19 September 2019

Pitching Against Time ~ Singularly Divergent


Greetings Dear Reader,

Last evening one of my good friends asked me why the baseball metaphor was running this series.  It was a good question and I will share the answer with you.  I promise not to get too mathematical. 

I think that baseball is the perfect metaphor for following Christ.  Every moment we make a choice.  We choose in the moment whether we look for Christ and his expression of love for us or not.  We choose by our thoughts, words, and actions if we are going to reflect that love.

Here is an excerpt from my book, Sheetrock on the Road, that expresses the flow of binary choices that make up baseball:

The pitcher carefully rotates to get the grip essential to the chosen pitch.  Carefully adjusting his footing, he looks in one more time to get his bearings.  The stretch and delivery can be painfully ponderous or lightning fast.  Whether swift or sultry the sphere is launched and the batter must choose.  Like all of life, he has little time to decide but he must decide to swing or not. From that single binary choice flow a multitude of linear binary choices.  If he does not swing is it a ball or a strike?  If he swings is it a hit or a miss?  If it is a hit is it fair or foul?  Is it on the ground or in the air?  Is it a fly ball or line drive?  Is it fieldable or out of reach?  Is it a home run?

The time from pitch to home run is a matter of seconds, and every pitch has that potential.  Each ball thrown could end up sailing over the fence into the glove or head of a waiting fan.  It does not matter which team hits the home run everyone loves to see it.  In every game, every pitch from every pitcher has the same potential.  Whether a curveball, breaking ball, or fastball the binary choices unfold with the same potential conclusion.  Every batter has the chance to reach that potential, even pitchers. 

The point is that baseball is about potential.  From atop the mound, the pitcher unfolds a potential that reaches the entire world.  Every spring the potential released by the first pitch from every pitcher’s mound emanates the possibility that dreams can be realized.  Every player on the field started out as a boy in the bleachers.  Each successive pitch is renewed hope for the next hit, the next catch, the next home run. 

Baseball has changed drastically since I was a boy.  Too often it is about the money.  Grown men are willing to disappoint millions of fans over money.  They all need to remember that they are living a dream that few realize.  They are getting paid well to play a game.  With that privilege comes a great responsibility.  The players of today are setting the standards of fair play for millions of young players who look to them as an example.  Every player holds in his glove the hopes of a coming generation.

This is why baseball is sacred.  From it, I learned about potential and honest play.   My Grandfather knew there were life lessons in the box seats at Atlanta Stadium and he diligently passed them along to me with a fair supply of hotdogs and Coca-Cola®.  You never boo the opposition as they are honored combatants in a game to be counted friends again after the final inning.  No matter how sure you are that the call is wrong, you never for any reason mistreat the umpires.  The umpire’s judgment is sacred and final.  Even if the call is wrong you never show disrespect.  You always cheer a great play even if it is accomplished by the other team.  You do not leave your empty cup, hot boat, or popcorn box in the stands.  You are nice to the vendors because they work hard so you can enjoy the game. 

The most important lesson though is on the sacred spot call the pitcher’s mound.  Poised there is that most crafty temporary enemy: the pitcher.  He is winding up and the next pitch is imminent.  In a moment he will hurl the sphere at the imaginary box called the strike zone.  The linear binary will unfold even if no one but the pitcher acts.  It will pass too quickly for the distracted to see.  This is the acutely simple definition of life. Like every pitch, every moment has new potential but only if we choose to stay in the box, look at what is coming, take a measured risk, and most importantly - swing. 

I must see the binary linear moments as constantly renewed opportunities to do what is right and good.  As we pitch against time Dear Reader, we must understand that as each moment passes, we have one less opportunity to make the right choice.  We have diminishing chances to choose in the moment.  This is the reason it is so vital to choose well in every moment. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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18 September 2019

Pitching Against Time ~ Go the Distance


Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the ways in which pitching has changed is that the starting pitcher rarely finishes a game.  Everything centers around pitch count and fatigue.  In some ways, it is wise to take the long view of a season and a career for a pitching arm.  Still, there is something special about a pitcher going the distance; pitching all nine innings.

I recall seeing my favorite pitchers get into trouble.  The pitching coach tells the relief pitchers to warm up.  You hope that the pitcher gets out of the jam.  You yearn for him to strike out the side and leave the base runners dangling.  Sometimes he does.  Sometimes he is taken out of the game.  Still, you long to see your favorite pitcher go the distance.

Too often, we do not root for each other to go the distance.  We often only see the jam someone is in and forget that they are our team.  Whether it is faith, community, or humanity, everyone is our team.  We lose nothing when we pull for others to succeed.  When others are weary or in trouble, we need to be the ones rooting for them to get out of it.  We need to be the ones longing for everyone to recover, heal, and even prosper.

We do not have to wish for foolish or wrong efforts to succeed, but we must be very careful of how we judge this.  When in doubt, we should want people to go the distance for good.  We should be showing the love and kindness that encourages and supports others.  We can show this in simple kindness and support. 

If I am to follow Christ well, I need to understand that uplifting others never diminishes me.  It empowers me to follow more closely.  It demonstrates that love matters to me.  It is evidence that we are walking the path with others and encouraging them to go the distance Dear Reader.  In pitching against time, we must go the distance in being loving and kind to others no matter how tired our arm is.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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17 September 2019

Pitching Against Time ~ Ease His Pain


Greetings Dear Reader,

In another baseball movie, Field of Dreams, we see the story unfold of an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond by plowing under his cornfield.  The mystical adventure is about faith and second chances.  It is also about fathers and forgiveness.

The first time I watched this movie an Oscar Wilde quote came to the surface of my mind.  “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older, they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”  As the movie and I have aged, I have seen just why I resonate so deeply with it.  I thought that I had dealt with my father issues but have over the last year discovered, and interacted with an entirely new layer.

So many of us carry things that our parents put on us.  We struggle to lay them down but it is difficult.  We are burdened by them and they work for good or ill depending upon how we carry them.  The root to peace with these things is forgiveness.  The flower of peace, however, is much harder to find.  It requires more than forgiveness.  It requires that we reach the place where we honor our parents.  It requires that we see past the circumstance and behavior to the needs of the person.

I am talking about deep forgiveness.  I am talking about finding ways to ease the pain of those who hurt us.  Again, the idea of baseball is paramount here.  Every moment in the game is made up of new opportunity to do the right thing.  Every pitch is the beginning of the binary choice to act or not act.  Every encounter with those who need the full flower of our forgiveness is the same. 

Following Christ is about easing the pain of others.  I truly believe that most of what we do wrong is in response to pain and fear.  When love is employed it can cast out that pain and fear.  It is in showing love to those who we feel do not deserve it that we can find the deepest peace.  We might also ease their pain.  We may succeed in easing our own. 

The idea, Dear Reader, is to love so deeply that fear and pain lose their power.  As I try to employ this, it hurts and forces me to confront the things I would not.  It is, however, the path that seems to yield the peace I need.  Thank you for your company on this journey.

Prayer of Saint Francis – Sarah McLachlan

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:

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16 September 2019

Pitching Against Time ~ Gopher Ball


Greetings Dear Reader,

For those who do not know this antiquated term, it is a pitch that his hit for a home run.  It is usually one wherein the pitch did not do as it was supposed to do.  It is a curveball that hangs or a fastball that is too low and outside.  I think that every pitcher remembers the first time he serves up a Gopher Ball.  Mine was a Slider that did not.

I struck out the next two batters but the overreaching guilt at having given up a homerun plagued me.  As I sat there whilst my team batted, it was lost on me that we rallied and scored three runs.  The coach saw my face and knew what I was doing.  He came over to me and said, “Nothing you can do in the entirety of the world can take back that pitch.  Every pitcher experiences this.  What you have to decide right now is if the pitches of the past or going to own or inform or infect your future pitching. 

I wish I could say that I shook it off and did great.  I did not.  I was rattled and overthought every pitch for the next inning.  I walked three and gave up to hits.  I recovered by the next time I was due to pitch but the lesson would not be as real had I not failed there.  Too often, we allow the past to infect our future instead of informing it.  We let that which we cannot ever change have sway over that which we are creating in the moment. 

When we stand there to pitch against time, we must realize that every moment is a chance to get it right.  It must be informed by our past successes and failures.  It must never be infected by them.  I cannot change anything I have done that is wrong.  I can only resolve to not do it again, love more deeply, and follow Christ more closely. 

As I sit with my fingers hovering above the keyboard, searching for the next words, I realize that I caress the nodes on the F and J keys much like I used to the seems on a baseball.  The comfort of the moment is that no one else decides what I will choose.  The call is mine to make.  I will either send out something quality or leave it hanging.  Every day I start with these moments of choosing to let the past inform but not infect my words, my day.  You can too Dear Reader.  If we work together to pitch against time in this way, the journey will be that much richer.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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15 September 2019

Pitching Against Time ~ Opening Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

Before I lose you, this is not all about baseball.  Hang on whilst I get through a little bit of celebration and I will get to the point.  My beloved Atlanta Braves have clinched a playoff berth this year no matter what else happens.  In celebration, I have been watching baseball movies I love. 

The movie, For Love of the Game, is one of my favorites.  It includes a remarkable moment voiced by Vin Scully that I call Pitching Against Time.   You can see it in the link, but here is the text:

" …you get the feeling that Billy Chapel isn't pitching against left-handers, he isn't pitching against pinch hitters, he isn't pitching against the Yankees. He's pitching against time. He's pitching against the future, against age, and even when you think about his career, against ending. And tonight, I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time to push the sun back up in the sky and give us one more day of summer."

Last weekend I enjoyed watching the Braves win against the Nationals.  I have tracked their excellent season and remembered that we are all in the same place.  We are all pitching against time.  I am going to use baseball as the backdrop for some thoughts on that over the next few days.  As September turns its eyes to October, we see the chill in the northern air and the leaves begin to splendor as they catch fire. 

Amidst this will be the few teams that struggle to get to the World Series.  They will fight for their place on that real field of dreams that has no clock but still a finite set of opportunities.  We too have a finite set of opportunities.  We too have a limited journey.  Please walk with me as I try to pitch against time for a bit and perhaps find that the warmth of the Son can endure the coldest winter.  Your thoughts and questions are always welcome Dear Reader.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:

Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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14 September 2019

The Unwanted Ones ~ Closing Thoughts


Greetings Dear Reader,

We all engage in casting others aside unless we intentionally work to avoid it.  We use standards and social constructs to categorize and label others.  We set up our peer groups and make ourselves comfortable with the avoidance we create. 

There is no such thing as someone unworthy of love in the eyes of the Father.  Every soul has value equal to the life of his Son, Jesus.  Not only does the Father treat us this way, but he insists that we treat each other with the same love and deference.  He demands that we identify with him in loving every life and seeing its worth.

We all need to know that we are loved whether we acknowledge it or not.  The life we live will make us appealing or not so to those we encounter.  We will look for those who love us and sometimes find them.  After all this thinking and searching I begin to understand that it is not seeking to be loved that gets us there.  It is seeking first to love others clearly, honestly, and without reservation.  It is recklessly choosing to love every human no matter how he or she accepts it.

The only way to accomplish this is to find it in Christ and follow him closely.  I must seek his love in every moment and work to reflect it in that same instant.  There are no outcasts when it comes to the love of the Father.  When I create an outcast, I am, therefore, stepping outside of that same love.  This is why I say without reservation, I love you, Dear Reader.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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13 September 2019

The Unwanted Ones ~ Iceberg Intellect


Greetings Dear Reader,

For fifteen years someone has been asking me to be real about my struggles at the deepest levels.  Over that time there have been constant reassurances that no matter what it was, there would be love and understanding.  As I confront this deep darkness, at last, I chose to trust that this person was telling the truth.  He was not. 

We think that we know what is going on with others.  What we see on the outside, or even what they show is beneath the surface, is rarely the whole story.  We find that we just do not know what really is going on below.  We still, however, engage in the iceberg intellect of judging others based on the little we see.

Our judgment of others becomes rejection based on surface standards or worse, limited understanding of what is just below the surface.  We are, however, appalled when others do this to us.  We know that they do not really understand.  Even when we ask for understanding without seeking to justify our failures, we are given little by most.

My obligation is to clench the opportunity to love others no matter how things unfold in our lives.  No matter what you do, think, believe, or embrace, my limited understanding is not grounds for rejecting you.  My meager perspective is not God’s and he demands that I love you at any cost.  Until we embrace that we do not know as much as we think we do, we will fall into the trap of thinking our judgment is accurate.

We may find things to justify marginalizing someone or make him or her an outcast.  Instead what we are doing is sending the message loud and clear that this is how we would have others treat us.  None of us wishes this, so how can we dare visit it on others Dear Reader?  I must be good to you no matter what you do to me.  I must work beyond my failures and faults to do better today.   I must also work within that to realize that you at times will not choose this.  In that too, I must look for deeper ways to love you.  That is the pathway home.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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12 September 2019

The Twelve Tales of Christmas Preview - Part 3


In part three of the preview of The Twelve Tales of Christmas I give you the titles of the next three short stories.  The promotion below lasts until midnight October 15, 2019.  Please share this if you can.

Dinner With Father - A son prepares a final meal to share with his father before going off to war.
The Kindness of Others – An angry man with vengeance in his heart encounters unlooked-for kindness.
Christmas in Summer – A little girl on the verge of growing up wishes for the impossible.

