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Gently

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Gently

Yesterday I stepped out on to our front screened in porch to let the dog have some alone time in the yard. Immediately a frantic movement caught my eye. Inside the screen porch, trapped in a corner was a Yellow Monarch Butterfly. Big, beautiful and needing to be free. I don’t know if butterflies know when they aren’t free but I knew and was determined to do something about it. I took my hands and gently tried to close my fingers around it. Several times it fluttered away but I was finally able to catch it, gently take it outside and then cautiously open my hands and watch it fly away.

I thought about my journey with mental illness and people in my life who have struggles of their own. We might not know we are trapped or at least not see a way out. We need help, assistance that doesn’t force, grab, clutch, and drag us to where someone else thinks we ought to be. We need gentleness, someone who won’t break our wings or our spirits but show us there is life, there is freedom.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Soul Alive

Soul Alive

Outside, under our two sheds and front porch are families of rabbits. I see them when I let out the dog, who’s too old to chase them anymore, when I drive the truck into the driveway, when I sit still long enough and wait for them to emerge from their hiding holes. It excites me. Wildlife has always had this impact on me. I slow down to look at deer on the sides of the highway or in far-off fields. Stare at Falcons and Hawks perched on fence posts or electric poles. Turkeys, skunks, opossum, armadillos, foxes, even cows grab my attention.

I grew up in the suburbs but my parents took us to National Parks as often as the could. We loved camping, canoeing, hiking, exploring. We saw lots of wildlife and even had a few run-ins with Black Bears. I believe this is where my love of nature was born and raised along with the important lessons of treating it gently, basking in its beauty and always leaving a place better than you found it.

Nature, along with other gifts we take for granted each day, bring life to my soul. I can’t imagine not being excited, filled with joy, while experiencing it.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

 

Surfing or Drowning

Surfing or Drowning

I just finished reading an article from seven years ago today about a father and son who were killed by a drunk driver. The mom shared it on social media and the heartache is still present and the wound raw. I can’t imagine the pain. I knew the father a little. He was in our church’s youth group. He was a few years older than me but always seemed cool. He was an athlete. He ran, biked, swam, and surfed. The morning dad and son were killed they were training for a triathlon. The father was named after his father and the son carried on the tradition. He was the III.

How do you have hope in the midst of such loss? How do you not drown in sorrow? How do you not get lost in such darkness? I don’t think there’s an easy answer. Quips and quotes don’t begin to address the brokenness and reveal our lack of intimacy with death. We do everything we can to avoid it. Most of us try to prolong our lives by any means necessary. When death finally does come we are quick to make the arrangements, organize a memorial or funeral service and push past it as fast as possible. But even then, death finds a way to corner us, trap us, confront us. After the hustle and bustle of meals, flowers, sympathy cards, and services we find ourselves alone when death, misery, mourning, comes calling.

Experts tell us that when we are caught in a riptide to not fight the current or it will surely drown its victim. Let it grab you and then slowly, moving parallel to the shore, slip from its grip. I think this is how we deal with the loss of those we love. There’s no escaping and fighting and refusing to acknowledge its power end in certain defeat. To allow it take hold, scare us, shake our faith, sweep our “normal” life away, but not giving up is the key. Slowly our strength returns, we regain our bearings, we slip from its grip, rise above the waters and live.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Remains

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Remains

On Saturday, while burning some debris in the yard, I went to grab a stick which was near the fire but not burning. My intention was to put it in a more advantageous position. However, as I grabbed the still cool end of the stick a single burning piece of ash fell right where I placed my thumb. I quickly dropped the stick and began shaking my whole hand the way someone does when they burn themselves. For the past several days I have had a reminder of the encounter, a blister on my right thumb.

The blister is a reminder of the randomness of life. A second earlier or later and I probably wouldn’t have burned myself. In the same way, we often see the haphazard events of our lives. A moment before or after and there’s no car accident or more or fewer injuries in it. A doctor’s appointment a month or two earlier or later and a disease is detected or too far advanced to undergo treatments. A moment premature or delayed and we miss a relationship we cherish or disdain.

