31 January 2010

The Constant Bus Driver

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every man’s death diminishes me; some more than others. A man who I have not seen in over a decade lost his life this past week. The only word that ever came to mind was kindness when I thought of him. He was a bus driver for a large city. He was a man of infinite jest. He cared about people and delivered little bits of kindness every day on his route.

His niece often spoke of his patience and how much she loved him. I wish I had known him better. It was my own fault I did not. It causes me to ponder the way in which I nurture my friendships and I realize that I do not do it very well.

How will I be thought of the day after I shuffle off this mortal coil? I know that there are people who openly hate me. There are even more who dislike me. How much of that is because of the times when patience, love, kindness, and selflessness should have ruled me and they did not?

I can be both kind and curmudgeonly. I can make others feel accepted or rejected. I seem to fail most those I love the dearest. I need to be more like that constant bus driver. Moving through life picking up those who need to be carried for a bit and dropping them off closer to their destination. I need to offer them a kind word and listen to the story of their journey, realizing that I am no one’s destination, but just a fellow traveler who knows the road a little better.

It is not my place to tell them where to get on or off. It is not my responsibility to tell them where to go after their departure. Not one lives at the bus stop so I should not be surprised not to see them waiting for me. In fact they are not waiting for me they are waiting for the bus. No one says, “I am waiting for the bus driver.”

I am just a currier who knows how to move the bus along closer to work or more happily home. My job is to keep the bus moving and stopping on its destined route. I am to be there to assure that people get on and off safely and get where they are headed on time. So I will sit by the door, greet each new passenger, and remember Jack as I do. I will endeavor to remain the Constant Bus Driver.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure store."

30 January 2010

Constant Course Corrections

Greetings Dear Reader,

Lately in the news there is much talk about laws governing the use of mobile phones whilst driving. Laws are pending that make it illegal to text or talk on the phone without a hands free device. Just yesterday at breakfast my beloved Son pointed out how he sees fewer headsets like my Bluetooth that I have had for a couple of years now. I think that the laws are a good idea because I know how distracted I get when I am sitting at this desk texting or talking.

The necessity comes from the simple fact that whether driving, flying, or boating, what we do needs constant course corrections. The small back and forth of the steering wheel, yoke, or helm creates adjustments in our movement toward our destination. Without really thinking about it consciously, we move toward our goal as our brain quietly calculates the course corrections that keep us between the lines or headed toward a point.

I am learning more and more that aside from the fellowship and support that church provides, my time sitting and learning and my time studying the Bible gives me constant small corrections. So many other things can become a distraction. Everything I do that takes my focus off of where Christ walks becomes something that can lead me outside the lines or away from the goal of being closer to Christ.

Sometimes people make fun of my headset. It serves me well. In my twenty minute drive to my teaching job I can use the time to call family that is far away without taking my eyes or attention off of the road. I have begun to try and remove things that hinder my focus on Christ as well. I realized a few months ago that a portion of me was always on the defensive; always needing to be “safe.” I am realizing that I become more safe when I do not worry about defending myself or being accepted and just give my very best to following Christ in the moment.

As my pastor so often says, we are all crooked sticks. We all are Cretans: Liars, Savage Beasts, and Gluttons. I must make constant course corrections in my movement toward Christ and never think that I have it so in hand that I can look away from the goal. I must also be thankful for those along the way who show me when I am drifting into the other lane or getting off course; even the ones who blast their horn or flip me off. After all it is about the journey and how we take. The destination is a constant.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure store."

29 January 2010

In Memory of Jana

Greetings Dear Readers,

I lost a dear friend this past week. We never met face to face and had we lived in the same city, we probably would have never met by incident. She was an Afghani refugee and a follower of Zoroastrianism. She made her way to London after her parents were killed by the Taliban. In our first conversation she was so afraid to speak that she apologized after everything she said.

As she healed from the torture and abuse heaped upon her by fallen men she began to speak to me of her father and his teaching her about Jesus even though they were not followers of Christ. She told how he instructed her to embrace his teachings of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness.

Jana did not know my sons but as she read my blog and saw my love for them, she would ask about them and pray for them. She prayed for my eldest son on his wedding day and constantly asked after his bride and her well being. Jana knew of my longing to be around my younger son more and cried for joy when he moved to live with me. She befriended my daughter and helped her through much emotional pain.

When it was clear that Jana was recovered enough to work outside of the refuge in which she lived, she chose to stay and work there so that she could aide other refugees as they arrived. I have been thinking all week how someone who was not a Christ Follower lived his teachings better than I do at times. She forgave her torturers and abusers and told how she hoped they would find faith to help see the error of their ways.

Jana challenged me all the time when I would express things as to whether they were centered on Christ or not. She would agree lovingly with my statements that were and gently nudge me away from opinions that were contrary to Christ’s examples and words. If we all dealt with disagreements as Jana did the world would be a very peaceful place. She has changed my approach to disagreements for life I hope.

After a battle with H1N1 over the past few weeks, Jana slipped away from us. The scars and pain of her mortal abuse no longer plague her but I know she would have endured them without complaint if it meant she could have helped others. I will miss her sweet gentle way of reminding me that my faith makes a difference. The world is less for her absence and eternity is richer for her presence.

Jana, we love you and miss you.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure store."

11 January 2010

A Cornfield full of Snowflakes

Greetings Dear Readers

As I drove to church today with my Son and Daughter we passed several vast seas of still, silent, untouched snow. In summer these same seas pitch and wave with green swells of growing corn. Today they were reminders of the amazing beauty that is a Wisconsin winter.

I hear people complaining about the snow every day. Even when I am an hour into the ninety minute shoveling of my drive, I still love the snow. Consider for a moment what it takes to create the beauty that is a forty acre corn field covered in snow. Snowflakes are tiny crystals. In fact they are very tiny.

I asked as I drove, how many snowflakes there might be in a cornfield full of snowflakes. Everyone was silent. We were silent because of the beauty and magnitude of this simple bit of creation. We pondered how bleak and gray the world would be were it not for the beauty of snow. We shared a moment unity as a family in awe of the amazing nature of God to give us such unique beauty.

We also need to consider that God does not do it just for us. There are vast fields of virgin snow that are never viewed by men. He creates this beauty for his own pleasure and we are simple benefactors of his creativity.

I did some research and it is true that every snowflake is unique. If you do not believe me check out http://www.snowcrystals.com/ where they explain why it is true. This is also the source of the snowflake picture in this article. The point is that in forty acres of five foot deep snow I wondered how many snowflakes there might be.

According to Answers.com there are 62.7264 to the 6th power square inches to an acre of land. So forty acres of land would be 2509.0566 square inches times a volume of five feet of snow. Since each snowflake is about half an inch in length there are roughly 17,677 snowflakes per cubic inch. This means that we need to multiply ((2509.056 * 17,677) * 12) to the 6th power. The result is 532,251,153.593 to the 6th power. So a forty acre field filled with five feet of snow would contain roughly 1.2100861207361642205028562396134e+61 snowflakes. This is roughly 1.25 billion snowflakes per cubic foot of snow. I will ask the genius mathematicians in my life to forgive me if I am wrong somewhere in my calculations. Feel free to correct me.

Some will argue that the probability of them all being unique makes it impossible. I will agree with them when they test a significant sample and find two snowflakes that are alike. My point is that the vast still and silent seas of snow are an amazing witness to the creativity of God. Vast landscapes blanketed in snow are painted, pictured, and praised for their beauty. Individual snowflakes are captured, drawn, and cut from paper. I have rarely seen people decorate with individual rain drops or hail stones. From the singular to the uncountable level God paints winter with a beautiful brush that holds forth the promise that winter will end and the long sleep of grayness death in the world will melt away to daffodils and crocuses.

Visiting a Crystal Gallery
by Aramis Thorn

Silently the clouds crept across the sky,
Negating the brilliance of the haunting harvest moon.
Only the brightest of stars could I still spy,
While the cottony gray darkness still had rips and tatters.

Sending chills over my exposed face,
North winds begin to whip over the field fiercely
Offering me an invitation to retrace
What steps I have taken and return to my cozy home.

Something inside drives me to pursue,
Narrowing my focus to climb the hoary-frosted hill.
Only the higher field will give a proper view
When the dance begins in earnest.

Softly they begin their waltzing flight
Navigating their way through the winter wind,
Outstanding crystals of drifting delightful white
Whispering to me that God is still an artist

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a home owner. He brings new and old things out of his treasure store."

07 January 2010


Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany. Several people asked me what that meant. For the few of you who do not know, Epiphany, or twelfth night falls on January 6th. It celebrates the advent of Christ, the visitation of the Magi, and most of the events up to the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. Today it is mostly the Magi that is the focus.

In our culture an epiphany can also mean a moment when a great realization or revelation breaks upon the consciousness. This is usually the result of our minds incubating ideas that are joined but we do not yet see the connection. I often wonder how many ideas break upon me and drift away in the flotsam and jetsam of my mind without my capturing the essence of them. I have taken to recording, emailing, and writing down ideas wherever I am when they cast themselves upon me.

This results in me have a constant pool of ideas to develop, refine, and write about. Thinking about this brings me back to thinking about the Magi. They had a constant pool of thought on the stars and their courses. They knew history and the texts of other cultures. They put together that the stars were leading them to a conclusion. “We have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him,” they said.

I hope that as I fill my mind with the things that matter and try to move away from the things that do not, that I see the advent of Christ in each day. I hope that I am ready to see him appear in each moment to me if I am looking for him. It is about being ready when Christ is ready. It is about realizing is that each moment can be a realization of revelation. Each moment can be an epiphany of Christ’s advent in our lives. We only need to be wise enough to keep seeking him to find him.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn