Blog Archives

Growth

Growth

Earlier today I mowed the grass. The back yard was ready to be cut but the front was a different story. The torrential rains we’ve had this week have left a large portion of the front yard too muddy to mow and some spots have standing water. Hopefully, next week, when it’s had more time to dry, I can try again.

What’s interesting is that the grass in this flooded area is still growing. The watery conditions have not impeded it. So, one part of the front yard is mowed with shorter grass while the other section is tall doesn’t look like it should.

Wisdom teaches us that growth can occur under several different types of conditions. We might think ideal conditions are where we would learn the best but this just isn’t so. Oftentimes we grow in the mud and the muck of the aftermath of storms which impact our lives.

When we understand that all types of experiences, challenges, difficulties, adverse conditions, can be fertile ground for our spirits we stop complaining and allow for the possibility that growth is mightier than the storms.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Power

Power

I heard two quotes today from two uniquely different people.

One said; “It is a sign of wisdom to be content with less than you feel you deserve.”

The second one said; “No matter what you achieve you’re not a failure if you’ve given your all.”

I liked both of the quotes. In a world where winning competitions, whether in a sports arena or the business board room, is seen as the goal for success, being content with less and giving your all but not beating your opponent seems to fall short. I’m not what some may label a “snowflake” but I know that snowflakes do an avalanche make.

I also know history and it tells me the path to glory and earthly immortality is an illusion. Power does indeed corrupt and absolute power destroys not just the person wielding it but innocents as well.

I wonder when, if, the world will ever walk the path less traveled. Is there an event that would convict of us the error of our ways? Deflate our egos? Humble our hubris? How many empires have to fall (I include America), how many victims must die, how many times must the lust for domination and control seduce before we realize the futility of such pursuits?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Powerless

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Powerless –

One of the hardest things to do in life is to admit we are powerless. It’s not in our DNA. We are overcomers. We make a way where there isn’t a way. We will not be conquered, helpless, ineffectual, useless, defenseless, defeated.

However, there are times when we have no choice. In spite of our defiance and indomitable spirit, we must admit we cannot win, change or alter a situation.

Wisdom tells us that submission can at times be our greatest strength. It is when we are still, not struggling, we find our way to peace and contentment. There is a difference between being physically or emotionally powerless and having the ability to know the fight isn’t ours to win.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabsaint.com

Try Again

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Try Again

All. Day. Long. Dropping things, misplacing things, bumping into things. I don’t know what’s up with my visual acuity and proficient dexterity today but I cannot seem to stop being clumsy. I am in an “oops” state of being. When it happens the first time you don’t really pay attention. When it happens again your eyebrow raises but you don’t panic. When it happens a third, fourth and fifth time you begin to wonder if you should crawl back in the bed and hit the day’s reset button. Oh yeah. There’s not a reset button. So, you simply try to make it through the day without hurting yourself or someone else. Today; graceless and inelegant. Tomorrow, hopefully, less awkward.

It never ceases to amaze me what little control we seem to have on things. How often, things we should be able to grab firmly, escape and elude our grasp. Days like today remind me that we are finite, and if not powerless, certainly much less powerful than we would estimate or imagine.

To grasp the truth of our limited mastery of the little sphere of influence we call existence is the first step to remaining calm and carrying on.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Vulnerability or Weakness?

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Vulnerability or Weakness? –

I was talking with someone today about the difference between weakness and vulnerability when it comes to relationships.

Weakness is not having power. An inability to stop, inhibit, make someone quit or start a particular behavior. Weakness is not being able to choose.

Vulnerability, however, is having the strength to do or not do a particular behavior. Vulnerability comes from a place of power a place of being able to choose.

When we are weak in a relationship it means the other has power over us. We are at their mercy, control and cannot choose another way.

When we are vulnerable it means we have power but can choose to approach, love, be with the other in a place that puts us at risk.

If we need to be in control at all times, dominate the other with reminders of our power we will never know true love and intimacy. Both of these come from a place that bears an inherent risk; to be wounded, to be left powerless.

Weakness and vulnerability. Knowing and practicing the difference can mean a life of togetherness and equality or isolation and loneliness.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Wrestling with the Wind

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Wrestling with the Wind

The wind has been blowing today, seemingly from all directions, ahead of a cold front which will settle into the area over the weekend. I spent part of the day raking leaves. Raking, gathering, keeping leaves in one place when the wind is determined to send them back to where you brought them from can be frustrating and defeating. The wind can’t be stopped by any force I have, nor can it be altered by anything over which I have control.

After a while I figured out if I would rake small piles, keeping the rake in place to keep the leaves from being blown away, I could eventually form a big enough pile to burn. I also discovered the raking job I was doing today wasn’t going to be close to perfect and I had to be okay with that.

This past week has been similar to my wrestling with the wind today. Many things are moving, changing, and it’s hard to pin anything down. No matter how hard I try, I do not possess the ability to keep things the same nor make them transition slower. Life’s journey has a speed all its own.

So, like the raking method, I take it in small, manageable sizes. I accept what I can that is changing and trust that each partial choice will lead to full acceptance of the inevitable transience of life in time. I’ll also allow for the truth of never being perfectly happy, blissful about change. Wisdom tells me progression not perfection is the way to peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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What is Prayer?

What is Prayer?

Last week someone asked me to pray for them. They explained what they were going through and I told them I certainly would remember them when seeking wisdom, peace and grace for those on my prayer list. Yesterday, someone told me they were praying for me. I know this person and many others pray for me regularly and it brings me a sense of hope.

The best definition of prayer I’ve ever come across is from Eugene Peterson; “Prayer isn’t getting God to do something but getting in on what God is already doing.” This to me is a powerful reminder that we’re not the catalyst to God acting. It’s also reflects the thought that God is present, knows our circumstances, is on our side and nothing escapes his attention.

Prayer comes in many forms and folks have countless views of how prayer works. I think what’s important is that prayer puts us in the position of humility, admitting we’re not in charge, have little, if any, real power. Pure prayer, for ourselves and others, is to want, desire the best but at the same time realizing we don’t know what’s best but trusting that God does.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Almost There

Almost There

April showers might bring May flowers but very little rain in May might not be a good sign for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday evening the Mrs. and I were outside looking at the skies hoping for rain. It was cloudy, gray and looked promising. As we watched it began to rain on a field across the street. We stood and watched the rain so tantalizingly close but seemingly not moving our way. “Come on!” I yelled, not sure if rain had ears but willing to take a chance. After what felt like forever the drops of rain began to move across the field and toward our house. Slowly, steadily we watched it soak the street, the driveway and then it began pouring all over the yard. It was wonderful! (If I had known yelling at rain would make it come to me, I’d have done it sooner.)

Life can be this way at times. We enter a season of dryness when our spirits and emotions are barren. We search for renewal and restoration and may even feel they are incredibly close but nothing seems to happen. We shout at the heavens pleading for the rejuvenation we so desperately need. Wisdom teaches us that in time, and on time, revitalization will come. It cannot be forced or coerced but if we are willing to accept, what is beyond our power to control, we will be strengthened and enlightened when the moment and our path are in sync with our need.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Power

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A yellow monster of a truck quickly lurched up behind me this morning. I was loaded down with wood, crawling along, when the driver of this behemoth decided I wasn’t going fast enough for him. He revved his loud engine and would slow down, wait a few moments, and then catch back up to me. Because of the small two lane highway we were traveling, there wasn’t anything either of us could do to rectify the situation. The obvious power of his truck aside we were both stuck, powerless. Finally, the road opened up, a passing lane appeared and he roared past me.

I smiled as he disappeared from view. It was a good reminder that each of us,  no matter the strength and power we think we possess, are always at the mercy of the things life brings our way we can’t change or control.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Ego Breeds Ego

Ego breeds ego.

I have a friend who is dealing with the impact of another person’s giant ego. This person throws his weight around, reminds subordinates of their place in the company’s food chain, bullies, threatens and seems completely unaware of his self obsession. He feeds his ego by feasting on others. Meetings are uncomfortable because other employees aren’t sure who the target of wrath will be for the day. “It seems selfish,’ says my friend; ‘but when he chooses someone else I’m relieved that it isn’t me even though I feel the other person’s pain.'” My friend has tried fighting back, confronted his rudeness, challenged his preconceptions, pointed out mistakes, but it hasn’t seemed to matter. “I’ve found that when I begin to focus on taking him down a notch or two, proving he’s not as great as he thinks, my ego begins to grow and manifests itself in ugly ways.”

As we worked though this issue I reminded my friend that; “Ego breeds ego. When your goal is to win or someone else to lose, you both suffer.” One of the most difficult people to deal with are those with an inflated opinion of themselves, especially when they are in positions of power. Wisdom teaches us that humility, even in the face of the egotistical, is the path we should walk. Power, pride, personal gratification always slips through the fingers of the grandiose. Starve ego, don’t feed it or breed it.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Down & Out Loud

On my way to the office today I stopped at a drive-thru and ordered a drink to take with me to a meeting. There was a long line and I didn’t have too much time to spare. The woman in the car in front of me ordered and then pulled up, but not enough for me to be able to move into position and place my order. After a few moments, waiting, I said out loud, seemingly to myself, “Let’s go lady!” I had already rolled down my window and then noticed she had hers down also. “Oops,” I thought to myself, “I hope she didn’t hear me.” I watched to see if there was any reaction from the woman and didn’t discern any. I breathed a sigh of relief and didn’t mutter another word.

“No one regrets a harsh word unspoken.” -Wisdom Proverb

It was a good reminder to me that words, once uttered, can never be taken back. Whatever the circumstances, or intentions, our words have the power of life and death. We should always be mindful to use them wisely.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Just Crazy Enough to Work

I have a few mottos for my life. One of them is; “It doesn’t take a lot of gas to drive me crazy.” Usually I find myself saying that after something, or someone, is on the verge of driving me crazy! The older I get the more convinced I am that it takes a special kind of insanity to stay sane.

I believe we can make a difference during our short time on this planet. With our limited power, finances, influence, gifts, abilities, convictions and purpose. We can change lives and when you change lives you change everything.

This is crazy thinking. It’s lunacy to believe our brief light on this dingy blue rock called; “Earth” can beat back darkness, pain, and hopelessness. It doesn’t make much sense to imagine a world, made better, by what and who we are, what we do and say, when we are so weak and frail.

Corruption, crime, wrongdoing, immorality and evil are just too much, too big, too powerful. Look around and see this is factual, true, without question. However, foolish ones never trust only their eyes or their minds. They listen to their spirits, they dare to believe that the perceived power of the villainous systems and structures is an illusion. We hold fast to the belief that a slightly “off kilter” person, doing all they can, when they can, could change their small part of the world and if enough nonsensical, impractical saints believe this; no power on Earth can stand against them.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Snagged

Plastic bag flying through the air

It floated effortlessly in the air across the opposite lane of traffic. It caught my eye as it passed over the left lane of my side of the highway and a gust of air lifted it up just enough to get over the hood of my truck and became stuck on my antenna. “What are the odds?” I thought, “that this plastic bag and my truck antenna would meet at the exact time and place where it would be snagged and now dragged?” It made an awful noise flapping in the wind. There were too many vehicles on the road to stop and of course a traffic light or stop sign was nowhere to be found. The antenna bent abnormally and because of it’s style the bag was gripped and not going anywhere. Finally, I arrived at a red light and when the truck came to a halt the plastic bag slipped from the antenna and blew away to aggravate someone else.

After the light turned green I made my way to an appointment and reflected upon the way life brings both good and bad things into our path. We aren’t expecting, nor could we arrange the blessing or perceived curse coming our way or manipulate the circumstances to embrace or avoid what we encounter. What we have the power to do is move forward, accept what comes and hope for the courage and humility to deal with the things which float into our lives and attach themselves to us.

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

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Taking Out the Trash

The last month, as I have recovered from being sick, I haven’t had enough energy to take the trash to the dump. It’s something I knew needed to be done but not something high on my priority list to do. This weekend I finally felt well enough to begin to gather up the bags and later loaded them into the truck and made the trip.  When I arrived at the dump I knew it was going to take a while because even though there are only two of us living in our house we tend to generate a lot of refuse. I began unloading it, trying to avoid getting wet from the rain which had recently fallen on the bags. A gentleman walked up to my truck and began unloading my garbage with me. I was pleasantly surprised and said; “Thank you sir!” “No problem.” he replied back. After we finished I thanked him again, he waved and I drove away with a heart full of gratitude for the smaller blessings of life.

Since this encounter I’ve also reflected on our ability to help others with the trash they carry with them on the journey of life. We do not have the power to force them to throw it away but when they are willing to get rid of it we can certainly help them unload their burden.

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

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Feasting on the Wind

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I heard someone today say; “All they’re doing is feasting on the wind.” That I can remember, its the first time I had heard this particular saying. I like it, a lot. Its powerful imagery. The wind comes in many forms. From summer breezes to tornadoes, limbs lightly swaying to hurricanes, wind can tickle our ears or tear apart our worlds.

As I reflected on it, a picture materialized in my mind of someone, on a hill, mouth open trying to catch as much wind as possible, swallowing hard and then repeating. However, no matter the effort they remained empty, void. You can’t feast on the wind. I then thought about our desire for control, power and recognition. These are indeed powerful forces and many chase after them assured they will satisfy. Instead we’re left empty, starved and still searching for that which will satiate our deepest hunger.

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

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The Other End

“When you pick up one end of the stick you also pick up the other end.” Choices. Consequences.

Several months ago a young man shared with me how his story of addiction began. A simple question; “Could he jump over one of the cement posts that stand outside of almost every Walmart store?” He couldn’t. A bad choice and a misjudging of how tall these posts actually are resulted in a shattered forearm and an addiction to pain pills a couple of years later. “If only I’d ignored the impulse to try to hurdle that post, impress my friends, make someone laugh, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Choices. Consequences.

Our choices determine our destiny. What we choose today is who we are tomorrow. May we never forget the power of a decision.

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

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the River & the Desert

“A gentle rain falling on a high mountain in a distant land. The rain was at first hushed and quiet, trickling down granite slopes. Gradually it increased in strength, as water rolled over rocks and soon it was pouring, pooling together as swift currents of a moving river. Down the mountainside, over cascading water falls, submerging all in its path.

Finally, having left the heights of the distant mountain range, the river made its way to the edge of a great desert. Sand and rock stretched beyond seeing and as fast and hard as the current splashed into the desert it was absorbed into the hot, burning sand.

Unsure how to move forward the river heard a whisper; “If the wind crosses the desert, so can you.” “Yes, but the wind can fly!” shouted the river. “You’ll never cross unless you let the wind carry you.” echoed the voice again. “But how?” begged the river. “Let go and the wind will guide you.” replied the voice.

The river could not accept this. After all, if it gave itself to the winds, could it ever be sure of becoming itself again? “Is this the only way?” it weakly asked. Ever so wisely a voice resonated within; “You cannot remain what and where you are, you must let go and give yourself to the wind.

The river was silent for a long time, listening, fearing, deciding. Finally, from the depths of stillness, the river released itself, trusting the voice, and its vapors rose to the welcoming arms of the wind. Gradually, being lifted up higher and higher, it was carried along on clouds over the wide desert wasteland.

After a season it approached distant mountains water began once again to fall as a light rain, hushed and quiet, trickling down granite slopes. Gradually it increased in strength, rolling over rocks and across the terrain, countless drops coming together and soon swift currents flowed, a river would soon be reborn.” – an ancient wisdom parable

There was a time when each of us didn’t know who or what we were. Nothing and no one had placed labels upon us. We were carried along and trusted, knowing the way would reveal itself. However, eventually, society, family, would assess strengths and weaknesses, assign identities and aliases and these would become who and what we were to the world, to ourselves. They became our boundaries, our beliefs and we could go no further.

