Blog Archives

Tethered

Image result for long black grey scarf

Tethered

This morning in church we were finishing a song and the song leader asked us to be seated. Beth had on a beautiful gray, black and white scarf wrapped around her neck and as we were sitting it ended up between the person and seat back of the pew in front of us. Beth was sitting and all a sudden the scarf now pressed into the pew by the woman couldn’t sit back she was stuck, tethered to someone we didn’t know. The situation was absurd and funny and we both got the giggles. I reached over to pull it from between the woman and pew and realized there was a lot of scarf to retrieve. Luckily, we weren’t seated for long and we stood back up expecting the woman to do the same. Unfortunately, she didn’t. Argh! Beth then began to pull the scarf little by little until, finally, she had freed herself and was careful not to lean too far forward again.

In life, there are times we find ourselves tethered to someone or a group that chokes the life out of us. We might not notice it at first but sooner or later we find we must be free or suffer. Cutting the cord, letting go, escaping from a toxic relationship is hard but it is better than the life being pulled out of us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Advertisements

Empathy

Image result for fake leg

Empathy

I heard a story today about a chaplain who worked in a veteran’s hospital in the 1950’s. There was an African-American soldier in the hospital who had lost a leg in the Korean War. The physical therapists had worked with him trying to get him used to wear a prosthetic leg. Both the soldier and medical personnel tried everything they could think of but nothing worked and the soldier was ready to give up and live life with one leg and crutches for the rest of his life.

The chaplain was made aware of the situation and stopped by soldier’s bed one night to see if he could be of any help. “I can still feel my leg, my real leg!” the soldier cried. “It’s a phantom pain.” replied the chaplain, “It will go away in time.” “That leg!” retorted the soldier gesturing toward the prosthetic one, “will never be ‘my’ leg.” After visiting with the young man the chaplain prayed with him and asked if he could take the prosthetic one with him. The soldier responded with a shrug.

The next day the chaplain returned with the same leg except it was painted a shade of brown to more closely match the soldier’s own skin tone. “What did you do?” asked the perplexed soldier. The chaplain, hoping he hadn’t offended the young man said he took it home with him and thought painting it might make it seem more palatable. “That’s all you did?” asked the soldier admiring the leg. “That’s it.” smiled the chaplain. The chaplain helped the young man to the side of the bed, attached the leg, helped him take his first few steps and from that day forward the soldier made remarkable progress.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. The chaplain helped the soldier not by insisting he use resources given to him by the hospital but by listening and understanding what the soldier was going through and then adapting his help to the soldier’s personal, unique need.

Too often we see people who need assistance and we automatically assume there are places and resources that are available. We surmise that if someone wants help enough they’ll figure out how to get it. The truth is everyone’s story is unique and unless we listen, understand and are willing to personally get involved many will go on suffering and being blamed for doing so.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

No Other Choice

Image result for black eye

No Other Choice

I was greeted today by one of the fathers in my Incarcerated Father’s Class by a resident with a nasty looking black eye. We emphasize choice in this class. Our motto is; “Good choices make good men, and good men make good fathers.” I asked the owner of the shiner what happened and he said he was in a fight. I then asked; “Did you make a good choice?” His answer was yes. He explained sometimes you have no other choice.

I couldn’t argue with him. It would be nice if the world was black and white, clear negative and positives, defined good choices and bad. However, the world offers us a lot of grays. There are times when the choice of going one way or another doesn’t exist. You go forward, with your best intentions and wisdom and hope it works out.

These can be our best or worst moments. They certainly define us or scar us for life. When life doesn’t offer any options, no other choices, we hold our breath and cautiously step into an uncertain future.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Blind

Image result for wind night time

Blind

Last night a mighty storm with fast blowing winds and rain came through our area. I sat in the house listening to dead limbs being shaken from the big Oak tree in our front yard, the rain pounding on the roof. There were a few times I went outside to see the storm but the sun had already set and with the clouds overhead there wasn’t much to view. Then the power went out. It wasn’t surprising because of the fierceness of the wind. I went outside again and nothing could be seen but I could feel the wind threatening to blow me over as it had a couple of our potted trees. Finally, after a few hours, the storm had passed, the lights were back on, and I was thankful the storm has passed.

I don’t like storms at night. The biggest reason is that I can’t see anything, not even the direction of the blowing wind. As I sat in a candlelit living room, everything quiet but storm raging outside, I was reminded of life and the storms we face. There are times we see the storm coming but there are other times when one comes out of nowhere. It’s ferociousness rocks our lives and we feel blind as we try to feel our way forward. These can be the scariest of all because there is seemingly no light to see by, to make us feel safe, or to tell us we are nearing the end. The only thing we can do is wait, trusting that no storm lasts forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Bright

Image result for buddhist thought of the day

Brightly

The sun was shining brightly today as if it had been hidden by clouds and couldn’t take it anymore. Bursting through, nothing holding it back, it lit up the blue sky. Now, after showing off, the sun is setting and only remnants of light remain of its beauty.

