They are frustrated by their lack of control over the greatest danger to their destiny and existence.

Others, those who’ve accepted death and have made peace with their limited time in this physical realm have a unique way about them. Their transience doesn’t make them less caring but more empathetic and kind. Knowing each breath could be their last they don’t want it to be used taking but giving, not insulting but praising, not knocking down but lifting up, not selfish but selfless.

Death, the ultimate equalizer, and character revealer.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Flash

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Flash

I once heard someone say that following God is like walking in the woods during a thunderstorm. It’s only when the lightning flashes that you can see the way.

Life is complicated. A twist of fate here, a turn on a dime there; troubles and difficulties can come crashing down upon us or disappear entirely. We build schedules, erect houses, buildings and monuments to give us a sense of control only to have them washed away by the power and randomness of existence.

Wisdom teaches us that any type of control is an illusion. We don’t have that power. The only real choice we can make is to let go, to trust the lightning in the midst of the storm to lead us home.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Close

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Close

This morning our organization had a Father/Child reading event at the local library. It was a good time, a great turnout and we were able to meet dads we’ve never met before and some we hadn’t seen in a while.

We try to make these events as entertaining as possible with crafts, a puppet show, brunch items and more. The entire focus of the event is to stress the importance of fathers reading to their children. We talk about why this is important for the child and the parents and give the dads some alternative ideas to reading a book that also helps build a child’s’ vocabulary.

My favorite part of the event, however, isn’t the puppets or craft time but when the dads and kids go pick out a book and read it together. It’s the image of the child sitting next to the dad or in his lap and he’s whispering in their ear any words they may not know, need help enunciating, or pointing out interesting items in the pictures on the page.

For me, it is the picture of how God wants to treat his children. Life is difficult and demanding. There’s always something to do and the busyness of this world keeps us spinning. Wisdom tells us that silence, simplicity, humility and obedience are our ways of crawling into our Father’s laps, sliding up next to him, feeling him wrap an arm around us and whisper in our ears, our spirits, letting us know that though the story of our lives can be complicated and convoluted, he’s present and close as the tale of our existence unfolds.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Search for Meaning

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“Struggling with the quest for meaning in painful happenings is endless. We worry less about the meaning of nice things, just glad that they happen.” #LaurenceFreeman

Search for Meaning

This quote was part of my morning devotions and I’ve reflected on it several times during the day.

Each of us can look back upon a time of, or may be experiencing, a “quest for meaning” in the midst of “painful happenings.” Seasons of loss when what we valued, cared for, loved, was taken from us. In the midst of our lives, when tragedy happens, the search for meaning and fitting the hurt and loss into our paradigm of existence is difficult, if not impossible. We wonder; “why? what did we do? didn’t do? how do we fix it? stop the hurt? save ourselves from being wounded again?” Our minds, emotions, spirit whirl with questions and we drown in the minutiae of confusion and blame.

The second part of the quote states; “We worry less about the meaning of nice things, just glad they happen.” Rarely do we reflect upon the why the blessings of life happen. We tend to take the happy, joyful parts of our life for granted. However, if we stop to think about it the “good” which happens to us can be as bewildering as the “bad.”

By the end of today, votes will be counted, a winner chosen and many people will be experiencing pain and others; joy. Hopefully, we don’t stop with the emotions but look deeper into ourselves and ask; “Why this happiness? Sadness?” We’ve been beaten over the head this political season with one side is “evil” while the other is the “savior.” Truthfully neither is either. We get wrapped up in choosing sides, labeling, and judging others who don’t think or vote like we do.

It’s easy to forget how small we are, how little we matter in the vast history fo space and time. We don’t reflect upon our place in all things which exist and accept that we are but brief, flashes of light, that are barely noticeable in a universe full of brightness and darkness, emptiness and fullness. Meaning is greater than an election and we are more than then our precious few breaths between life and death.

The meaning of life, of existence, is greater than an election and we are more than then our precious few breaths between life and death.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com
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Look Around

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Look Around

Earlier today I stopped by a store to pick up a few items and proceeded to the cashier to check out. There was a line of two people who were clearly friends in front of me. What I noticed was the employee doing their best to greet the two women but they didn’t stop talking long enough for her to do so. She rang up their items, gave the total, received the cash, handed their change back, hoped they had a nice day, all while the pair hardly noticed her existence. After they left, I stepped forward and made sure to connect with the cashier so she knew she wasn’t invisible.

I wasn’t angry with the two women who were chatting amongst themselves for I too have been wrapped up in my world and failed to notice someone. However, it was a good reminder that it’s far too easy to allow other people to go unnoticed. Those who may need recognition, an open ear, a kind word, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, an embrace, a connection, a relationship, are all around us. May our eyes, minds and spirits be open to them.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Who We Are…

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Who We Are…

Politics! It’s everywhere! I am so tired and weary of this political season. It has drained me of my hope for this country’s current political structure to right itself and begin to work again. The machinations of government are lost and we’re quickly losing any sense of the nation that once was a beacon. This is not; “morning in America!” but a nightmare which we may never awake from.

