Blog Archives

Fragile

Image result for baby deer

Fragile

My first inclination that something was happening on the road ahead was the car in front of me slamming on the brakes. I took my foot off the gas pedal and began looking around. Then, from the side of the road, a small, baby deer came running into my lane. It was unsteady and scared. I hit the brakes as it continued in a head on collision with my truck. At the last moment, it wobbled into the other lane almost getting hit by another car, crossed quickly again in front of me and then bounded on the side of the road. It tried to go further but there was a cow fence and he couldn’t find a gap. Watching I wondered if its mom leapt over the fence but the little deer’s legs just weren’t strong enough. It bounded out of sight looking for a hole in the fence. I continued on to church but on the way back I looked warily for its body on the road, hit by an unaware motorist. To my relief, there was no body or sign of it anywhere. I hope it found the place in the fence it was looking for or an adult deer showed it the way.

The baby deer was small and fragile, desperately looking for where it belonged. It knew the middle of the road was not the way.

I wonder if we are like this to God? Tiny, brittle souls in bodies easily broken. We try to find our way in life, looking for the hole, the gap, the answer, the way to the peace we desperately crave. Perhaps we are more like a brutish, boar recklessly, disastrously, making our way not caring what we break or who we hurt. Maybe we’re somewhere in the middle.

Either way, what we need, is someone to show us the way home.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

The Way Out

The Way Out

Yesterday evening Beth stopped by my office to see me (and give me some sugar!). After a while, she hopped back into her car and I got in my truck. She began to drive out the main entrance. I tried to warn her with hand signals not to go that way but she didn’t notice me. I, on the other hand, went another way to avoid all the traffic that bottles up at the main entrance, this time, every work day. After almost two years I knew to avoid it and how. As I made two quick turns I passed Beth who was still sitting in line and waved. I called her and she asked; “How did you get in front of me?” “Took a different, better way to get out as quick as possible,” I said. She laughed and I told her I would see her following a class I was teaching in the evening.

As I drove past her I thought of one of my favorite wisdom proverbs;

A man was walking down the street and fell into a big hole. Try as he might, he couldn’t get out. He heard someone passing above, it was a professor. “Hey, Sir! Can you get me out of here? I’m stuck.” he yelled! The professor threw down a book on philosophy and existentialism and kept on walking. Our man heard another person approaching, it was a priest. “Hey, Padre! Can you help me out? I’m stuck!” The priest wrote out a prayer and dropped it into the hole. The next guy was a good friend and the man yelled out; “Hey Joe! Please, I’m desperate. Please help me out of this hole.” The friend looked down and then proceeded to jump down in the hole. The man was flabbergasted! “What’d you do that for? Now we’re both stuck.” Joe smiled and said; “Relax. I’ve been in this hole before and I know the way out.”

The road of life is filled with u-turns, yields, long boring stretches, deep holes and exciting hairpin turns. Traveling with those who know the way is always better than traveling alone.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511

Not Ready

Not Ready –

At the end of my lecture today to a group of fathers and men suffering from the disease of addiction I asked those who have wives, girlfriends, partners who are pregnant or children of a certain age to stay for a few moments after everyone leaves so I can talk to them more about some of the services our organization offers. I do this after each talk given at this addiction treatment center. It doesn’t take long and usually the men oblige with no hesitation. Today, however, there was one father, I asked to remain, who flatly refused.

My first impulse was to say; “Why? Don’t you want to help your family? Don’t you need every resource possible so you and your family can break the cycle of addiction which is so prevalent in kids when they have parents who are abusers of drugs?” There was a rush of frustration and anger at the nonchalant way he refused help when I had just spent an hour talking about choosing to live a clean life and the impact this choice has on families. However, I bit my tongue, dismissed the group and spoke with those who decided to stay.

Wisdom teaches us to focus on the ones who are ready to receive not those who aren’t willing or able to grasp the hand extended to help. There is a temptation to keep chasing after those who run from us at the expense of those who are right in front of us, hands out, ready to receive. Part of our persistence in running after those who refuse is ego. We believe we’re the ones to “save” them and if the opportunity is missed they will be lost forever.

Wisdom, however, tells us; “When the person is ready the teacher, savior, will appear.”

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511

Where are You?

CharlottesWeb

Where are You?

Last night I went to watch the play; “Charlotte’s Web” in which my wife, Beth, was a character. It was a great production and, though my wife says I’m biased, I believe Beth was one of the best performers!

There were several people present at this dress rehearsal including a little girl who couldn’t have been older than three. She was, as little children are prone to be, having a hard time sitting still and when the intermission “finally” arrived she couldn’t hold her self in place any longer. She started running around, releasing her pent-up energy. As the intermission was coming to a close her mom jumped up to bring her back to her seat. The lights were dimming fast and mom couldn’t quite get to her daughter before the whole auditorium went dark. I watched as the little girl froze not sure where her mother went but the mom never stopped. She made a bee line to her, picked her up and held her. The daughter unfroze, hugged her mom and went back with her trusting completely.

I smiled as I watched this event unfold and wondered if this is what God desires from us. Many times we’d rather run off on our own. We have places to go, a world to experience, we can make the journey by ourselves. Then darkness falls, we lose our way, we look but don’t know where to go. Tragedy, chaos, unexpected events cause us to freeze wondering if we’ll ever find our way back home. God, however, is not afraid not deterred by the darkness. He has been and continues to pursue us. He finds us, picks us up, holds us close and our fear of being lost melts away. In total trust we let God gracefully take us back where we need to be and wonder why we ever left.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

wp-image-1780999662jpg.jpeg

Together

Together

This morning, I went into a store and was met with a booming voice coming over the store’s speakers. “Would the Grandmother of Jason please come to the registers? Would the Grandmother of Jason please come to the registers?” My first thought was a woman who had become enamored with her shopping list and had let her grandchild wander off. An elderly person passed me, approached the registers and the grandson hurriedly went up to her and declared; “I didn’t know where you were! I was looking for you!” When the child began to speak I could tell he had a learning disability and the grandmother, instead of being embarrassed or frustrated, told him calmly; “I was over there. I knew where you were.” She continued talking to him and they began walking through the store together. I smiled at the gentleness of the grandmother. She obviously was familiar with these situations and knew what to do to help the young man feel safe, to know she was near, he hadn’t been forgotten.

Reflecting on this sweet moment I wondered if this is how God sees, understands us. There are events we consider traumatic and chaotic. We panic and question; “God where are you? Have you forgotten us? Have you left us in the middle of this mess with no way to find you?”

God, on the other hand, is right there, with us. We may not see him but we’ve never been out of his sight. In his way, in his timing, he steps into view and we run, relieved and cling to him telling him how worried and alone we felt. He smiles, puts his arm around us, his voice and presence soothing our soul and we walk together along life’s path.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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

New Plan

New Plan –

After my incarcerated fathers class this afternoon I met with a resident for a time of mentoring. He was excited because he had received a letter from his estranged daughter and his time for release is coming quickly. We discussed his plans for getting out; what he was going to do, where he was going to go, short-term and long-term goals. After he laid out his plan I asked him what was plan B and plan C? I explained that one of the keys to not coming back was his ability to adjust to the unexpected. “Hopefully,’ I said, ‘everything goes well but in case it doesn’t, how will you reflect, react and remain on the right path?'” He told me he would work on plan C and discuss it when we meet again in a couple of weeks.

Wisdom stresses the need to be flexible in our plans, pursuits and purposes. Life’s journey has a way of surprising us with its twists and turns and not being able to correct our course can leave us lost in an unpredictable world.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511-4

Not the Same

4f2123502ce65703a32fa1e851a19a06

Not the Same

The grief in her eyes was impossible to miss. She had lost someone near and dear to her. One who was young, full of life, seemingly with many years left and then one day he was gone. We spoke in hushed tones almost afraid our usual tones would make this terrible truth more real. “I don’t think life will ever be the same again. Normal seems so far from here. How do I get back?” I looked into her shocked and sorrowful eyes and said; “You don’t. Life, as you knew it to be, is over. There is no going back. In time, with healing, you will learn to live in a new normal.”

There are moments, events, seasons in life which guarantee we will never be the same again. Tragedies, awakenings, epiphanies that change everything. What we held to, put our faith in, who we loved are lost. Our rhythm and sense of normal is disrupted. We long to go back, make everything; ‘as it was,’ hold on to that which seemed solid, lasting but it sifts through our hands like sand. Our desire to return is admirable but futile.The way back has been closed off to us forever.

Finding a new normal takes patience with ourselves. We must grieve not only the loss but the difficult path of newness. Even in these darkest of times there is a light in the distance, a rhythm faintly beating, a new normal waiting to be discovered.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511-4

Listen, Understand, Grace

image

Listen. Understand. Grace.

