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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, April 24, 2008

Two Words That Matter More Than We Let On

Two words are tumbling in my head. I've had them there before, and no doubt so have you. But when I tell you what they are, it's possible you'll think… “Uh-oh, that thin plank of reason he treads on finally snapped.” But there is method in my madness... or at least
there is a point to this post ....

These two words often mean no harm. They go off like an alarm in our head when we realize that whatever was said or caused the fret isn't worth the worry. We use them to console ourselves that what spilled was only milk, that there are other fish in the sea, that the grapes were probably sour, and no matter what we do or where we go, this may be as green as the grass gets. I've said these words that way before, and no doubt so have you.

The eight letters of these two words can be strung together and spoken in love, passed from hand to hand like fallen pearls from a necklace with the promise that most things mend. They can be whispered in a sigh to soothe like a mother’s voice that lulls “There-oh-there” to the sad and sleepy head upon her lap. They can reassure as does a father's hand upon the trembling shoulder as if to say, "Never mind what they say." They can prompt the deep breath that comes when love helps us remember what matters most. I've said these words that way before, and no doubt so have you.

But these same two words can slap our senses, burst our bubble, and leave our sails slack with no hope of a breeze. They sometimes come from nowhere, hurled in the lake of life like a boulder just as the smooth skipping-stone we saved for last leaves our hand. They can sprout up from failure and success alike but seem ever rooted in the same futility. They can cripple us with the doubt and indifference of false isolation until, looking so deeply within ourselves, we're left without a prayer. Worse yet, they can leave us wondering if in the end anything matters at all. I've spoken these words that way before, and no doubt so have you.

These two words echo 'round the world, and if followed for long they lead to a corner, the conclusion that life is all about achieving--that when all is said and done, only what's said about what is done gives life meaning.
Repeated enough, these words can belittle into oblivion any moment, any deed, any person that for lack of note goes unnoticed or left uncounted is esteemed of no account.

In this latter sense, these two words are a paradox in that the more loudly we exclaim them the more likely our voice cracks and our shell gives way to show a longing for the answer. These two-words matter more than we let on. They imply that we were created not to live in isolation but communion. They explain why our greatest sense of “achievement” rests not in ownership, not in leadership... but in RELATIONSHIP.

Our lives offend God least, reflect Christ most, and serve our neighbor best when they answer the empty echo of this plea:

Who cares?
(Today was my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! We miss you.)
[First photo is of Lahu Indian boy taken January 2008, 3 miles from the Burmese border in northern Thailand. Second photo: Do you see carved columns of isolation against a black backdrop... or silhouettes of two pairs of people standing with heads inclined to each other as if in conversation?]


Blogger Josie said...

Omigosh, yes! Two words, and the sentiment behind them, that I have always disliked. They're right up there with whatever.

You have said it very well.

25/4/08 12:41 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks, Josie.
You're right about "Whatever"... it's just so dismissive.

25/4/08 6:23 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

"Our lives offend God least, reflect Christ most, and serve our neighbor best when they answer the empty echo of this plea: Who cares?"

Tom, that is a very profound statement!!!!!

I assume you are missing your Mom very much. Birthdays are a constant reminder of what we miss most, what we did in the past, what we would be doing if the person were still alive and how are we going to deal with this in the future. But as you already know, it does get easier but you never forget. Happy Birthday all the way to heaven.

I hope my words and actions reflect that "I CARE!" because I do and I can! Not just toward you, but toward all of mankind. I take this as a challenge to care MORE and to let others know.

25/4/08 5:09 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for commenting and picking up on that last line about Mom's birthday. It was what triggered these thoughts. Over our Spring Break I began working on revising that Duncan Phyfe manuscript in order to "self publish" it for whoever may want a copy, the revision was coming along fine but once I got back to the grind of work I put it aside. When I saw it this week that "who cares" feeling came over me. Mom and I had such fun talking through each chapter last fall. I'm so glad we did that and that she had the first draft for Christmas. She was my "muse" for many of my posts and I feel like I've lost that. It will come back I'm sure. We always talked on her birthday about that fact that she was still in the hospital after I was born two days before.
Thanks for being a caring friend to many people with your Daily Blessing's blog.

