Blog Archives

Balancing Act

Balance

Life is a balancing act. It is a lesson I have been keenly aware of this week. To walk the line between the joy of being alive and the acceptance that one day everything, everyone dies takes careful, reflectful steps. If you veer too far one way or the other you fall into illusion and suffering.

We all want to live but not just live, to thrive. This is our desire for those we love as well. If we could we would protect ourselves and everyone we care about from disease, difficulties, and death. However, when we forget our place, our lack of power and lack of ability to make life safe and well, we become anxious, envious and desperate.

It takes a while to learn to walk through the narrow gate of humility and acceptance. The narrow path becomes more narrow but the paradox is the smaller the way becomes the more we open ourselves to grace and healing.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Recharge

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Recharge

Today is Holy Saturday. The Master is dead. Hope is gone. Failures are many. All that’s left is silence and the stench of death in a dark tomb.

I went to the dump today and had to take some cardboard to a special container. The big enclosed metal holder was almost empty and dark. I had to take the pieces of cardboard to the back of the container and when I came out of the dark, smelly thing I thought of Jesus leaving the tomb.

On my way home from the refuse and recycling center, which takes me down a long isolated road, a man signaled me to stop and stated that he needed a “jump-start” to his truck. He had been working since early and had forgotten to turn his lights off. We hooked up the cables, waited a while, tried a few times that didn’t work and finally, his battery was charged with enough power to bring his engine back to life.

I thought of Jesus, the Light of all lights and how he had given all his light to those who would extinguish it.I wondered what happened in the empty tomb. Did God the Father have some sort of spiritual “jumper cables” and shock his Son back to life? Or did he gently breathe new life into him like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden?

Holy Saturday. A day of disappointment. A day of fear. A day after and a day before.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Stuck

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Stuck

This morning I listened to a man tell a story about a time he and his wife went hiking during the fall in a National Park. He described the scenery and that he and his wife were so absorbed in the beauty they didn’t realize how late it had become. They hurried back to the car, trying to be in the vehicle before dark. They made it and then pulled out of the deserted parking lot. Unfortunately, they were met a large yellow chain hooked on two polls each side of the entrance/exit.  They weren’t sure what to do. There wasn’t enough room to drive on either side of the polls and they didn’t want to be there all night. As they sat in their car wondering who to call the wife asked a simple question; “Is there a lock? I don’t see a lock on the chain or polls.” The husband got out of the car, walked up to the chain unhooked it and went back to the car smiling at his wife’s genius. They drove through the exit and then put the chain back in place.

The man followed up his story with a reflection on how often we think we’re stuck, there’s no way out, a hopeless situation. He said that once we decide we can’t go, get or keep moving, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I reflected on the man’s reflection and began thinking about times in my life where I thought I couldn’t go any further but by the grace of God, the kindness of loved ones and friends I was shown a way and was able to get unstuck and keep traveling the road of life. I’m thankful today for those who are smarter than me, see different from me, think in ways I don’t and can show me the way when I can’t see how to keep going.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Two Things at Once

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Two Things at Once

I am working on a project that requires two people. There is only one person home today, me. I tried doing it by myself, holding it just right, balancing it just so, tying it off, everything I could think of and no matter what I couldn’t do it alone.

I reflected on the project after I gave up and wondered if there are times things require two people to remind us how much we need each other. I heard someone use the word; “collectivism” this week. In their minds it was a bad thing and that our communities, nation, and the world had been convinced that we can no longer do great things alone. For him, it was a weakness that should be destroyed.

I don’t agree. To need each other is not weakness but strength. It means we have the intelligence to know we cannot do all things singularly and the humility to ask for help. Perhaps, if we had more of both our world wouldn’t be in such dire need today.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Open Ears

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Open Ears

No one likes to be told they’re wrong, what they believe is misplaced, what they think is illogical, what they say is confused. Compliments are nice, they stay with us for a while, like a pretty flower, that eventually fades. Criticisms can be wounding and leave a scar that impacts how we live, feel about ourselves, understand our world. This is why criticism is met most often with denial and contempt.

However, one of the greatest disciplines is to learn how to listen to those who may not have the nicest things to say about us. In spite of the urge to fight or insult, hurt them for hurting us, simply dismiss, we should listen. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is; “Listening is not agreeing.” We listen out of respect for the other because we cannot be respected if we don’t first respect. We listen because each of us has our own ideas, ways of doing things, view of life

Finally, we listen because maybe they are saying something we need to hear. Some of the hardest criticisms to accept are those which end up being on target. Perhaps at first, we didn’t want to hear what was being said but a wise person always allows for the possibility of growth. After listening and reflecting we heed the criticism and, hopefully, grow and become a better person because of it.

Aristotle says; “The sign of a wise mind is the ability to think a thought and not necessarily believe it to be true.

I believe Aristotle might add that sometimes, what is said and thought, turns out to be true.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Wait a Moment

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Wait a Moment

I wore short sleeves today! That may not seem a big revelation but just four days ago the high was near 20 degrees and today the thermometer almost hit 70. I’m not sure what’s going on with winter this year but it seems as confused as I am. I was lucky to find a short sleeve shirt since I packed up all my spring and summer clothes a couple of months ago. There is a saying in Tennessee; “Don’t like the weather? Wait a moment!” It certainly describes what’s happened the last few weeks with severe cold spells followed by several warm days. Who knows what the rest of the season will be like. Will we seemingly experience all the seasons in one as we have so far or is winter setting us up for what comes next? Only time will tell.

As I drove to my incarcerated father class tonight I was thinking about my short sleeve shirt and the crazy winter we’ve been experiencing. I also reflected on how seasons of life can seem this way when everything happens at once. There’s good, bad, negative, positive, neutral and it can leave us crazed, confused with our heads spinning. Life is much like the saying about the weather in Tennessee; “…wait a moment, it will change.”

Life is transition. On the surface, this can be disconcerting but there’s also comfort in knowing even the harshest of seasons will not last forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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In the Dumps

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In the Dumps

Today, as we were eating lunch, I heard what sounded like rain hitting the tin roof of the porch. I knew it couldn’t be rain because apparently, it doesn’t rain in Tennessee any longer (sarcasm, but it’s been a long dry fall after a long dry summer).

The noise continued so when we finished our meal Beth and I went out onto the porch to look around. We discovered that the large Oak tree over-hanging it was filled with birds, we assume migrating, who’d decided to take a break from their travels and decorate the tin with their droppings. Lovely. I yelled; “Go! Go! Go!“, clapped my hands and they dispersed only to come back around about an hour later. Sigh.

As I reflected on the bird poop, yes, you truly can reflect upon anything, I thought about how sometimes, out of the blue, life can take a dump on you. I don’t mean to be crass but not sure how to say it differently. You do your best to avoid it, seek shelter, perhaps even stop it for a brief time but in the end, you’re still covered in gunk, your life is a mess, and you’re left wondering; “What happened?”

Wisdom reminds us even bad seasons of life have a stopping point. When it’s over, you clean yourself off, look above, thankful for the clear, blue skies and keep moving forward.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Fill My Cup

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Fill My Cup

Sunday morning, heading into the sanctuary for worship, I grabbed a styrofoam cup from the coffee stand and went to a water fountain to fill it up. As I filled it with water, I was also saying; “hello” to a few people and thinking about several other things. After a while, I looked down at the cup and noticed it was only half filled. So, I kept the faucet going, felt the eyes of the person behind me waiting for me to finish, checked again and it was only half filled. I then let go of the lever to the fountain, picked up the styrofoam cup, looked at the bottom and noticed it had a big hole. The water was leaking out almost as fast as it was being put in. I emptied out the bit which was remaining and threw the cup away. I then walked down the hall to where the kitchen was located, the door was open, so I went in and grabbed a plastic cup, made my way back to the water fountain and filled up the cup with ease. I went into the sanctuary, found where my wife was sitting and stood beside her.

As we sang a chorus I wasn’t familiar with I reflected on the oft heard statement; “I hope the singing and the sermon is good this morning! My heart needs to be filled up today. I’m almost empty.” I chuckled as I thought about the first cup with the big hole. It wasn’t the fountain’s fault the cup wasn’t being filled. Maybe, instead of looking to church, concerts, special services, “good ol’ preaching,” or whatever the newest, most popular sermon series happens to be, we should check our heart for holes. This could be why we’re empty every Sunday. Too many times we look outside before inside to see what the problem may be.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Swing and Miss

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Swing and Miss

Finger meet hammer, hammer; finger.”

Earlier today I was trying to wedge a piece of wood into a tight spot without damaging it. I grabbed another block of wood to use as a buffer from the hammer while getting the wood in place. It was slow work but working when I became distracted, the block of wood slipped, or simply poorly aimed and I whacked my thumb with the hammer. “OUCH!” I immediately dropped both the hammer, the block of wood, stepped away and took several deep breaths and tried to shake the pain away. Several hours later the finger still hurts and I’m still not sure how I managed to try to pound my digit instead of the wood.

Wisdom teaches us there are painful lessons in life. We can reflect back upon some and realize the mistakes which were made, things we could have handled differently, while other events seem to happen for no rhyme or reason. Part of living a mindful lifestyle is knowing there isn’t a lesson in every accident, difficulty or problem. The pain is real, the healing takes time and we move on wiser for knowing nothing more than sometimes things just happen.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.comimg_0511

 

What Ails Us

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I spoke with a man this week who seems to always be mad. His temper flares up at the slightest provocation, angry, hurtful words are used as a weapon to hurt those closest to him and many he cares for can’t stomach to be around him for very long. “If only (insert name, group of people) would/wouldn’t do (insert behavior) then I wouldn’t get so angry!” I pointed out to him that others are not the cause of his caustic personality. “You decide! What your reaction will be to things that frustrate, confuse, irritate and drive you crazy is your choice.”

Its easy to blame others, circumstances, for the hatred, loneliness, grudges, judgemental attitude we carry in our hearts. We want someone or something  to be responsible for our unrealized dreams, ruptured relationships and life not being the way we desire it to be. Only when we become self aware enough to look inside of ourselves will we find the source and the cure for what ails us.

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

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A Reflection of Others

This painting, creatively placed on the side of a building, is of people having fun by the lakeside but it can only be seen properly on the reflection of the water.

I was talking with a friend this week who struggles with a positive self image, has trouble believing they are worthy of being loved, cared for, accepting empathy and affection. Because he has difficulty seeing the good in himself, when we connect I make sure to reflect back to him the strengths and value within.

There are folks in our lives who have distorted views of who they are, what they have to offer, their significance, desirability. When we encounter these hurting ones, perhaps the greatest blessing we can bestow upon them is to reflect back to them who they truly are and not who they see themselves to be.

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

doppleganger

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I glimpsed a reflection of you today
in the face of a stranger 
suffocating my soul with memories 
frightened and barely breathing

plagued by the spectre 
of how we used to be
hovering in my consciousness 
haunting every moment

how do you let go of the past
when it possesses your present
how do you ignore a ghost
when it catches you by surprise

---
bdl
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