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What’s Inside

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What’s Inside

This afternoon I burned old collected limbs which had fallen this past winter. Along with twigs and branches, there was a stack of large limbs that I cut up last year when part of a big tree was torn down by a thunderstorm. They had finally dried out enough where they would burn quickly. It didn’t take long to have a large fire burning brightly and hot! After a while, there wasn’t much left of the burn pile but red, orange, and blue scorching ashes. Before heading to the house I took a water bottle that was almost half filled with water and laid it on the hot embers. I watched as it shrunk, popped the top off and melted the places of the bottle where there wasn’t any water. However, where there was water the plastic didn’t melt. I watched as the water inside began to boil but the plastic wasn’t consumed. Because of the water inside the plastic didn’t melt outside. It was awesome to watch and wait to see how long it lasted. Finally, of course, the water evaporated and the plastic shriveled by the flames but it took longer than it should have given the power of the heat and flame.

It was a wonderful reminder that what’s inside; our spirit, emotions, mentality, don’t just protect what can’t be seen but also protects the outside, what we can see; our health, bodies, and relationships.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Smoldering

Smoldering

On Saturday afternoon I burned a pile of branches, old newspapers, and other miscellaneous items. The smell of the ashes and leftover debris lingered in the air the next day. I had forgotten to grab an old wooden rocking chair out of the reading room which also needed to be disposed of. When I noticed it Sunday afternoon I wondered if the smoldering ash would still be hot enough to do anything. I took the chair out, broke it into several pieces and put some under the coals, which were still a faint orange, and put the rest in a pile on top. I checked it after a while and noticed the smoke had increased. About an hour later the wood was ablaze with a good flame. It didn’t take long to consume it once the fire restarted. Not too long afterward the chair was gone.

I wrote last week about the struggles I have when February rolls around. Many years have passed but the layers of hurt, anger, and uncertainty still lay buried, ready to ignite when fuel is added. What I try to do, instead of dwelling on the past, is not feed the flames. When I am aware and notice my mind drifting back to the place of pain I find a place to breathe. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. I remind myself of the truth that I cannot change the past but I can be present in the now. Does it always work? No. Does it work? Yes. Maybe one day I will be healed, maybe not, but I don’t want to give up on living today because of the difficulties of yesterday.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Hope is Tricky

Hope is Tricky

Fire can be a tricky thing. It doesn’t always burn when you want it to, go out when need it to, spread evenly, move at a trackable rate.

Last night a mighty storm blew through our area and left a lot of dead limbs in its wake (see pic). This afternoon I went out and picked them up. Some were wet, others dry but I was hoping to burn them since it was such a large pile. Pouring a little fuel starter on the pile I lit the match and waited. The fuel burned quickly but didn’t seem to be able to light the other limbs and debris. After half and hour, the flames disappeared and a big puff of smoke emitted from the pile as if the fire gave up.

It was lunch time so I went inside, washed my hands, decided what I wanted for lunch but as I was sitting down it occurred to me to check the fire, “just in case.” I stepped outside to get a view of the pile of limbs and spied one tiny flame. Over the next several minutes the flame grew and before I knew it I was sliding my chair away from the fire as it grew taller and hotter consuming everything. A few moments before it seemed out for the count but it was biding its time, growing warmer, waiting for the right conditions and then everything worked together to feed the flame and devour the pile.

Sitting there I thought about the elusiveness of hope. Hope, like a fire, isn’t always easy to keep lit.In dark times we need the light to see, the warmth of hope to stay focused and alive. However, in desperate seasons, hope seems to be snuffed out. We are drained, drowning in the evil which surrounds us. We need the flames of hope but a puff of smoke seems all we can muster.

Hope takes its time, smoldering, waiting for the right conditions, time and place to burst forth in uncontrollable, consuming flame. Hope can be a tricky thing. It doesn’t always inspire when you want it to, give you strength when you need it to, spread evenly, move at a predictable rate. Hope isn’t ours to control. It’s more powerful than us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Surprise!

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Surprise! 

This morning my wife and I sat in a small Lutheran church singing familiar Christmas carols, reciting Christmas liturgy, listening to Bible verses telling the coming of the Savior to our world. In the middle of the service. a woman rolled down the aisle a cart with a birthday cake on it. The pastor then called the children up front and talked about Jesus’ birthday and began to light the candles on the cake. To his surprise and the congregants, the candles began to sparkle! A few of them sparkled enough to him to exclaim; “We might have to call the fire department to put these candles out!” It was a humorous response but also portrayed his concern over the flashing, flickering candles. After the children’s’ portion of the service, the same woman rolled out the gleaming cake. No firefighters showed up so I assume she took care of the candles.

As I think about the candles and cake I am reminded that Jesus’ birthday is; “more than.” It’s more than candles, hymns and carols, Bible verses, liturgy, communion, special services and magnificent homilies. The birth of Christ changed the universe, a cosmos of atrophy, mystery, transience and death. A child surprised all of creation. The birth of the Christ-child re-animated a dying world and beyond. We have become so used to the story but it should take us by surprise every Christmas! The impact of his birth is still being felt today. Our lives are not just saved but should be made vivacious and ebullient, sparkling out of control for the world to see, to dare others to take a closer look and maybe catch fire from the flame we celebrate today.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Kindled 

Kindled

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. It’s warm enough in the day to work but not sweat too much and the evenings are cool enough to sit around a fire pit.

Last night I gathered some wood, made a fire and enjoyed the warmth as the sun set. To keep a good fire going you need to rotate the wood as it burns and adjusting the pieces so the fire doesn’t run out of fuel. During one of the adjustments last night a hot ash jumped over my head and onto my back. It quickly burned through my shirt while I shimmied, loudly saying; “Ow! Ow! Ow!” Finally, most of the pain subsided and I sat down once again enjoying the fire but still, every now and then, feeling the burn.

Wisdom teaches us that it takes frequent adjusting to keep the fire lit inside. If we aren’t careful the flames quickly turn to embers and can be snuffed out. Accepting these alterations isn’t always easy and can be painful. However, the pain is temporary and a kindled fire in our spirits can last an eternity.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

on Fire

This morning I overheard a conversation involving someone who was either incapable, unwilling, or had never been taught how to listen. He insulted the people around him, calling them; “idiots” and made sure he was the “Alpha Dog.” As I listened to him not listening, I thought about our culture and the many voices, personalities, activists, politicians (especially politicians), talk show hosts, pod-casters, television and music stars and others, who scream, pontificate and insist vehemently that their view of themselves, others, the nation and the world is the only correct one and any who might dare disagree should be consumed with ferocity.

We live in such an inflammatory time when it seems most burn with self-righteous indignation and personally justified rage. We yell, fight, accuse, condemn and never stop to look around and see what this incendiary atmosphere is doing to everything and everyone around us. People burn with hatred and fear rushing to fight whatever threatens their way of life. One life ignites another and another and another…

As I listened to this man I wondered if it’s too late to change and what would be left when the flames of ego, greed, foolishness and closed ears, burned us up and out.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Never Be Quenched

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I spent the morning raking and picking up branches out of the yard. When I finished I placed them on a pile of debris I have near a burn barrel. I’m hoping to turn the compost into ash which Beth will use for her plants and garden.

I lit the fire and among the stuff I tried burning was an old grape-vine which the previous owners had planted. I’d cut it down several months ago and figured it was dry enough to burn. However, I was surprised to see water come out of the ends of the thick vine as the fire heated it up. For several minutes, until there was no more moisture to give, the vine fought against burning but finally succumbed to the heat and the flame.

Watching the fire consume the vine I was reminded of times we’re thrown into the fires of trouble, heartache and pain. We do our best to refuse to burn but chaos, confusion, doubt and fear have a way of forcing the spirit of love, grace and the willingness to keep going, out of us. However, unlike the branches today we are not consumed and our lives and spirits aren’t turned to ash. Though the flames and heat may burn away the outer, temporary parts of us, our source of goodness and light can never be quenched.

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

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cleanse – a haiku

 

moisture dissipates 

plastic water bottle burns 

purified by flame 

bdl 5/2/2015

  

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