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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

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


There is a wind we cannot see
that whispers where it will,
and gusts toward eternity
‘gainst tethered hope until
resistance is enraptured
torn from soil and sod,
caught up and gladly captured,
borne by the breath of God.
This weekend is the Annual Great Lakes Kite Festival at Grand Haven. Four years ago, my youngest daughter and I flew her kite there. Things were going great until the string broke and her 4-foot silken swallow landed about 20 yards out in the cold Lake Michigan waves.
I rolled up my blue jeans and waded out to get it. The 50-degree water ended up being waist deep—so much for the rolled-up pant legs—but we had a good laugh.
The short poem Borne at the top of this post was born of thoughts about kites and specifically by the feeling I got as I watched the video at the end of this post. You must see it, but don't go there yet.
Have you ever thought of the relationship between the words born and borne? We say a woman "bears" (carries) a child until it is born, but when the wind "bears" (carries) something, we say it is borne as in airborne. The first type of "born" requires the breath..of life; the second type of "borne" in a physical sense requires wind. In a spiritual sense, it requires the breath of God.
There is a great old hymn entitled "Breathe on Me Breath of God." To hear the tune and read the lyrics go here. To hear it sung by Steve Green go here .
I can't help but wonder if somehow the similar meanings of born and borne and breath of life and breath of God don't shed some light on the conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus in perhaps the most quoted chapter of the Bible, John 3.
Nicodemus is stumped by something Jesus told him. It's a statement many people who seek the truth still struggle with 2,000 years later: "...Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus is puzzled. "How can a man enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again?" Then Jesus explains there are two kinds of birth: the natural birth of the flesh he calls being born of water (as in when the mother's "water breaks"), but the second birth He says is spiritual: "...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
Then in verse 8, Jesus speaks the words that prompted the lines of this short poem. "The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
The New Testament was originally written in Greek . Pneuma (πνευμα) is Greek for "breath", and it is the word pneuma that is translated as "wind" in verse 8 but also as "spirit" in verse 6 and at the end of verse 8. I'm no Greek scholar so please don't put too much stock in the following application. I mean well but could be wrong.
I wonder if the "second birth" Jesus told Nicodemus about might mean both "born"—as in spiritual new birth—but also borne, in a more figurative sense, "borne" –as in caught up, carried, and delivered by the Spirit's will and not our own? Borne in the sense that a kite is caught up and dependent on the wind and thereby becomes less tethered to this earth while being more bound to the One controlling it. If so, it gives new meaning to an old folk song, because "the answer, my friend, [truly] is blowin' in the wind."
If nothing else, my thinking out loud with you here provides a basis for the metaphor and meaning of the eight lines of Borne. It may also help if you consider the implications of will, tethered, resistance (likewise this related term), and enraptured.
Now for the video that set these thoughts soaring in the first place. It's the most beautiful illustration of Borne I have ever seen. The man flying the three kites is Ray Bethell. Little did I know when I began this post that he resides in Vancouver, BC, home to some of my blogging friends.
Watch the incredible Bethell video that inspired this post.

[The video's gently floating score is "Flower Duet" from the Lakmé opera by Leo Delibes. It does in song what "Breathe on Me Breath of God" does in prayer.
See comment #20 from Ray Bethell.]

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Blogger Dr.John said...

A very thoughtful piece with lots of really good pictures and music. To think of us a s being carried along by the Holy Spirit is interesting. Thanks for the insights.

16/5/07 8:00 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I was hoping you would come by. Your pastoral feedback is always welcome. (Most of the photos are from flickr.com, a great free photo sharing tool.)

16/5/07 8:23 PM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

This is an inspirational post and one that puts my mind to pondering deeper meanings.

The wind has always had the power to draw me toward the sacred. It reminds me of God, perhaps his voice, I don't know for sure. Anyway, it calls me to that spiritual place where I feel especially close to God.

I tried to get to the video, but I couldn't. My screen started acting weird. Lots of fluttering of certain parts of it. But the hymn was beautiful. I was able to listen to its melody and read the words. Nice touch. I like all the enhancements that are becoming available to bloggers.

16/5/07 10:10 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

WOw. AMazing video. I should try to take my kids to the kite festival. Your poetry and insights here are as I would expect...beautiful and thoughtful. I will think more on this post. Thank you for sharing them here.