25/4/08 10:15 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Happy Birthday to you too- another year older and another year wiser!

You revised it a little, since I was last here. I had to look hard to see George Washington and John Adams talking to each other. (hehe)

Let me know when you self publish because "I CARE"!

Operation Inasmuch was a huge success. Did you get a chance to go to the Operation Inasmuch website for the background info?

Have a great weekend!

26/4/08 3:22 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Yes, I did go to those sites. I love stories about simple ideas that grow into big inclusive projects.
Yes, I saw that picture and thought it illustrated the isolation vs. communion point of that paragraph. To me the shadows look Asian. I'm not sure why.

26/4/08 7:06 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

This was beautiful...so very profound.
What an incredible gift for writing you have!
God bless,

26/4/08 10:14 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

i guess there are two word demons that hit us all, personally i have dealt with the ambivalence of "who cares" with a strong i do.

even though it seems a if a voice crying in the wilderness, only when i stop responding to the "who cares" of this place, will i have failed. no?

Tom, very well written article. straight talk from the heart, it is always a good thing.



27/4/08 3:38 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for stopping by. Hope all's well out in Oregon.

I must confess that sometimes the really big matters seem beyond the reach of human caring. There's a line in "A Christmas Carol" when Scrooge tells the men gathering funds for the poor that the poor might as well die and decrease the surface population of the earth. But we can do what we can do and care for those God brings in our path and for the paths takes us to... even cyberpaths. =)

27/4/08 1:03 PM  
Blogger eastcoastdweller said...

To no longer care is to be a dead man walking. Trapped in a limbo between being an angel who loves or a devil who hates.

28/4/08 5:33 AM  
Blogger jewell said...

Very thought provoking! I am still trying to see the silhouettes in the columns. Just read your comment about Hannah Montana on JF's blog. My youngest loves her too. I have said to myself and my girls that I hope Hannah doesn't go the way of the other teen stars.

28/4/08 7:39 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I just lovre the way you use words. You can twist them and turn them and then suddenly they go somewhere.

28/4/08 1:55 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Eastcoast dweller,
Welcome to POI. Well put. Caring enough to hurt when it seems that nothing matters or that no one cares... simply means we're still alive.

I sometimes can't see the columns. Once you see the people standing in sort of Asin loose-fitting atire facing each other (2 pairs), you'll see the people talking and wonder how you missed them.

Dr. John,
Sort of like those long skinny baloons that clowns shape into animals, huh.

Glad it made sense in the end. May this be said of all our days.

28/4/08 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not see pairs talking. All I could see was the chess pieces, and then I saw them. Now all I see is the shadows. That is wierd. Nice post.I am going to read it again.

28/4/08 7:15 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

As Nancy pointed out a few days ago, I actually added that picture the day after I posted this. I hope it didn't distract from the idea, but I thought it illustrated the isolation vs. communion concept. I saw the people at first glance, but I've had other optical illusions that took me a while to see.

28/4/08 10:07 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Tom, NOW is the time to shake the apathy first from ourself and then all who surround us. Now is the time to care in the face of great and overwhelming odds in every arena of life...'cept the spiritual. There is where there is the power to fight ambivalence and animosity.

*Shrug* Them with voice must now speak or die. It is a choice silence or noise. I for one will choose the noise in...



29/4/08 3:34 AM  
Blogger Julie said...


Just wanted to thank you for sharing one part of yet another beautiful poem that you have written on my blog. I would love to read it in it's entirety. What a great idea to display it with the roses and rosebud!

Anyway, I also really enjoyed this post as someone 'who cares'. Happy belated birthday to you and to your sweet mom in Heaven.

Julie in Colorado

29/4/08 5:26 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Well put, Walking Man!

Julie in CO,
I've never put the whole poem here at POI because...I'm not sure why... but I thought of it when I saw those pictures of yours.

29/4/08 8:36 PM  

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