I have a friend going through a difficult time, battling a disease that will sooner or later kill him. He’s doing everything he can but our bodies are not made to last forever nor beat every enemy we face. I talked with him today on the phone and his voice sounded stronger than in days past. It was good to hear and I laughed as he told me one of his jokes. The last several weeks have been tough, watching him struggle, rise to meet one challenge only to be met by a new and a more difficult obstacle. No one can keep going no matter how much strength they possess.

Today for a moment he shone brightly and I will keep that memory with me as he moves forward.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Where We Look

Where We Look

The last two mornings, as I’ve taken the dog outside for some personal time, there has been a beautiful Robin (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Robin/id) looking for food. When I’ve spotted the bird I become as still as possible and see how close it’ll get near me.  My breathing slows, my movement stagnant, my attention heightened as I watch it hop around looking for breakfast. The rain we had over the weekend has softened the ground and it isn’t long before it’s meal is plucked up from the ground and the bird flies away. I exhale and the world around me comes alive again. The Robin had been my sole focus and until it leaves, by choice or being frightened, and my awareness of the world was dependent on it.

Wisdom tells us that where we place our focus, set our awareness, is life. Where we look, the direction we face is ultimately the direction of our journey. If we only look back we can never go forward. If we’re unfocused, trying to see all directions, we won’t be able to choose a fixed point and begin to travel toward it. Though paradoxical, stillness is the key to knowing and navigating this path called life.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511

About Time

image

On Sunday I was working outside, trimming Lemon grass. It can be tricky working with this plant because of the thin, long leaves which can cause a nasty cut if a person is careless. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as vigilant as needed and received a gash in my pinky finger. Small cuts might not bleed much but they can be quite painful.  It didn’t take long to forget about the mishap but ever since, each time I apply soap or antibacterial gel, I’m reminded the cut hasn’t completely healed. It’ll take a few more days before the wound is closed and no longer a painful reminder of my carelessness.

Life’s journey is filled with difficult and hurtful places, events, and seasons. Our recovery from these take time and often we encounter reminders of these painful moments which cause the agony to resurface. Our reliving of these can be disappointing and a cause for despair. We think; “Shouldn’t this wound be healed? Why is there still suffering? Will I ever be fully well, whole again?” In these times it’s important to be patient. Recovery moves at a different pace for everyone. You can’t rush restoration and redemption. “Progress, no matter how slow, is still forward.”Plato

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Crawl. Walk. Run.

Crawl. Walk. Run.

A couple of weeks ago I shared; “My Depression and Anxiety Story” (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/04/27/my-depression-and-anxiety-story/) after I had gone on my first run in over two years.

My goal was simple. I would run/walk as often as my physical and mental health would let me. Knowing it would take time to build strength and endurance I took days off and did my best to pace myself. It was important that I didn’t push too hard so I tried to be careful not to strain or sprain anything. However, after two weeks, I noticed both knees were beginning to hurt and by Wednesday of this week I couldn’t walk without severe pain and there were times I thought about crawling from my office to the truck or from the couch to the kitchen. On Friday I went to the doctor and she noticed there was swelling on both knees and we made the decision for me to receive one steroid injection in each leg. Following the shots the physical therapist told me; “Stay off your legs as much as possible until Sunday afternoon. The less you are on your feet the more potent the steroid will be to the injured areas.” So, on a beautiful weekend, I am stuck on the couch. “Ugh!

Long journeys never seem to abide with our plans. Doing my best to follow the doctor’s advice the last couple of days I’ve had time to reflect on this long journey with Depression and Anxiety. Much like dealing with knee difficulties there have been days with depression and anxiety when all I could do was sit despondently and watch the world go by. Other days I’ve crawled along the path. Most days I walk, albeit slowly, and one day I hope to be able to mentally run on my journey toward recovery.

Wisdom teaches us to crawl, walk then run. Whatever we do, wherever we go, there is a pace, a rhythm. One must be in sync to find and navigate the path towards wholeness and healing.

On my journey with these diseases I cannot dictate the speed. Instead I must accept that each day will be unique and sometimes stillness is the only way forward.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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

When We’re Stuck

Awesome video!  I watched in awe as the operator gently picked up the stuck deer with the giant scooper and placed it where it could move again.

As it played I thought about times in my life when I was stuck. Seasons when I couldn’t move, find my way, get loose of the muck and mire which held me, trapped me, threatened my life. I also reflected on those who came to my rescue. Folks with great skill, compassion, love and commitment who helped me when I couldn’t help myself.

Life’s path leads us to strange and uncomfortable places. There will be experiences and events which pull us in, hold us fast, wear us out and leave us stuck. Struggling, fighting to free ourselves may only leave us immobile and unable to journey forward. Having mentors, counselors, advisers, people who love and care enough to not leave us stranded can be one of our greatest treasures.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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

Moving Forward

image

The next couple of days I will be at a Children’s Advocacy Conference. This morning, as I traveled to it, I was behind a driver who didn’t believe in using turning signals. Without any warning he/she would switch lanes, then go back again. It was interesting to watch this person, who was in an obvious hurry, try and find a magical way through the traffic.

Watching the SUV continue its quest forward I reflected on my journey. When I’m frantic to progress, move beyond my present circumstance I move quickly, trying to reach new goals & meet assumed needs, desperate to find the fastest way to get where I think I need to go. Instead of patience, steadiness, allowing the flow to move at its own pace I rush and yet most often make little, if any, progress.

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

image

Takes Two

image

Walking the path of forgiveness and repairing a relationship takes time, self awareness and the willingness of two.

A friend asked me this morning about restoring a broken relationship and his feelings of futility at his lack of success. Nothing seems to be working and he’s looking for another way to reach out and connect with his estranged friend. My first question was; “does the other person want the relationship healed?”

It takes two people to truly restore a broken relationship. Two with the self awareness that there is fault and blame on both sides. Two must be willing to forgive and seek forgiveness. Two with enough humility and grace to set aside ego, recognize the brokenness of the past and embrace the desire for newness to replace what is barren and dead.

Unless two are willing to travel the road of healing together the emptiness of what once was will remain.

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

image

In the Way

image

On my way to a community action board today I stopped by a McDonald’s for a drink. I parked and checked my email before going in. While sitting there I noticed a man parked in the center of the parking lot blocking several vehicles from exiting. A driver, needing and ready to go, waited patiently and the blocker, talking on his phone, never noticed. Finally, the driver ready to leave had to take action. He got out of his car, walked to the end of his vehicle, waved his arms, to get the blocker’s attention and motioned that he needed to get moving. The driver, immediately brought back to reality, moved quickly out of the way.

Watching the entire scene I reflected on how there are times and seasons of life when others, purposefully or not, block our path. We’d rather wait and through patience and stillness hope the obstacle moves. However, there are moments when we must take action and rid ourselves of any impediments, human or otherwise, that continue to keep us from moving forward.

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

image

Disconnected

image

Last week the Mrs’. dashboard quit working.  The orange gauges simply flashed red. Everything else electrical worked fine but we couldn’t understand what was happening.  We talked with several mechanics who had never heard of such a thing and other than bringing it in and running tests no one had any guesses what could be causing the trouble. One car jockey suggested we might try unhooking the battery. The winter storm hit the next day and since I couldn’t take it anywhere I disconnected the battery to see what happened. I let it sit for several hours and when I reconnected, “presto!” everything in the dashboard worked again.

Now I don’t know if this is a permanent or temporary fix but it was a great reminder that sometimes disconnecting, unplugging, resetting is the only way to keep moving.

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

image

Go Back to Let Go

1928967_9771870477_7263_n

Our Siberian Husky, Trooper, is always ready to go outside, move, run, play, do something!

This morning, as usual, when I came into the kitchen to take him out he was already standing, tail wagging and tugging on his leash. I reached to unhook his leash but because of his excitement and anticipation to get moving he was pulling it so tight I couldn’t unhook it. “Trooper, honey, you’ve got to go back so I can let you go.” He took a couple of reverse steps, I released him, opened the door and he went bounding into a new day.

I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week who’s had a tough life. There are many issues as a grown man he is still dealing with which stem from events in his past. During our conversation he said; “I’d like to move on with my life but I’m stuck in a cycle of bad choices and worse consequences. I don’t know how to move forward.” I lovingly replied; “Trust me. I’m speaking from personal experience. If you don’t deal with what has happened, come to grips with your pain, betrayal and loss, you won’t be able to let go and move on.

As I washed dishes this morning I thought about Trooper, my friend and myself. Wisdom teaches us to live in each present moment, to flow and exist in the rhythm of our lives. However, this isn’t possible if we have not acknowledged and accepted the events, trauma, joy, hurts, people, situations, decisions we’ve made and were made for us, that have made us into who and what we are today.

When we come to grips with how we are molded by the past we can then choose to presently be reshaped by grace, love, forgiveness and peace. Only when we go back, can we let go and move forward.

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

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

A Closer Look

image

Earlier this week the non-profit organization I work for, of which the Fatherhood Engagement program is a part of, had its yearly review.

A representative from Washington, DC came to Columbia, TN to check us out. It was an audit of everything from finances to program implementation to staff efficiency and competency.

Key members of the team, including myself, had to give formal presentations explaining what we were doing, why we’re doing it and the impact we’re making. There were questions asked, suggestions for improvement made and at the end of the week a summary and evaluation of our program’s effectiveness for reaching families who live in South Central, Tennessee was given.

I am pleased to say everything went well and the team received high marks for leadership, staff versatility and our program’s overall productivity and success. We’re not perfect but progressing very well. After the federal examiner left, the staff breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Being held accountable is not easy. Having your program, job skills, family, personal life put under a microscope isn’t easy. Wisdom, however, teaches us that it’s necessary. Truthfully, all of us are capable of deceiving ourselves. Our egos generate excuses, escapes and excellent ways to push the blame onto something or someone else.

Self awareness and examination is difficult. To allow others to help us see what we do well and where we need to improve takes a willingness to be vulnerable. When areas of weakness, shallowness, selfishness or sinfulness are found we are challenged to accept what has been revealed and change what is possible.

Perfection isn’t an option but perception and progression is the way forward.

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

image

%d bloggers like this: