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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

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Third Person

The weekend at the beach house
was more than just an autumn getaway;
it was a purging of sorts
and out-of-sorts
and a full embrace of last resorts
for just the two of them.

Saturday was good
but went as the mother knew it would
and as the daughter needed to endure.
Sunday brought a pouring rain
and silent solace to the house
as one stood staring through the pain
with hope's warm cup in both her hands
and love still sleeping in the other room.

By the time her daughter woke,
the sun had broken through the gray
and begged them both to stay and stroll
the boardwalk's damp and puddled planks
to funnel cakes and food stands in a row
and photo booths
where curtains shut out time
and funny faces are forever young;
then further on to a little shop
where something stopped them,
something small
that draped across her open palm
and dripped like sorrow down:
a cross it was for her to wear
(unlike the one she'd have to bear
through what the days ahead would hold).

She clasped it round her daughter’s neck,
and forehead to forehead paused
with blurring eyes that spoke for both of them.
Then turning back and walking close,
their heads at subtle angles to the wind,
arm in arm they walked and talked
until they saw the distant door.

Too soon to let the day be done
and knowing that the setting sun
in truth would bring a difficult dawn,
the notion came to try
the kite they’d planned to fly.
And so the daughter did
there in the cool sand
while mother watched her little girl
(grown up too soon and long ago)
against a scape of sky and sea
and innocence,
laughing at a kite that (just as she)
seemed tethered to this earth by more than string
and wanting more than life itself to soar
and please
and dance upon the breeze
and leave at last the breaking waves
and broken heart below.
© Copyright 2007, TK, Patterns of Ink


Blogger patterns of ink said...

I wanted to add this extended comment in connection with this post since it paints a picture with many missing details. This was a deliberate choice as I wrote it. Regardless of how hypothetical a piece may or may not be, the causes of human heartbreak are very real.

We live a couple miles from the beautiful seascape of Lake Michigan’s western shoreline, there are numerous towns nearby with wonderful boardwalks and beach houses(both residential and rentals). We frequent the boardwalks and dream about the beach houses. Throughout the summer, we walk the one in Grand Haven.

The variety of people is always entertaining—especially during special events like the Mackinac Kite Festival, Coast Guard Festival, etc. But when we visit the boardwalk “out of season,” it’s a different scene. By fall, the people there look toward the same horizon that the summer tourists see, but their gaze goes beyond it, seeing something far away or deep inside.

It reminds me of that wonderful story “A Sandpiper to Bring You Joy” that first appeared in Reader’s Digest in 1980. (Many former students of mine have used it in speech contests.) It can be found at the following link if you’re unfamiliar with it:

"Third Person" (a title that implies we're never as alone as we may feel) has a similar setting, but was prompted by a very different type of heartache.

I was reminded of it again last Sunday at church. We had “open mike” testimonials. It’s a brave thing for our pastor to do, because you never know what will happen. It’s also courageous for those who get up to speak.

First up was a middle-aged couple who sadly told us how their son was dealing with a serious drug addiction since high school, but had recently gotten out of rehab and been clean for three months. It was a wonderful testimony.

I’m sorry to admit it, but I casually knew this couple and was unaware of their struggle. Three of the remaining four testimonies all had to do with close loved ones who are addicts and need similar help. Each came from a person who looked as if they worked at a nice clothing store. These testimonies helped me further understand not only the bondage of illicit drugs but how common this secret burden is in “average, every-day” homes where one might not expect it.

There’s a place a couple miles from where here called "Teen Challenge." We pass it on our way to the beach. It’s a residential program that brings families, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters to this area to say “good bye” to a loved one who stays behind for a year in the program. This particular campus serves people from all over the Midwest.

I’ve not done it, but the weekend before leaving a loved one for a year of “cold turkey” treatment must have many mixed emotions. That’s what this piece is about.

"Teen Challenge" is somewhat of a misnomer because you must be older than 18 to be admitted. All the information below is from their website at:

Teen Challenge is one of the oldest, largest and most successful programs of its kind in the world. Established in 1958 by David Wilkerson, Teen Challenge has grown to more than 170 centers in the United States.

In the process of breaking down the addiction cycle, Teen Challenge has become a solution to the addiction crisis. Teen Challenge is known throughout the world for providing successful recovery programs.…

After completing Teen Challenge, hope is restored to more than just the addict, but to the family as well. Solid, positive relationships within community and family are also re-established. …

Many of our centers offer a one-year residential program for adolescents and adults designed to help men and women learn how to live drug-free lives. During their 1-year stay, they do not hold down outside jobs, as all of their attention is focused on the program. We challenge the residents to embrace the Christian faith. We see that when they do, their lives are transformed and they find true meaning and purpose.

Residents follow strict rules and discipline. All residents adhere to a daily schedule which includes chapel, Bible classes and work assignments on or near the grounds.

For information on Teen Challenge's curriculum visit the Teen Challenge Curriculum Page or contact us at tcusa@teenchallengeusa.com
or call (417) 862-6969.

14/1/07 1:26 PM  

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