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Filling

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Filling

This morning I went to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist! I went at 7:30AM because thinking about the appointment all day would make my anxiety grow by the hour. This way I wake up and go straight there and get it over. I take my phone and ear buds along with me to listen to, a dose of anti-anxiety medicine, and the dentist provides comforting words, gentle work and a supply of Nitrous Oxide (https://www.google.com/search?q=nitrous+oxide&oq=nitrous+o&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.2956j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8). When I first went to the dentist we sat and talked about my anxiety and claustrophobia issues. He understood and has done a fantastic job making me feel the least anxiety as possible. After it was over I left, slightly woozy but two teeth which needed fillings done completely.

The dentist is one of those things in life you don’t want to do but know have to be done. Know matter how much worry, dread, and procrastination, sooner or later you have to go and if it’s too much later you will regret it. As the numbing in my lips and gums wore off I thought about other things in life we don’t like to do but should. Forgiving people who have hurt us, asking forgiveness of those we have offended, reflecting on difficult and painful situations and asking; “What did I learn?”, allowing wisdom to search the deepest places in our lives, filling the holes in our minds, emotions, and spirits to be filled with kindness, love, and grace. These are never easy but waiting until we are ready might mean we never reach a place of healing and peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Out of Sight

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Out of Sight

This past weekend I wrote about a tiny gray cat that has been hanging around the house. The last time I saw it was on Saturday. I had been putting food out for it hoping to convince it we meant no harm but unfortunately, the neighborhood dogs beat the kitten to the chow. It started raining yesterday afternoon and has been steady since then. Remnants of Hurricane Irma is giving us plenty of water and a bit of wind. My worry, however, is the kitten. Is it dry? Did a neighborhood dog get it? I haven’t seen it since the weekend and I have no idea where it is or what happened to it. So, I wait and see. Hopefully, it’s still hiding under the porch and will come out after the storm passes.

There are people in our lives like the kitten. A storm begins to batter them and they hide, afraid of its downpour and thunder. We long to help them, to show them kindness, to meet whatever needs we can if they would just come out of hiding. However, like the kitten, there are trust issues and perhaps they’ve been hurt before by people pretending to help or they’re used to people taking not giving. What do we do? We wait. If they come out of hiding during the storm we can cover them with acts of kindness. If they wait until after this is fine also. Kindness and love have no expiration date.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Another Way

Another Way

Our little farmhouse has many quirks. One of the most frustrating is no back door. At one time there was one in the kitchen but someone filled that one in and installed a dishwasher. Today, the handymen made a doorway out of a window in the hallway next to our bathroom they are remodeling. It was loud and dusty but they got it done and it looks great!

I sit here today with concerns about friends, family, and acquaintances on my heart and mind. A good man who I grew up with lost his father in a motorcycle accident on Easter Sunday. Another friend’s father has a mental illness that’s beginning to impact his family’s life and a tough decision will have to be made soon. Still another friend is facing a big battle filled with an extensive surgery and an even more difficult recovery.

I find myself wanting another way for these people who are suffering so much in different ways. I wish I had the power to create one. A way not filled with the pain of death, the uncertainty of life filled with disease. If I could I would knock down whatever obstacles which stood in their path but regretfully I do not have that kind of power.

What I can do is pray, offer and give any help needed and trust that though another way may not be available, the way of kindness, love, and grace, are still the balm of healing and new life.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Pampered

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Pampered –

I feel embarrassed to admit I am sitting on the couch, pajama pants rolled up to the knees with my feet soaking in hot water, mixed with Epsom salt. I’m not sure why it’s hard to admit except it doesn’t seem very manly. Of course, that’s a sexist thing to write and it feels really good! Foot massages are for everyone.

The last couple of weeks my feet have been hurting. I’ve bought a pack of gel insoles and arch supports but still after a long day my feet hurt to walk on. The other day I asked Beth if we had a foot massage and she said perhaps but it’s packed up in a box in the shed. It was her idea to add the Epsom salt. So today, I bought a water, foot massage, a big bag of Epsom salt and here I sit.

This has been a long, busy, tough week. My thoughts are in different places with people who are facing difficult challenges in the weeks, months and perhaps years to come. If had a foot massage and some Epsom salt for each of them it would be awesome. However, I also know that even if their feet felt better they would still have to overcome some intimidating obstacles to regain their health and well-being.

I can’t take away the pain, the disease, the needs. I can, however, pray and trust that in some way those who are worried, uncertain and hurting tonight can find comfort and contentment in the midst of it all.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Stench of Death

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Stench of Death

Earlier this week we had a visitor. I was getting ready for bed and was walking into the kitchen for something to drink. As I did a little furry rodent ran in front of me. I chased it into the reading room but by the time I flipped the light switch on it had vanished. Usually, mice aren’t a problem as the days get warmer and we’ve had an unusually warm winter so they’ve been few and far between. I set up a couple of traps and waited.

To my surprise, I didn’t catch one but four of them in less than 24 hours. Now, 5 days later, there’s no sign of mice anywhere.  To dispose of them I used plastic store bags, tying them as air tight as I could get them and threw it into the kitchen waste basket. We’ve had a busy week and the trash can didn’t fill up as fast as it usually does. I forgot about the mice until we got back home from church today and there was a stench, a smell that made our noses crinkle and our eyes water. It was then I remembered the deceased creatures in our trash. I took the bag outside, sprayed Lysol in the can, replaced the bag and lit a scented candle.

It was a smelly and good lesson on dead things in our life. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a habit, a hurt or a hangup if we don’t take care of things which will bring death to our physical, emotional or spiritual lives we will end with a stench surrounding us. Through self-awareness and spiritual guidance, we can identify the decay, clean it out of our lives and not be haunted any longer.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Critical

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Critical

I was talking with someone the other day and we were trying to come to grips with a few issues which needed to be addressed so this person could move forward in life. We wanted to learn from his past but not be chained to it. One of the questions I asked was; “Who, if anyone,  can criticize you?” The question hung in the air. I continued; “If we aren’t capable of receiving information about areas of our lives in which we need to improve we will never grow beyond our  perception of ourselves.”

Being critical of ourselves, allowing others to shed light on dark, perhaps unexplored places, of who we are isn’t easy. I’m not sure anyone enjoys receiving an insight from someone else that isn’t flattering or realizing for ourselves we have a long way to go and grow, in multiple areas of life.

Wisdom teaches us that perfection isn’t ours for the taking but progression is a possibility. To progress, however, we must be vulnerable to the perception of weakness, habit, hurt or hang-up in ourselves and possess the willingness to accept it and begin to change.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Using Your Head

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Using Your Head

It’s 70 degrees today! Almost January and balmy. Beth and I decided to take advantage of the day by working outside. Perfect weather with a little sun, a few clouds and a nice breeze. Everything was going smoothly until walking off the side of the porch I misjudged the sloped roof and whacked my head on a beam. “OUCH!” After rubbing the area which was throbbing and walking around a bit I decided to nail up a piece of material to mark where the beam was so I wouldn’t repeat the experience.

Wisdom teaches us that sometimes we are going to make mistakes, poor judgments, take a step in the wrong direction, not use our heads for what they were made for; thinking and making wise decisions. However, this isn’t the end of the journey. It’s a time for evaluation, choosing a different course, using the experience as a lesson learned and, hopefully, not repeated.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Accsued!

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Accused! –

What do you do when you discover someone doesn’t like you? It’s a difficult question to ask and answer. Beth and I were talking about it this weekend and then yesterday and today someone I haven’t seen in almost a decade, out of the blue, let me know, in no uncertain terms, they don’t like me at all!  Unknowingly I hurt them and they still bear the scars. After reflection and prayer I asked forgiveness and offered to make restitution but both were rebuffed. Presently there doesn’t seem a road which takes me to the heart of the matter so we can discuss the issues and connect once again as friends.

One of the hardest experiences to deal with is knowing someone doesn’t like you, knowing you have wronged them, or at least they have felt wronged, and you can’t do anything to make it right. So, for now, an apology, an act of grace, a hand which has been slapped away will be put aside until there is another opportunity to heal the wounds I’m accused of inflicting.

Wisdom tells us that we are weak, selfish, near-sighted and ego driven. Hopefully, I and this one who doesn’t care for me will be at different places on our journey the next time we connect and the outcome will be different.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Ongoing Grace

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Ongoing Grace

One of the hardest acts in life is letting go of the expectation of an apology from someone who has hurt, offended us. Many times, we never receive what we are tempted to think we deserve.

Not too long ago I received a surprising apology from someone who had hurt me years ago. They asked for forgiveness and I gave it to them. However, apologies can be tricky. When someone expresses regret about an action or harmful words our ability to forgive has much to do with our place on the journey of forgiveness. Saying the words; “I forgive you.” helps but rarely completely, instantly heals the wounds.

Since the apology, there have been moments of pain when I am reminded the wounds are still healing. Times when memories are relived and the urge to fall back into negative thoughts patterns, judgmental attitudes are present. It is here, on our journey, we realize forgiveness is not a one-time act or phrase but a process, an ongoing combination of acts, words, and intent of spirit. There are seasons, moments, instances when the past impresses itself on the present. Wisdom teaches us not to ignore, resent, or seek escape but to let it be a reminder that forgiveness in an ongoing act of grace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Tasty

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Tasty

“Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?” Book of Job

This was an interesting question from my morning reading. It’s visually vibrant to think of the ear tasting words to test whether or not they’re good.

Yesterday my wife tasted some potato salad she made last week to know if it was still good. No crinkled face meant it was good to eat. A couple of weeks ago I left a drink in the truck and a hot day later grabbed it instead of one I just bought, took a big swig, and almost spit it out all over the truck cab. It was not good.

I think it would be a good thing if we when we spoke words which hurt, insulted, were untrue, our faces would match what we said, the intent in which they were given. It would’ve been especially interesting to watch the Presidential debate last night if this were a reality.

Our words are powerful. They are stronger than fists, guns and can wound more severely. In a culture where words fly out of people’s mouths, from social media, radio, TV, and internet sites, its good to imagine mean, hostile, judgmental, evil words contorting a person’s face to match their speech. It also begs the questions; “What type of words do we speak? What would our face look like?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Left Overs

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Left Overs

It’s now the third day after my oral surgery this past Wednesday.  After a numbing gel on the impacted areas, shots of Novocaine which deadened gums, nerves, tongue, nitrous oxide which made me loopier than usual and a painkiller prescription, all that’s left over, 72 hours later, is the swelling and tenderness. I do have a few powerful pills but use them with extreme caution and sparingly for fear of becoming dependent. Even bread is hard to chew! The dentist said; “It would take time, not to rush it, invest in some ice cream.” Ice cream? Perhaps the dentist isn’t all bad.  🙂

There’s something about a part of your mouth feeling different from normal that makes you want to rub your tongue over the impacted area. With it I can tell where the surgery happened but must be gentle not to cause further pain. The first two days the ache wasn’t so bad but now that all the other desensitizing agents have worn off there’s only swelling, aching and waiting that’s left over.

Wisdom teaches us that traumatic and painful events, experiences happen to us all. We may have ways of coping with the hurt, masking the discomfort, ignoring the suffering, however, sooner or later, we must acknowledge the damage which has been done. We must accept the left overs in our lives that heartbreak and distress cause. Only then can we know the wound’s severity. Only then can we treat ourselves with gentleness and patience. Only then can we begin to heal.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Into Practice

Into Practice –

It happened all of a sudden. Out of nowhere a back spasm that almost brought me to my knees.

Beth and I were outside and she wanted to lay a few brick squares next to the porch to place a few plants on. First we needed to level the ground, so I grabbed a shovel and garden rake and went to work. For about 15 minutes I worked on it and had most of it done until I hit a spot which was extra stubborn. I put “my back into it” and that’s when the unexpected pain shot through me. I stood straight up, grabbed my lower back and took a deep breath. “Ouch!” I yelled and told Beth; “I just pulled, strained something and it didn’t feel good at all!” I suffered through it until we finished. When we got inside I took some Tylenol and before bed Beth put some ointment on my back. This morning it was still hurting and I placed a heating patch on the affected area before getting ready. Its helped and feels like I’ve been carrying a heating pad with me all day.

I hurt my back because I was doing a physical activity I don’t usually do. Instead of taking my time and taking it easy I do what I usually do when a project needs to be done; go at it hard with abandon and giving no thought to the consequences. I’m not sure why I approach it this way but I do know this isn’t the first time I’ve hurt myself and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last. My back will, hopefully, get better and I’ll forget about the injury until the next one.

It’s interesting how long it takes to learn certain lessons and put them into practice. Our habits, preferences, prejudices, judgments, points of views are ingrained and ridding ourselves of the negative and replacing it with positive isn’t easy. Truthfully, for some of us, it’s a long and painful process.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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All Gone

All Gone.

Someone asked me last week; “How long does it take to heal a broken heart? How long before you’ve moved past the pain, betrayal and loss? How long before it doesn’t hurt any more?” I wearily smiled and replied; “I’ll let you know, as soon as it happens.

The act of forgiving someone is more than saying the words; “I forgive you.” It is a head and heart change, a spirit and emotional shift that takes time. Forgiveness is a process, a journey, which begins with some of the most difficult steps we can ever make. When someone has consciously, purposefully wounded us, torn apart a relationship, chosen to grievously harm us, there is no; “quick fix” prayer, magical spell or shortcut to a place of healing. To forgive is to make the choice to move on, not hold on to the bitterness and heartache, to allow the offending party and yourself to be free, and this choice is repeated many times.

The path of forgiveness is at first a downward spiral. We journey deep into ourselves and come face to face with the pain caused by the other. We admit and accept the hurt which has been done to us. We then bring the injury into the light by talking about it with someone we trust, someone who can help us navigate the path from brokenness to wholeness. Depending on the depth of the wound, healing, forgiveness, could take years. Remember it is a choice to let go of the blame, the pain and the burden of carrying around an act of selfishness, carelessness and callousness done to us by another. The choice is to hold on to the hurt or embrace freedom of mind, body and spirit. The decision might be made countless times until the impact of the betrayal is finally, permanently, all gone and we find the long, hard path to restoration complete and worth it.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twiter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Support

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This morning an elderly man chose the pew in front of me for the worship service. His choice of place was based on it being near one of the large wooden decorative beams located in the sanctuary. He had great difficulty sitting and standing so he used the beam
to steady himself. The church building itself was supporting him. When it came time to go to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion he slowly raised himself and made his way forward. The older gentleman couldn’t bend his knees at the railing as the priest served the body and the blood so the priest reached out to him to make sure he was served, included.

As I watched and reflected on the scene it was a beautiful reminder of what the community of faith should be, what we’re called to do. There are hurt, broken, scarred people who we encounter both inside and outside the church. We aren’t called to heal them, only God can do that. Our purpose is to include, support, serve and love them in every way possible.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Butting Heads

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There must be something in the air. Yesterday, on my way into the office, I passed two sheep butting heads. This morning, it was two cows, who were knocking noggins together. Neither was moving much, just a lot of gyrations, pushing, digging in their hooves and not wanting to be the loser of the battle.

As I watched them I thought about occasions when my ego and another’s clashed. We both tried to get the upper hand, establish our dominance, control, coerce, force our point of view and preference upon the other. The problem of course is that no one truly wins when egos clash. Ego breeds ego and the result is inflated self worth and self righteous judgment and hypocrisy.

Humility is the only antidote to ego. Knocking heads, throwing our weight around, stubbornly insisting on our way doesn’t get us and others anywhere but dirty and hurt.

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

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Dangerous Places

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This morning I slipped walking down the steps of our shed/cabin. I was taking some items from the truck and placing them into storage. I’d noticed the stairs were slick from the rain but after putting my things away I started back down and, not paying attention, my feet flew out from underneath me. I came crashing down hard onto the wooden steps, back first. Ouch!

It was a powerful, albeit painful reminder, that even when we know there is danger on the journey sometimes it seems unavoidable. We know life has its ups and downs, good and bad times, safe and dangerous places. Wisdom teaches us how to avoid many of these areas that would cause us harm. However, wisdom also teaches us that suffering is unavoidable.

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

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The Fire Within

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It’s not often when you can be outside wearing shorts and standing on your bare feet in the middle of November. Yet last night was one of those rare evenings when I stood in front of our fire pit with no shoes or socks, feeling the warmth of the flames on my toes.

I had gone to the woodshed to grab an old pallet to use as my firestarter. I lit it and sat in an Adirondack chair watching the blaze begin to grow higher and higher. Soon there were big embers floating through the air, many of them, and their flight course took them toward the house. I was becoming concerned. It wasn’t too long before my wife spotted the large fire from the kitchen and came outside to express her anxiety. I watched it closely and soon it burned down enough that I could relax and enjoy the November evening.

Earlier this week a gentleman told me the rage and anger within him, because of hurtful people and events in his past, was an inferno which burned so intensely it’s caused him to do much harm to himself and those he loves. It’s been the main catalyst for his drug and alcohol use vainly hoping they would dampen the flames. However, instead of putting them out the drugs and alcohol only added fuel to his fire. He was being consumed and hurting, not just for himself but for those whom he loves and who’ve also been victims of the flames that burn within him.

Wisdom tells us that unless we have a positive, healthy way to spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically deal with the anger that’s present inside each of us the fire will destroy us and those we hold most dear.

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

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Brokenness as Healing

He sat a few feet from me and I watched as tears began to fill his eyes. It dawned on him, perhaps for the first time, the sum of his actions, words, thoughts and the effect they had upon his family. He had been so wrapped up in trying to control situations and people that he didn’t realize how many things had slipped from his grasp. Now, in a time of crisis and questioning, of rejection and regret he understood. Silence filled the space between us and I waited as he composed himself enough to speak. Until this point disappointments, difficulties and despair had been things which were outside of him, people and events were to blame. Now, he realized he was the designer of his own defeat, a victim of his own ego and self obsession.

It’s never easy to achieve and sustain self-awareness. There are moments when we see ourselves for who we really are; the weakness, selfishness and shallowness. The cold reality sets in and we often reach for the blanket of judgement and justification to stave off the chill. To recognize our real selves, to accept the imperfections, insecurities and insatiable desire to control, coerce and craft others and the world in our image is the most humbling and hurtful lesson to learn.

When we arrive at this place of suffering do we choose to find relief by reconstructing the illusion or embrace the brokenness as healing?

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

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Hit or Miss

There are those days when you; “hit the nail on the head,” and others when you hit the finger instead.

Yesterday evening I finished building two doors for an outdoor lean-to we use for firewood and other misc objects. Critters have been messing around in it and I needed something to keep them out. The project wasn’t hard but my focus was off and in a relatively short amount of time I smashed my finger and hand with a hammer. I was becoming frustrated both by being off target and the pain which was shooting up my arm. Finally, doors in place, I went inside, washed and looked at my damaged digit and hand. Each one had already begun to turn purple and I rolled my eyes at my incompetence. This morning I looked again at the doors and at my bruises. The doors looked nice and will last, hopefully, longer than the damage to my hand. I also thought about all the nails that I hit on the head, drove into the wood without any problem at all.

The path we travel will have it shares of twists and turns, bumps and bruises, obstacles and heartaches. The temptation when we encounter these is to close our eyes to all the good, what’s going right, the blessings and focus solely on what’s not working, hurting us, the negative, impeding our way. The choice to look around and see the fuller picture can be the difference between keep going or giving up, hoping or despairing, living or just existing.

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

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All that’s Left

Cold, dry temps are not a friend to my fingers. The last several weeks I’ve been doing as much outside work as possible before winter decides to set up camp permanently. Sawing, nailing, raking, planting, digging and more have left my fingers bereft of moisture and they’ve begun to split along fingerprint ridges. Add to that scrapes, cuts and splinters and I have one rough-looking set of hands. Last night I poured hydrogen peroxide into a large platter and submersed my fingers up to my wrist. OUCH! It felt as if my hands were on fire! They were burning as the solution made its way into every crack and crevice, cleaning out the gunk, germs and goo. Following this I washed them with soap and water and then placed Neosporin and Band-aids on my poor digits.It’s been interesting trying to type and write today with fingers wrapped in a protective bandage, ointment getting on the keyboard and paper but the recovery will be worth the struggle.

Similarly life has a way of beating us up, scratching, scraping, wearing us raw. Our spirits and emotions are drained away and all that’s left is dryness and the wounds of battle. We long for recovery and restoration of spirit and mind but the way to wholeness and peace can be painful. The hurts must be recognized, cleaned and bandaged and living well while recuperating can be a struggle.

Learning new ways of being and doing is never easy. However, when the repair work is done and healing and health return we’ll be thankful for recovery and maybe even the scars.

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

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A Discounted Life

Earlier this week the Mrs. stopped by Lowe’s to pick up a few things. As she was perusing the Garden section she noticed a few Palms were on sale. They were drastically discounted because of being out of season and the damage they had sustained over the course of the summer. The plants had been treated badly, passed over, pushed aside, limbs bent, broken and now almost given away for free. Their value to the store was decreasing each day. To see them go out the door was good news for the bottom line.

Beth picked out a couple, brought them home and now the recovery begins. We will replant, prune, add nutrients, give them love and tenderness. It will take a commitment of care from us if these discounted, almost discarded, plants are going to survive and hopefully, one day, thrive.

In our lives we come across people who have also been discounted. They’ve suffered pain and abuse, heartache and trauma. Folks have tried to help, attempted to assist them, but they seem beyond aid. Others have written them off as a loss and hope someone will take the burden of a wounded soul off their hands.

People all around us have been set aside, discarded, seen and treated as less than. The question becomes; “Are we willing to take a chance on a ‘discounted’ life?” There’s risk and responsibility involved. It takes effort, passion and patience to try to help someone find meaning, purpose and worth again. 

What they need, each of us need, is hope, a chance to live a full life, someone who will help us when we can’t help ourselves and the belief everyone is worth saving.

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

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