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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

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finding Providence

We’d asked for help
to find the way
and a still small voice replied.
It seemed at first to emanate
from the glair that shone
beyond our shielded eyes.
So confident each utterance,
so clarion the call
we followed blindly on
to see the writing on the wall.

Even when the light no longer led the way,
the voice kept speaking from above
whenever it was needed
in almost-human tones,
lacking only the inflection
born of thought or doubt
or the slightest hint of shared mortality.
It told of things to come,
predicted both the straight
and winding ways ahead.
We did each thing it said
until with certitude the voice proclaimed,
“Arriving at destination.”

And coming to a stop
we looked around,
the blinding light now setting in the west,
the voice now silent.
All was well except...
this was not Providence.
The writing on the wall
said this was another place
with no familiar face in sight.

Ours was the blame.
We’d asked for help
but entered in the wrong address.
The voice of Garmin
granted our request
but left us lost
and driving aimlessly around
until a man who knew the town
stopped what he was doing
to offer new direction.
He spoke with confidence
equal to the voice that brought us there--
except it was in human tones
with the welcome inflections
of shared mortality that were missing
from the voice inside the box
fixed high upon the windshield of our car.

"You've gone too far.
Go to the light; go right.
then keep going straight to the end."
He smiled and pointed t’ward Providence
with little else to say
except “You can’t miss it!”
And we were on our way.

It was later that it hit me:
in the truest sense of the word
our helper was right. You can't miss it.
Whether searching for it or not
Providence is always there
even while man wanders after voices
prone to human error.
© Copyright September, 2009

NOTE: Written this week by way of explanation to my daughter for why we were 20 minutes late to her away volleyball game at Providence Christian School near Freemont, Michigan. It happened nearly word for word as told above. Julie loves her Garmin, but like all computers, it is subject to the GIGO principle: garbage in garbage out. We had typed in the address of a different school. After driving around for a while, we stopped at the hardware store and the owner (?) pointed us in the right direction. Providence was a couple miles away at the end of the road he told us to take. (By the way, Nat's team won all of their games.)
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The morning after posting this, the words of an old hymn came to mind. Though it's been a while since I've heard it sung, and my shared-use of the word "prone" was not deliberate, I do see some common threads in my feeble lines and those below.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
[Verse 3 also pertains]

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