My first Christmas book premiers this fall in time for the Christmas season.  I am offering a special promotion for those who PREORDER the book directly from me.  Keep in mind that the orders will be processed in late November or early December.  The promotion will include the following:

A personalized copy of the book The Twelve Tales of Christmas.
A Christmas ornament designed to go with the book (the first in a series that will be issued with each of my Christmas books {Magi, The Christmas Wish, The Man Who Hated Christmas}).
A high-quality pen.
Another surprise Christmas Gift.
Inclusion in my advanced promotions for upcoming books in 2020 (there will be at least 2).

Here is what you need to do to claim your promotional copy of The Twelve Tales of Christmas and all the swag.  Copy this table into an email and send it completed to the following: aramisthorn@aramisthorn.com .


You will receive an invoice acknowledging your order.  Payment forms may be check, money order, or pay-pal.  Once your invoice is paid your book(s) will be personalized and sent out during late November/Early December.  You may submit requests for multiple books in a single email.  All books will be mailed via USPS and in packaging that does not reveal the contents. 

These ornaments will only be available with this first pre-sale of the books.  The total for each package is $19.99 plus shipping (determined based on your zip code.).  Anyone who orders 5 or more books sent to the same address will get free shipping.

This offer is only good through 10/15/2019 to allow for ordering the right quantity of items to meet your requests.  The first 10 paid orders will receive an additional item from my collection of book promotional supplies. I look forward to hearing from you Dear Reader.  These stories are years in the crafting and I long to share them with you.
 
Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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The Unwanted Ones ~ Lifestyle Choices


Greetings Dear Reader,

Recalling the hard-deck we are required to walk is necessary to our discussion this morning.  Ponder with me this thought:  Whatever lifestyle choices an individual makes, we are required to love him or her actively.  We are required to show him or her real love in Christ.

Now, what exceptions surface in your mind?  What if he or she is a Tennessee fan?  The person might like Dub Step.   He or she may put pineapple on pizza.  I am being lighthearted on purpose but you get the idea.   We dismiss living souls from receiving our love based on the choices they make for their human lives.  More seriously, we divide over political and social life choices.  We withhold the love of Christ from people who do not line up with our view of how the world should be.

The cries in social media become demands that if you disagree with me, we cannot be friends.  Dividing over politics and social issues becomes our goal and habit.  We eliminate those who disagree with us instead of working to show love and compassion to every soul.  There is no social or political issue that allows us to deny love and kindness to others. 

Consider this thought, name a single social or political issue that would have Jesus saying, “I hate that human.”   Do not think that there are some of our own actions and attitudes that are contrary to who Christ is and asks us to become.  That is never the point.  The idea is that he loves us beyond those cracks and fissures to the souls that he sees.  Our obligation is to do the same. 

We ought to be able to see every soul as precious and priceless.  The memes of “If you do this…we cannot be friends” sadly mask an attitude that we adopt in some situations.  I am not allowed to make anyone an outcast because of his or her political or social choices.  If I have any hope of following Christ, I must set aside my personal preferences, no matter how right I think I am.  I must instead embrace the idea that if I wish for others to be loving in those choices, I must first love them.  That common ground Dear Reader is where we can meet and walk together to work out our differences.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
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11 September 2019

The Unwanted Ones ~ Social Dexterity

Greetings Dear Reader,

We all know that person; the one is guaranteed to be embarrassing or uncomfortable in social situations.  It may be their personality, habits, or appearance.  It is just that he or she is socially awkward.  We somehow do not include them in things that would make others feel uncomfortable.

I supposed the first thing to consider is if we would be comfortable with Jesus at our social gatherings.  I think if we are honest, we would not.  If someone brings him along and we do not know who he is, I think his manner and approach would make us uncomfortable.  I also believe that he would gravitate to the outcasts.  He would question our standards if we fail to love anyone and he would be right.

Although it is the right standard, there is a much simpler standard for this than invoking the Son of God.  It is this: is finding someone socially awkward a good reason to exclude him or her?  It does not show love, kindness, or compassion.  It does not recognize that each human is created by God and has intrinsic value.  When we show love to those cast out by others, then we are being with Christ in the moment.

I have too many foibles to think that I am not socially awkward at times.  I am uncomfortable for others in social settings at times.  In some ways, I have embraced that awkwardness so that I am being true to who I am.  It has also allowed me to draw others who are outcasts to me.  I want to show everyone love, kindness, and acceptance.  I fail at times, but it is an exercise worth repeating Dear Reader.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels on Amazon           
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