Outside of my front door is a large Oak tree. I love this tree, if one can love a tree. Its been growing for longer than this season’s politicians have been alive. It stands majestically in the front yard, tall, strong and laughs at the power grabs we humans make. It scoffs at our illusion of self-importance. There is a hill behind my house which gently slopes up. I often walk to the top and look around and see countless trees, hills, skies, the sun or moon and am reminded of how small we truly are and our lack of importance compared to nature. Our limited existence on this insignificant rock spinning in space we call home is rather puny.

I have to admit the thought of either candidates winning the current election sends chills down my spine and into my spirit. I don’t see how anyone can vote for either one. I hear people say; “If you don’t vote for this one, the other one is going to win!” as if an unprecedented cataclysm will befall the Earth. It’s just hype. It’s not true. We don’t have that kind of power. Its us pumping up and tripping over our ego.

We did not bring into being the life, rhythm and purpose of existence. We cannot end it. Go outside, look at the sky, be reminded of our smallness. Take a breath, let go, remember who you are and who you aren’t.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Filter

Yesterday I wrote about changing the oil & oil filter on my John Deere lawn tractor. (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/06/24/not-comfortable/) It was a new experience for me. Today, I continued working on the deck extension which is almost complete. As I cut, hammered, screwed and ensured the deck was level and secure I thought about the oil filter.

“An oil filter is a filter designed to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil. Oil filters are used in many different types of hydraulic machinery.” #Wikipedia

I reflected on the need of a filter for our lives. We live in a dirty and difficult world. All around us are contaminants which can pollute our spirits, cloudy our vision, stain our intentions and bespatter our minds. It’s incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep ourselves untainted.

What’s required is a wisdom greater than our own, a spirit that’s stronger, a cleaner which can keep our vision, intentions and minds clear. Being aware and admitting our need for a filter are the first steps in living a bright, grace filled existence in a too often dark and dingy world.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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What Matters

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What Matters

Muhammed Ali died this weekend. Tributes have been pouring in from celebrities, heads of state, famous sport’s writers and more. They are celebrating his athleticism, his political convictions, his religion, his personality, his life.  His funeral will be televised world wide and led by former President Bill Clinton. It should be a spectacle to behold.

The world lost another person this weekend. A woman with grace and class. She gave her life to important causes, impacted many people, had friends from all around the world, was a wonderful mom and grandmother, a committed wife, a cherished friend and an example of what it means to give yourself away so others can find meaning and purpose. Her funeral, also this week, will not be televised, most of the world will not realize she has passed but those who love her will share stories, shed tears and laugh at this one who touched them by living and loving well.

At a time when being famous is a drug many are hooked on and people knowing your name has become the meaning of life. I want to live quietly, love extravagantly, help all I can without publicity and die knowing my existence made the world a better place.

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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Luck or Life?

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Luck or Life?

On my way to worship this morning a big black cat ran  across the road in front of me! I needed to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting it. The reason for the rush is an even bigger gray cat chasing it. Black cats are supposed to be an omen of bad luck but for this one it was fortunate it crossed the road when it did, as fast as it did, or things might have turned out differently.

During service a special speaker talked about growing up in war torn Romania. Her past included sexual and physical abuse, mental health issues, infertility and an incredibly uncertain future. However, each of these painful, difficult and tragic events have given her a powerful testimony today and many blessings have blossomed from the ashes of what most would call a cursed younger life.

Our understanding of a lucky, blessed, fortunate life or an unlucky, cursed doomed existence is limited by our inability to know the future and how love, grace and peace often come from the most desperate and desolate personal journeys.

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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Shame & Salvation 

  

Yesterday I was waiting to be allowed into a classroom of the local correctional facility for my bi-weekly Incarcerated Father’s class. As I sat in the lobby I overheard a prisoner talking to a young boy who apparently had misbehaved and his mother had contacted an officer and arranged a visit to the jail to see what life would be like if he didn’t begin to make better choices. The prisoner told the young one; “You don’t want to come here. Stay away from this place. Listen to your mom. Don’t be like me.”  It was heart breaking. There was resignation in his voice, a tone of regret and shame. A man whose life had become a warning not an inspiration. 

Part of what I teach the fathers at the correctional facility is they still matter, their life isn’t a waste, they can be a force for good in the lives of their families. They are integral to breaking the cycle of crime and poverty in our community.

Knowing we have a place in this world, that we aren’t just taking up space, there is a plan and purpose for our existence can be the difference between shame and salvation.

Blessings,

@BrianLoging 

http://www.thewannabesaint.com

  

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