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Andrew's Sixteen year old poem:

No Limits

Andrew, You are sixteen
have been for months
And I suppose it would be nice if I'd
be on time for once
I'm sorry this poem is so late
It seems more and more that it's my sad fate
To take longer than one can imagine to compose a verse
To portray my heart's meaning, hard to discern and, what's worse
Elusive. For every year life becomes a bit more complex

And what a complex year you have had!
It was a very, very "real" year
Full of good and bad
And for that, yes, I am glad!

It was a journey unlooked for
It deviated from the plan
Yet so expected, so needed
For there is a time for every man
To explore every reason and dissect every rhyme
To take a journey into the backside of the wilderness
Into the furnace of Egypt
Sometimes passing
Through despair and lonliness
At other times ministered to
By angels, unlooked for
Friends, lights, entertained unawares
Sent to strive with you, pray for you
To remind you that God is still there

It was a year of searching, and of struggling
Of leaving some places
And entering some others
Of not being satisfied with
Shallow spirituality
And for that I am very glad

And I've enjoyed, truly, the time we've spent
Talking and connecting
At each "another late night over pancakes"
To be able to talk, to really talk
With my son is a privilege I will not downplay
For it gives me a chance to walk, to really walk
Beside you on your way
For I know that there are hills and troughs
Mountains and deep valleys too
Still to be traversed by you
And I want to be there, when allowed
To be, for every dark time, a candle lit
For valleys are expected
But you're not meant for the pit
So I survey the land ahead
And, yes, I see the landscape's undulations
I'll gladly go there with you
Through the times of dark frustration
To the times of joy and celebration
And if your heart gets tired
And you find your feet are mired
I can promise, not just as your dad but as your brother,
That Mom and I will be there, hands outstretched, safety line thrown
To help you struggle out, and rest, and regain another
Surge of hope to fight the bout, For though the battle seems your own
The battle is the Lord's
And You are never, ever alone

For you are a fine instrument
Mysteriously and wonderfully made
Your Maker knows what He is doing
He is very good at His trade
As a master Luthier
He harvests the wood
Carefully forms the body
In such a way that it will produce
the best sound
And finally applies tension to the strings
And though tension hurts
The result is a wonderful thing
And this is the hope I have for you
That perseverance will deliver you through
So that as the strings tighten
They will stretch yet not break
For the master musician has a song to make
A song to form from your life
And as it is played the notes weave
A harmony, for it is the both of you together
for God will not leave
your melody lonely, or in dischord
He is not a distant Lord
Though it can feel that way sometimes
For there is a reason that faith is the evidence
of things unseen
The substance of things hoped for
And we are in the in-between,
Of what was and what will be
And though we look through the glass darkly now
One day we will fully see

This has been a year
Of good and bad, fun and endurance - I was pondering this
At Austin City Limits
And though you were in rock and roll bliss
I was suffering, as only an old guy can
With 107 degree heat and not even a fan
Let alone AC or a chair to recline
But it was worth it to be with this son of mine

That was a day, from its bright, hot, dusty start
To its dark, hot, dusty end
From Eisley to Arcade Fire
Wilco and Coldplay, I'll tell you my friend
It was, in some ways,
and hopefully this is not too much stretching
A microcosm of your year
That had its better moments, but some not so fetching

I spent a day amidst a steamy mass of humans
And every man-jack of them
Every Jerry, Elaine, Kramer or Neuman
was younger than me
But it was a taste of a culture, a world
That calls with so many voices
The goodness of music played so well
Joy, hedonism and all things in between
A taste of heaven, a taste of hell
And it's in this world that we travail
And make our way
And, I know that on this day
It truly is your way to make
As the pressures come, will you bend or break?
Well, that's mostly out of my control
Though for a few more years I have a role

Life can be like Austin City Limits
An endurance race, from start to end
But above the noise and the dust
The heat and the sea of humanity roiling around us
There is beautiful music playing
And, because of grace, there is
A spot for you on the stage
To take part in the song
That's played above the rowdy throng
So be patient in your role
Though struggles come
I believe it is well with your soul
And as you press on toward the goal
You will find that, with God
there are no limits

Did you know that I'm proud of you?
I find things all the time that I never knew
About the way that you think, the unique way you ponder
The things that you enjoy, and what makes you wonder
There's a thinker, a writer, a poet in you
You've got the traits of Lewis, Auster and Poe
And I can only imagine where those will take you
For I surely don't know
But I feel sure that it will be good
You amaze me,
As a developing musician
- and this was a year of getting
Some very nice equipment, no? -
musically you've learned things I never could do
Improvisation, for instance, which comes naturally to you

And I see a lesson in that as well
For you are caught in a song of circumstances and Providence
And God is teaching you to weave your own musical lines
The substance of things you hope for
And of things unseen, the evidence
Into the greater theme
He's teaching you to improvise, if you will
But true improvisation leaves nothing to chance
It's the outward interpretation
Of an inward, musical dance
It only sounds random to the untrained ear
But I see nothing random in the past year
And I do believe that unseen angels
battle over you, swords aflame
But I also know the outcome
And I know Who's staked the claim
For God has planted His standard
On your highest hill
So take what's placed before you
For I don't believe any of this is accidental
God has His plans, and you're included
And I think your part can be monumental

For there's only One who can turn
A cold and broken hallelujah
Into a shout of triumph and joy

Happy Birthday Andrew!

I love you,

Dad

November 20, 2005