Then, if we have ears to hear, wisdom begins to whisper our name. Deep calls to deep. A stirring begins in our souls and an ancient voice tells us to release our misconceptions, perceptions of life, fate, reality, eternity. It is a calling to see power and control, not as forces to wield or weapons to coerce, but as the ability to let go and be swept away by the wind, the breath of creation, to an unknown place and truly know ourselves for the first time.

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

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What Can We Do?

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It’s been a rough couple of weeks for several friends. Many are suffering pain and loss. There has been death, injury, mental diagnosis, health issues, setbacks, financial struggles, legal battles and more. You hurt when others are suffering; feelings of inadequacies, trying to figure out what you can do to ease their burdens lays heavy on your mind and spirit.

Someone in the office asked today; “Why do people bring food to families whose loved ones have died?” A co-worker answered; “Because there’s nothing you can do about death.” I thought this was a good and truthful answer.

There are so many things we can’t do anything about, so much that’s beyond our control. Death, disease, and other extreme difficulties descend on people we treasure and if we could we’d take it away but we don’t have that power.

motherTeresa

Accepting our powerlessness is the first step in helping. We are finite beings. We are limited in knowledge, expertise, special abilities and do not posses powers to make all things better by wishing it to be so or worrying obsessively.

Awareness of what we can’t do enables us to see how we can assist those in need. Then we take action. The size of our offering isn’t as important as the spirit in which we give. There is no act of good so small that it’s ineffective. Our hearts propel us to do, not for gratification, but because there is a way to help, love, give hope, be a light to someone living in darkness.

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

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When Life Keeps Going & Going & Going

This video fascinated me yesterday. The washer kept going and going and going. I kept waiting for it to quit, thinking it might just fall apart, expecting it to explode but it simply held up under extreme hardship and duress.

I think this video captured my attention, in part, because I haven’t felt good the last couple of weeks. However, life doesn’t stop because I’m not at my best. It just keeps churning. I’m not sure which I identified with more; the washer or the piece of metal thrown into it.

Life has a way of testing us, pushing us to our limits, seeing how much pressure, stress, anxiety and chaos we can handle before we quit. We like to think we’re similar to the washer’s motor which, even after everything else crumbled, kept spinning, never surrendering.

Truth is however, no matter how much inner fortitude, grit, resolve and will we have sooner or later the plug will be pulled and our energy supply ceases. The washer motor was willing but without the power to make it go it was only another piece of metal.

Making sure we can keep going isn’t about toughness and stick-to-it-ness, it’s making sure what powers us can’t be disconnected.

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

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Speaking Truth to Power

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This afternoon I watched an interesting documentary on Anita Hill. It included bits and pieces of her life but mostly focused on the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, her accusation that she was sexually harassed by him and the fall out from the decision.

I hadn’t thought about Anita Hill in twenty plus years. I remember watching the hearings in college and not really understanding what was going on. As I watched the news footage I was struck by the image of this small black woman being interrogated by a group of middle aged white men. I admired the fortitude it took for her to sit in front of them and millions of Americans for nine hours answering embarrassing, intimate, shameful, humiliating questions. Her life was placed under the harsh spotlight of the press, the United States judicial system, tabloids, political pundits and private investigators. She endured this pressure and scrutiny because she dared to speak her truth to power, to confront an injustice, to not back down in the face of enormous odds.

Speaking truth to power isn’t easy. Facing persecution because of a belief takes an assurance that the pain is worth enduring and the cause is worth the hurt. In our lives we may never be called to capital hill, involved in a national controversy, have our life dissected by TV news anchors and radio hosts but we may one day need to choose either to stand by what we say we believe, speak truth to those who don’t want to hear it, to risk it all…or not.

The question of course is; “will we?”

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

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