Whatever life brings our way there are remains that stay with us. Whether positive or negative who can tell? The most we can do is be aware, open to new experiences and cautiously protecting our souls.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Chirp and Chatter

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Chirp and Chatter

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on the front steps to our shed waiting for Beth to come home from work. Me and the dog enjoying the day when a bird overhead began to chirp loudly! It wasn’t the usual chirp and it was incessant. I looked to the limbs of our big Oak tree trying to find it. I couldn’t. The chirping didn’t stop but I couldn’t find it among the leaves. Finally, it stopped and only when it flew away could I see that it was a large woodpecker.

After watching this beautiful bird fly away I reflected on the constant chirping and not knowing where it was coming from. Some thought are like that in our minds. They chirp and chatter and we wonder, why and for what reason, they are filling our minds with noise. Perhaps its regret at an action,  a question about why something is happening, puzzlement for a big decision which needs to be made, a betrayal, a hurtful word given or received, a reliving of past events, or worry about the future. Whatever the thoughts, the chirps, and the chatter can keep peace of mind and spirit elusive and unattainable.

Wisdom reminds us that thoughts are going to come and go but it is up to us not grab them and ruminate. A wise master once said; “I cannot stop the thoughts from coming to my door but I do not have to serve them tea.

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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Attached

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Attached

This morning I was getting ready to go to a health council meeting. I went to the closet and picked out a pair of pants and shirt and laid them on the bed next to the ironing board. The pants were good to go but the shirt did need ironing. I turned the iron on, placed the shirt on the ironing board and went to do something else while the iron warmed up.

When I returned, the iron was ready and as I picked up the shirt the hook on the hanger, which was still in it, grabbed the ironing board and began tipping it over. Like most ironing boards we’ve had starch, buttons, water, more hangers and a plethora of other items which would make a big mess if they were to fall off the ironing board and crash onto the floor. The hot iron would also not feel good if it landed on my foot. Luckily, I caught it in time to stop this from happening. I breathed a big sigh of relief, rolled my eyes and was thankful for a mini crisis averted.

I carefully picked up the shirt again, twisting the hook on the hanger so it would no longer grab the board, took it out and pressed my shirt. As I did I thought about the different attachments we have in our lives and how the removal of one them can cause upheaval for everything else.

Wisdom teaches us to be careful not to be attached to many things in this world. Every attachment, each item we own, all the things we call; “mine or ours,” can grab hold of us. The more stuff we surround ourselves with the more danger there is in our lives being unbalanced by their loss.

We must be careful or the very things we think we possess will actually possess us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Snag

Snag

Our Siberian Husky, Trooper, has long nails on all four of his paws. Huskies use their nails for gripping more than most dogs. When his nails get long this results in him pulling up snags on the carpets we have in the house if he happens to stretch, sit up or start to run while on them. Yesterday, I was vacuuming the house and these rug snags were being grabbed and getting caught on the roller and burning the belt up. I had to go around the house and cut the snags to try to prevent this from happening. After I finished I reflected on my proclivity to grab on to things. Like the dog’s nails and the vacuüm cleaner, I hold on to things which I should let go.

Wisdom teaches us to live life open-handed, not to grab, grasp anything or anyone, but to allow them to come into and leave our life freely, accepting the transience of all that is made, exists.

Beth trimmed the dog’s nails and now there will be fewer snags on our rugs. May it be with me as well, as I move through life, basking in the glory of now and resisting the urge to grab and grasp.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Like a Falling Napkin

Like a Falling Napkin

Sunday morning I made a cup of coffee and put some bread in the toaster. While waiting I went to grab a napkin out of the holder. However, I ended up grabbing several napkins instead of just one. The sides of the dispenser snagged them and losing my grip they began to fall to the floor. I grasped at one and then another but they had opened up and were dropping in unpredictable patterns. Every one of them evaded my grip and fell to the floor. An exasperated laugh escaped me as I thought about my uncoördinated attempt and looking life a big butterfly having a spasm.

As I picked up my mess and went back into the kitchen I reflected on the truth that life can be like the falling napkins. There are seasons, moments when we’re trying to get a grip on what’s happening and in spite of all of our efforts we end up with nothing. Life can be elusive. Events, difficulties, trying times come our way and we want to grab onto something but find ourselves flailing and then surrounded by a mess.

When, not if, this happens a sense of humor, picking up the pieces and the willingness to keep going can make all the difference.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
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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