16/5/07 10:43 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Before writing this and studying that passage and the word Pneuma (meaning breath and wind and spirit), I may have thought it a bit mystical or "Native American" to think as the wind as such, but Jesus himself made the comparison. One must remember that metaphors illustrate things more so than prove them, but this illustration is still capturing my imagination.
Try that video link on another computer--it really is amazing.

Do go to the festival. It's beautiful and quite a celebration of spring, wind, and ideas like these. I hadn't thought of the implications before. That's always interesting, but I wish I knew Greek better. =) Glad the video at the end worked for you.

17/5/07 5:36 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

I always loved kites. The wind also facinated me and I learned how to fly kites and sail boats at an early age.

I wish I could write poetry the way you do Tom. My use of language is pretty much limited to telling stories, rendering opinions and of course teaching technical details. I was an instructor in the Navy and now I do it for the railroad. This was from the previous post comments:
As for recording "readings" of posts. I like the idea, and would do it if I knew how. J_G, knows how to get music to play when you open her posts. I suppose I could figure it out when I have some time. Got a School Board meeting tonight.

I emailed some basic instructions to you at a hotmail account that you emailed me from to my JenniferG57yahoo address and I don't know if you ever got it. If not, email me from an address that is valid and I'll send a copy of that email to you again.

17/5/07 8:40 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

Part II

I was talking with my Pastor last week during Bible study and he said something along the lines of; our church was not very spirit oriented for many years. He explained that the people there are very Germanic(Lutheran)and like things to be very orderly and spiritually throws an element into things that doesn't fit neatly into categories so for the most part it went missing for many years.

I was born of the spirit or reborn as some would have it, back in the late 70's when I was still on active duty. It made for some pretty tough soul searching for me at the time. I fell away for a time some years later and then rediscovered God's spiritual being inside of me again a few of years ago. I still struggle every day to be of the spirit and it's much like your daughter's kite you describe; one day you are soaring high, riding the wind as it is meant to be and then the string breaks and it falls into the cold water of the lake. You have to wade in and drag it back to shore, dry it out, make some adjustments, fix the string and try to get it to fly again.

The kite is a very good analogy of the spirit that is so much a part of our being.

As far as getting a great sailing ship going when there is no wind to fill the sails you may refer to my story about the ingenuity of Captain Isaac Hull, maybe he got his idea from the spiritual song that we all know. Michael row the boat ashore, alleluia

17/5/07 9:09 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Tom, what a beautiful post. There is something very spiritul about the spirit of the wind. Where I grew up, the First Nations people say "The Great Spirit" is in the wind.

What a gorgeous video as well. It's nice to see someone has made that. I have spent many hours watching Ray Bethel. Jericho Park, where he sails his kites, is within walking distance of where I live, and the Munchkins and I have gone there to fly kites. He has even helped us with ours, and often gives tips to the other novice kite flyers there. It's also a great spot to watch the annual fireworks festival.

Ray Bethel is an institution here, and you know spring has arrived when you see his kites in the air.


17/5/07 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts put in writing. That's no surprise coming from you! I noticed in Genesis 1:1 recently that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. I wondered what that meant and since the Spirit is the pneuma of God if He even provided a breeze....?
Tim W.

17/5/07 12:31 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

As usual you realy put some time and thought into that post, which is one of the things that keeps me coming back for more. I loved the video and was fascinated to read that Josie gets to see Ray Bethel at the park(it's a small, small, world).

I have always loved kites and use to fly one each year for my Kindergartners. They would try so hard to get the kite to fly like mine but they didn't have the patience needed.

How lucky your daughter is to have her dad do fun "stuff" with her. That day was a great memory maker for her.

My sister is moving to Canton, MI in a couple of weeks, is Canton close by?

17/5/07 2:39 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

These lines went through two drafts. The first draft had the wind concept but was a little light (it lacked the key words). Once I pondered "pneuma" in John 3 and added the key words... the kite got the right amount of tail to soar and mean much more. =)
Thanks for adding to the application. You are so right. The wind part is out of our hands but determining to stay clear of where we don't belong is in our control. I'll look for that post about sailing and rowing.
(Also thanks for the tip about adding "sound" to posts. By the way, I also grew spent my early childhood in a Germanic protestant church. I know what you mean.)

It was a friend from here in Michigan who sent me that video link. It was not until after I wrote the whole thing and Googled his name that I learned he lives in Vancouver. I had no idea that the video was made there. Now to know you and the munchkins have actually seen him perform at your park and talked to him... Wow! Do they ever play music as he flies his kites? If not, I recommend this videographer's choice.
Tell us more!

Thanks for the kind words and additional thoughts. There are so many references to wind and the spirit of God. I plan to study this more. Always good to hear from you.

This was going to be a short post with a video link, but ended up a few layers thick for those who like to go below the surface. =) Kindergarten kite flyers--you were a brave teacher!
Canton is closer to where I grew up on the east side of the state. The friend that sent me the Ray Bethell video lives near there. I now live in what they call Michigan's West Coast. Tell your sister to get on I-96 and head west about 2.5 hours this summer-- she'll see the biggest, longest,most beautiful fresh-water beaches in the world. I'm not exaggerating. Many of our non-Great Lakes guests are shocked that there is an ocean between Michigan and Wisconsin (and likewise all around the state between it and Canada).


There in Canton she'll be just a stone's throw from "The Big House" in Ann Arbor.

17/5/07 6:29 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Gen 1:27 so God created man in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.

John 4:24 God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Gen 2:7 And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.

the word soul used here in Aramaic or Hebrew is nephesh meaning breath life. Everything that breathes has nephesh or soul or breathe of life.

So in these passages we see that man was created (which means to make something from nothing already existent) as a spirit first. Because God is a spirit and to hold that spirit in the physical realm god created man a physical breathing body. Body Soul and Spirit (both male and female in this one formed body) equaled man at this point in time.

Gen 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat
17 but of the tree of the knowledge of of good and evil thous shalt not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatest thereof though shalt surely die.

In these two verses of the Christian text notice the absolutes in the statement...Dude, you eat of that fruit and on THAT VERY SAME DAY YOU WILL DIE.

skip ahead a bit Gen 3:3 and read about the serpent and Eves little discussion and notice that she changed the words that God had said, he never said a damn thing about not touching it or maybe they might die. He said you will absolutely die.

Skip ahead again and notice Gen 3 9/10 God had to call out for Adam and Adam had to use his physical (soul) senses to talk and hear God, where as before they were one through that shared spirit.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I have command you neither shall you diminish aught from it..."

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man that he should lie...

so we see that when god said that on the day you eat that shit you're dead he meant it. But the death was the death of the new, brand new never seen before spirit He called man (Adami)

So when Jesus said a man must be born of water and spirit he was actually speaking of an event that was not possible at that moment in time. because man was still yet separated from God because he had no spirit within him, he was a creature of body and soul.

yet after the debt was paid on that special passover day when sin was paid for, for all time then a few days later that same spirit that the Christ had within him became available for man once again to be connected with god through a spirit. Christians remember this event on the day of Pentecost.

Spirit was again delivered to man but it was a better improved model the same perfect spirit that the Christ walked with was given freely to man with one caveat.

Romans 10:9-10 "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved." the word saved is not a literal translation of the Greek The word is SOZO which technically means to be made whole or complete.

Additional readings that pertain to the necessity of this particular faith in God raising the man Christ Jesus from the dead can be found in the book of Hebrews Chapter 8.

Sorry it is such a long post but this is only the 55 cent telling of the Jewish texts and the Christian texts for more I humbly suggest you let God himself teach you, especially if you have been given that new spirit Jesus gave his life that you might have it. If you feel separated from the Creator all you need do is forgive them who have offended you and ask that they forgive you and you will be sinless (not separated from God.)

always remember that yours, mine and all sins debts have been paid for and but the difference between us and Adam, the first man God will never abandon his children nor bar the way to the tree of life for your sin is paid for. period.

17/5/07 6:45 PM  
Blogger Tracie said...

Tom your words were wonderful and profound as always and I LOVED the video..Ray Bethel is amazing! It's easy to see your comparison of borne being the breath of God and born being the breath of life. John 3 is one of my favorite books in the Bible and I love this conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus. He's like a child that a parent is trying to explain something unfathomable to and I can relate to that. I still ask questions about the Bible constantly wanting to soak in everything I can in hopes of retaining some of it. I, too, like the idea of being born..spiritual birth..and also borne...being caught up and carried by the spirits will and not our own. I completely believe that. Being born again spiritually brings such peace (that passes all understanding) in knowing that you can be carried by the Holy Spirit and depend on His will. I have to admit I'm still stubborn and sometimes I forget and still try to carry myself and do things on my own. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

17/5/07 9:56 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

These are interesting points you've shared. Thanks for taking the time to search the words and the Word (with only a couple words unsuitable for my daughter in the whole sermon =). I did include two OT references in the links behind the words "the breath..of life." [The first being about Adam; the second being about "Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones"].
This is more of a New Testament post, however, in that it's about Jesus' explanation to a scholarly Pharisee about his need to be born again.
He makes it clear that experiencing the "second birth" requires the work of the Spirit. It's the difference between being born (we all are) and being spiritually reborn or borne...as in raised up by the Spirit to dependence on Christ's completed work (and nothing of our own) for forgiveness of sin (as you describe toward the end of your comment).

Flying a kite without the wind, would be as impossible as walking the path between the head and the heart without the Light.

A gifted poet I know recently wrote,
“clouds… block out the light.
That way the light
can not find me
and I can be a part
of the gray dimness…”

Those lines of yours reminded me of a post somewhere in my archives called "Endarkened"

"Sometimes he wakes
at unknown hours of the night
and hears the empty ring
of time and space
and feels the numbness of existence.
And in that one unearthly instant
his body knows no need to breathe,
and groping in its finite way
toward things too infinite to grasp,
his mind thinks on his soul
and almost understands.
Unknowingly he takes in life
and draws in breath
and breaks the silence with a sigh
to see a darkened room."

I've said before that man is in the dark until the Spirit "pulls the chain on the lightbulb of truth," but Jesus’ wind [pneuma] metaphor has been uplifting to think on this week.
(Ivan would tell us both to be more brief =)

posted 17/5/07 10:57 PM

18/5/07 7:42 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for this comment. It helps me (and others) focus on the original conversation in John 3. You're right. So much of what Jesus did and said is unfathomable to the part of us "born of the flesh" and we do sometimes feel "Endarkened" [see above reply]. What Jesus was talking about is not about our works or our will power or even our words, it is about trusting in Him rather than self--a relationship of surrender to the Spirit and to the One who is in control. Hence the kite metaphor. Thanks for affirming the word picture.

17/5/07 11:12 PM

18/5/07 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...the soul is the window to our self: personality comprised of mind, will and emotions; and body is the window to the temporal world around us through the senses. You can see why the Spirit wants to "bear us up" as you say. It is a matter of control that is at stake. The video powerfully portrays this truth which is explained so clearly in Romans 8:1-17. "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."

Your blog combines both of these works of the Spirit in a beautiful picture...the "rebirthing" and "controlling" work of Holy Spirit. Well-done. I worshiped along as I read your blog, listened to Steve Green and watched the video. Thank you!

18/5/07 12:10 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for this additional verse and application. Sometimes when I think I'm done with a thought, I find that the thought is not done with me. This has been true in this case. I was visiting with a parent about it this morning, and it hit me between the eyes as if for the first time. Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night (as if he were afraid someone might know he had questions and that Jesus had the answers). Then Jesus gives a puzzling answer but explains what makes the kite fly. The breeze blows where it wills, some don't see or feel it; some surrender to its new life and are humbled and awestruck to be chosen to soar and help others see.

18/5/07 5:13 PM  
Blogger Baby MJ said...

Mr. K,
I saw the kite video a few days ago, and just read your posts below. I was truly wowed at the video then and your post added jso much more to it tonight. I will be checking your blog from now on. Thanks for the evening inspiration!

18/5/07 9:26 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

You can't imagine how much it means to hear from former students. You are, or course, free to drop the Mr. K, but I must admit it takes me back to very special time in life and I never mind it.
At this very moment I'm sitting at the airport with a group of seniors (who call me by my full last name--I'll have to break them of that habit) waiting for our next connection to Florida.
I thought of you when I took my youngest to see Charlotte's Web--you were a great Charlotte in '95.
Your father sent me the video. I'm still thinking about this topic and will probably speak on it tomorrow. "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Do come again!
Mr. K

19/5/07 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

g-day Tom: [from email today]

Thank you for your poem and kite words-- very much appreciated. I will get in touch later with my web master and ask him to add your very worthy poem to my site...

It pleases me that you enjoyed my "Romancing the Wind" DVD [at] Kitelife internet kite magazine. The web master told me just a few days ago that just in the month of March it was viewed by 223.000 viewers, and I have received so many e-mails from fans around the world which is very heart-warming indeed.
When I get the time I will add a comment on your site, which by the way I enjoyed reading.
Thank you again Tom ....
Warmest regards

Ray [Bethell]

19/5/07 8:07 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

[See above comment]
Is that awesome or what!
I sent an email to Ray Bethell and directed him to this post and your comments. He emailed me back today. In my response I told him we understood spring was his busy time so I'd post this until he has the time to write a comment directly. He also told me that he has performed several times at the Grand Haven Great Lakes Kite Festival. (If he comes again, I'll be there.) He has 27 booked (and sponsored) performances in the months ahead.
What a gift!
Thanks for writing, Ray. Looking forward to your additional thoughts.

19/5/07 8:19 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Tom, Isn't the Internet a truly amazing place? I think it's wonderful that Ray Bethell got in touch with you. And in such a short time. Amazing!


P.S. I put Jericho Park in my post when I meant Vanier Park. I always get them mixed up. If you Google Vanier Park, you will see more pictures of Ray Bethell and his fabulous kites.

19/5/07 9:25 PM  
Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Hello, Patterns of Ink. I found you through Josie. This post was particularly beautiful and enlightening. This biblical passage has interested me for many years. It seems so coincidental to have drifted over here to your place and to have read this passage. I'm going to read it again. You write so wonderfully. I enjoyed this tonight.

19/5/07 11:10 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

Not to make light of your post, but perhaps my blog will be born again. Nice distinction between born and borne.

20/5/07 5:36 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to browse the archives for similar thoughts and discussions. Based on some reading at your blog, we probably write about similar things at times. I'm speaking to a group of students on these "borne" thoughts this morning.

No offense taken. Your departure and "Eddie's" evil take over of your blog for a few weeks illustrate the term perfectly. Thanks for letting me know you're back. =)

I'm in Destin, Florida, on our school's senior trip for a few days, but I may post some follow-up thoughts and some other drafts as time allows.

20/5/07 7:19 AM  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Tom, a truly inspirational, thoughtful post. The wind has always held special significance to me. I'm a wind listener.

20/5/07 5:03 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thank you. Your profile art shows the wind. There's some of that going on right now as I look out on the ocean from a beach house balcony. Ahhhh...

This has been a very interesting discussion about wind and being borne by "the breath of God" (Holy Spirit).

In John 14:25-27, Jesus encourages His followers to be wind ("pneuma") listeners...
25"These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid...."

20/5/07 6:08 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Your comment section has taken on a life of it's own... a blog in a blog! Imagine hearing from Ray Bethel, it is a "small, small, world, after all". This was a very appropriate time to do this post on the Holy Spirt, with assention Thursday, May 17th, and Pentecost just ahead of us.

How special to hear from a former student! I agree, it is a heartwarming experience.

Thanks for the Michigan web site for my sister. I will surely be visitng her in the near future (after the wedding).

Enjoy Florida and the south, y'all come back now, ye here!

20/5/07 8:07 PM  
Blogger HeiressChild said...

hi tom,

what a great inspiring post. you explained everything so perfectly. i'm still backreading your posts regarding why people blog. i read and commented on part I, and i will be doing the rest this week since i'm now caught up on my emails.

20/5/07 9:16 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It was a pleasant surprise to hear from him. Based on March's numbers, I would guess that over half a million people have viewed that link this spring... and yet he wrote... sounds like a nice Ausie!
Because all my family and lots of friends are on the east side of the state, I should say that there is plenty of cool stuff over there, too. Be sure to take in Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. That is a full-day venture, but if it's summer fun, great small beach towns, and wonderful beaches, you've really got to go West!

Glad this post struck a chord. I know you were having serious computer problems and LGS helped you out. It takes a while to get caught up. The funny thing about that "Why Bloggers Blog" series is it was a post of yours that first made me aware that some blogging can become a time management problem. Comments are always welcome in the archives.

20/5/07 11:05 PM  

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