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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who But He Can Help?

I'm bringing this post temporarly to the top of POI today because this incredible story aired on DATELINE NBC tonight, Friday, March 28, at 9 p.m. ET. and may be featured on Oprah this WEDNESDAY afternoon.

Through the years, we have had graduates attend Taylor University in Indiana. This story of mistaken identity affected that campus but played out here in west Michigan almost two years ago. (The Cerak family attends the church up in Gaylord that was the home church of our yearbook teacher. Her children attend our school.),
Be sure to watch Matt Lauer's special DATELINE tonight. Here are some related interviews from Thursday's Today Show:
Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Follow this link to many artilces about this story and the new book, Mistaken Identity..
Originally Posted 6-2-2006 : I sat up last night reading a surreal string of blog posts [link no longer active] by an extraordinary person named Lisa Van Ryn. If like millions who have heard this week’s story you are at a loss for how to feel, the two families can help you. Read the days as they unfolded at this blog
(Update as of 6-10-06: I noticed today that this blog can no longer be found . See additional thoughts at the end of this post. On June 5, the Cerak family began a new blog at:http://whitneycerak.blogspot.com/

A family in our school came recently from the Gaylord church that will someday welcome Whitney Cerak home. These friends of ours have their own incredible story of loss, forgiveness and healing.

As this current story of redeemed mourning unfolds, I feel unworthy to share in the grief of these souls whom God has chosen to carry an unspeakable burden of love and loss, but I sent them this today:

Who but He can help

Who but He can help
assuage the anguish
of the found and lost?
Who but He
can know the cost
of having tendered a rose
till first the blush
and then the bloom returned
in sweet awakening…
to loving strangers
who now have learned
their present nearly held has passed,
and another’s past is present?
The mind cannot undo
twists of time;
the heart cannot contain
such mingled joy and sorrow.
This budding hope
comes with a thorny stem
that who but He can help them hold?
Who but He who taught them
what they know of love…
and thorns?

© Copyright 2006, Tom Kapanka

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with them that do rejoice,
and weep with them that weep.
As mentioned above, the link to the day-to-day account written mostly by Lisa VanRyn is no longer accessible on the web. I respect their privacy and decision. If this story ever becomes a book [it did], movie, or TV special, I hope they include portions of that now-closed blog [they did]. It is a very human testament of faith and faithfulness. The changing of the blog may help pass the joy of recovery fully on to the Cerak family so the VanRyn family can move on in grief (and shared joy for a family they will be forever connected to). [On September 7, 2012, I met Lisa Van Ryn who came and speak to our high school students. She confirmed that it was for these reasons they took down that blog. I am happy to share her current new site at lisavanryn@wordpress.com.]
The two families may also be on Oprah WEDNESDAY, April 2..
The first 3 comments below are from 2006.


Blogger Jody said...

Thank you, Tom for posting a comment on my Nitty.Gritty. blog and for leading me here to yours. I've been enjoying your stories and insights...I especially loved the Wedding Cake!
I appreciate your kind words about my family and the way we have handled our unfortunate circumstances in life. I, however, take no credit for that, and instead give God all the praise He deserves for pouring Himself out in the ways that He has done in my life. I will continue to read blogs and to write my own. I know God can use me in this simple way. He is amazing!

4/6/06 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, Thanks for stopping by. It's been such a joy to get to know your family this year and now to get to know your thoughts better at Nitty-Gritty. I told the staff about your blog this morning.It is amazing to me how God prepares people to be of help to others by taking them through divine apprenticeships, but your perspective on this current news story was especially helpful to me and I trust it will be to the families involved.
Tom (who is not anonymous to you but who doesn't know how to post an identified comment on his own blog. :)
P.S. My mother from "The Wedding Cake" was here this weekend for graduation. It was great to visit with her and Bob.

5/6/06 11:26 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Yes Tom I can see why you would compare the two poems and they were both written under somewhat similar circumstances.

Yesterday 04/26/07 I heard of a young woman who was hit head on by a drunk driver, her cousin was killed and. her spinal cord was severed all the way through making her a parapeligic except for some movement in her right arm.

In my own simple way I was offering her and her family the comfort and strength that from God that I have known.

Peace and thank you

TWM aka mark

27/4/07 11:49 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

Sometimes kind words are all we have to give and though never adequate they still help.

28/3/08 2:31 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Dr. John,
We've been watching Dateline in the family room tonight (I'm watching NCAA basketball during commercials. Yikes! Michigan St. is getting clobbered so far.)
This is one of the most compelling news stories I've ever followed. Quite a testimony of faith.

28/3/08 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I watched to see the explanation of "how" the 2 young women could be some how mixed up and have the mistaken identification. After watching the program it is easier to understand. I was amazed at how NBC allowed the expression of faith to be depicted. I understand that these families will be featured on Oprah next Tuesday. I have to wonder if "she" will "allow" that to happen as we know that Jody from "nitty gritty" said they weren't with their own story of grief and suffering. Thank you for posting this!! About an incredible story of grief....but God being glorified through it!

29/3/08 8:46 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I've seen the video from when Jody was on Oprah. She and Chip did a great job on that show. That church up in Gaylord has been through a lot together. Didn't the care-giving "sister" do an excellent job in that interview? I was reading her blog every day (former students were down at Taylor, and they kept us posted, too). It was such a shock to read the entry when she knew for sure it was not her sister. If this is on Oprah Tuesday, I may leave this post up until then.
Thanks, WSL.

29/3/08 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I saw Chip and Jody on Oprah as well...and that was long before I "discovered" her blog. It was when reading the blog that it clicked a vague memory of the show. I remember thinking to myself (at the time of the Oprah viewing) "I wonder 'if' they are Christians??!!" I don't think they could come right out and say as much but it was the way they said their words etc. that gave me pause. I think that Christ indeed was glorified through them at that time and they did do a great job! As I remember it, the tragedy had been fairly recent and they showed suce poise through their grief! Truly a "God-given thing"!!

As for the NBC show the other night...I was amazed at how well both families did under such hard circumstances. I pray that Matt Lauer's heart (and others in his production staff--and beyond) will be touched by The Holy Spirit! The caring-sister was very articulate and did an amazing job!!

30/3/08 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God!!! I am just finishing watching the Oprah show today and I'd have to say that He was glorified! Faith was portrayed in the truest sense..through these dear families. God's word was proclaimed...it truly was amazing!!!! They showed how forgiveness is supposed to be done!

2/4/08 4:56 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I just got in for the evening BUT we did record the show and my wife and I getting ready to watch it. Thanks for telling us about this. I would not have known otherwise. Looking forward to it.

2/4/08 6:31 PM  
Blogger jewell said...

I too have followed Whitney's and Laura's story from day one. I didn't know how the Ferlaaks and Cerek's lives intertwined until the other day. Such tragedy that breaks my heart. God is so faithful to bring joy out of something so terrible. I couldn't put the book down and read it in one evening. I watched both shows and thought that Dateline was the best. I commented to our kids that the newscasters and the audience sure have heard the gospel.

7/4/08 9:02 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Hi, Jewell,
Sometimes it take me days to see comments down the page. Emily came over the other night to watch these two shows. We recorded them. We all seem to agree that Matt L. did a better job than Oprah, but in fairness, she had a "live" situation and audience--that makes a huge difference.
Yes, the Ferlaak's tragedy unfolded in that same Gaylord church just a few years before this mistaken funeral. It is such a heartwrenching story, but I continue to be amazed by both families. (All three families I should say.)

9/4/08 10:21 PM  

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