This week I had an appointment with a person, at a place, I’ve never been before. Arriving at where I thought it would be I checked in with the receptionist. She looked at her schedule and couldn’t find my name. I told her perhaps I was at the wrong address but she seemed to have missed that because she had me sit and wait. About 10 minutes passed and a gentleman came to the reception area and had me follow him. We sat and talked for a while but I couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. After another 10 minutes were gone the receptionist came in and interrupted us and said to me; “I think you’re in the wrong place. You want the building next door.” Frustration built as I, through gritted teeth, told her; “Thank you.” I made my way quickly to the other office building, found the correct place and checked in, again. I was late for my appointment but they worked me in and we’re understanding about the mix up. Their acceptance of my predicament was a gift of peace in a chaotic situation.

It was a great reminder that listening to the other person is essential if we are to help them get where they need to go and giving grace and understanding to those who are lost is like balm, a healing ointment for the soul.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

image

Knowing We Don’t Know

image

Thursday night I got lost. I was in Paris, TN, a place I’ve never been before, and ventured out to find dinner. I thought I knew where I was going because when I arrived in the afternoon I made mental notes of a few landmarks and restaurants. However, that was in the day time and now it was night. Somewhere I made a wrong turn and the more adjustments I made the more lost I became. Finally, after admitting to myself I had no idea where I was or how to get where I was going, I opened the map app on my phone and it showed me the way.

Wisdom tells us that knowing we don’t know is the key to understanding, gaining knowledge and insight. The difficulty is our ego doesn’t like admitting powerlessness, weakness and not knowing. It is only when we’ve let go of our pride and embrace humility that we can be shown the way.

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

image

Lost & Finding the Way

image

My wife and I went “shed hunting” this morning. We enjoy our little farm house but are in desperate need of some extra storage space. Our neighbors have a nice wooden building behind their home and suggested we go meet the man who built it. His name is Isaac, an Amish gentleman, who owns a sawmill, makes furniture and builds sheds of all shapes and sizes. They gave us directions and we got up early, on a Saturday!, to go see if he had what we’re looking for.

The directions we received from our neighbor were not “GPS quality.” They mostly consisted of statements such as; “When you get here, turn left. When you see this, turn right. It’s a ways down this road. Look for a white house. Just keep driving until you find it.” We did our best to follow the instructions but ended up lost.

Pulling into a gas station, the Mrs. went inside to ask for help and I tried to get a cellphone signal in the back hills of Tennessee to no avail. Beth had more luck and we recovered our bearings. We had missed a turn about ten miles back and when we retraced our route we figured out why. One of the; “When you see this…” part of the directions was spying a small sign for a local business that was mostly hidden by some fast growing corn. You couldn’t see it coming from the other way. We made the turn, found Isaac and ordered our shed.

On the way back home I thought about well meaning folks who try to help others. They know what aided them, led them to recovery, assisted them in navigating difficult parts of the journey. Their empathy and compassion moves them to offer assistance and advice on how to get to a better place.

However, wisdom tells us that the roads we travel, the signs that guide us, to a place of healing and peace aren’t the same for every person. Oftentimes the way we need to travel is only discovered when we’re lost and can’t see what we’re looking for.

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

image

The Last Place I Looked

image

Earlier today my wallet disappeared. I had stopped at a restaurant this morning to study for my fathers with addictions group. I took in a jacket, notebook and workbook. After ordering and paying I put my keys and wallet into my jacket pocket so I wouldn’t leave it behind.

When it was time to go I picked up both books, jacket and headed to the truck. I pulled my keys from the jacket pocket unlocked the door, placed the other items inside, reached back into the jacket but my wallet was nowhere to be found. I checked every pocket, in the seats, on the pavement, retraced my steps back into the restaurant, outside again, rechecked pockets, under the truck, floor boards, under the workbook, notebook, between the seats but no luck and no wallet. “Things don’t just disappear!” I said, reinforcing the hope I wasn’t losing what’s left of my mind. “It’s got to be here somewhere!”

As I stood there staring and pondering where it could be, what could’ve happened to it, the brown leather corner of my wallet caught my eye. Somehow, someway, it had come out of my jacket pocket and lodged itself in a hinge of my truck door (see photo above). Breathing a sigh of relief I plucked it from its hiding place, shook my head and was thankful for something valuable found in an unlikely place.

Life has a way of reminding us that it’s unpredictable and mysterious. Whether lost wallets, unexpected blessings, unwanted challenges or finding comfort and contentment in the last place expected we must keep our eyes and spirits open.

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

image

%d bloggers like this: