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Andrew's Graduation Poem:

Andrew's Graduation Poem

My thoughts run deep
My heart is full, a treasure's keep
The years that have come pass me by
in ranks, before my mind's eye
Soldiers on the march
Resolute, set toward the future
And though I would not stay them
Heaven knows I couldn't, though I try

I remember, vividly, the day you were born
Your mother laboring to the night from the morn
And at the end, both exhausted, you lay wrapped in the arms
of my beauty, strength and courage now gilding her charms
I stood holding you, glorying, breathless, wondering
Our eyes met, and your eyes were thoughtfully pondering
I don't believe I'd ever been so proud
As in triumphal pronouncement I said your name aloud
We were so young, astonished we could feel such love
Just a taste of what's showered down on us from above
For a baby, then a little boy, growing swift and sure
With a quick mind, strong body, and a heart so pure

We love you so, with our fallible, human love
that wakes us at night, longing for you to have
happiness, wholeness, joyful length of days
Love sets us to rejoice at your victories
And to sorrow at your hurts
and to pray for you always

My son, my young man
So grown up in body and mind
So deserving of adulation
and such congratulation
We have finally come to this
This rite of passage, your graduation

I'm amazed at your insight, in measure it runs deep
Your thoughts, many-fathomed waters, through wide channels they sweep
Introspective, with a mind given to much examination
Equipped thus, you have been blessed with a strong foundation
For the next stage of learning, university-bound
I believe there you'll find yourself, and discern the sound
Of your life's higher callings, for the stage is set
And the best of times before you, verily, and yet
I know you may be shadowed by doubt and fear
Though the vision is cloudy, I behold it clear
You are equipped, body and mind,
To grip tight, set your face, and climb
Quickened by the philosophers,
Heartened by literature's warm fire
Set to flight by music
Beckoned on by faith's golden spire
These visions, gifts and passions together twined
Are not by accident, but are by careful design
Working in your life, already and not yet
Orchestrated, God's wise plan to abet
On the canvas the masterpiece begins to emerge
High-lit with gold, not dross
A laughing symphony, not a dirge

As you know well, life can be a trial
Though there is so much beauty, there is much that is vile
In this world, rife with enmities and hates
and sometimes even our own physical estates
Make war on us, to steal life and peace and joy
But we aren't alone. And there is One who knows well
Who crossed himself this veil of tears, Immanuel
To strive against all that is prideful, ruthless, vaunted
To come in love to us, a Savior who, to our shame, wasn't wanted
There is a weight, even a terror to the incarnation
For it is God's full glory, stooping down, often to our consternation
Yet He says "fear not children", as we, our battle flags furled
Behold Him who has, Himself, overcome the world.

Never forget the God of your youth
I believe, firmly, still to this day
That he battles for you
That his claim of love is on you
That he will never leave you nor forsake you
And that, though often battered and bruised
Your love for him will renew, for His each morning is new
and thus you will mount up with the wings
of an eagle on the winds of the King of kings

Yes, God is still there.

Bringing new life, hope, and a new kind of birth
Though difficult, as sprouts thrusting through the unyielding earth
Must struggle toward the light, tempting though it might be to desist
And sink down into the cool dark, but by that to miss
The glory of sunrise, the cool rains and sweet breeze
The golden light of God shimmering through the leaves

And thus sprung, now open to the loving gaze of Eyes most pure
That see you, better than you yourself, as you are, and as you were
But behold most vividly what you will one day be
And rejoice at the finished work, and the gifts given free
The craftsmanship of the skilled hands of the Lord
The victory shout of His glorified Word
With a signet's seal, a sign from the King's own hand
"This one was born in Zion, citizen of promise-land
This one is mine" sings the King's decree
Over your life, as one by grace loved and cherished tenderly

Yes, He loves you, and you are His

We are thrust, all of us, into a world askew
That doesn't value the pure, the right, the true
Never listen to the voices
That tell you life is dark
Or God doesn't care
Or future's landscape is stark
Or no one really knows
Or that nothing really matters
(The voice of the enemy its own self flatters
With such vain boasting
And such grave error)
For this world is not a cold, dark place
And though not all of life is weighty
It all matters, the smallest things often the most
For every soul you meet face to face
all of humanity's host
Can change your course, as you can change theirs
Other's lives will wind in and out of yours
And they will each be touched
By the kind of man that you are
And they will each walk away
Having been changed,
For their short orbit round your star

A life lived right is a life that matters
Not measured in treasure
Or fame
Or pleasure
Though these things sparkle and entice
There is an impact
In every small contact along the way
You leave your mark
On others, all of whom
With you share the divine spark
of the Imago Dei

Know that there is good in this world
And lovely
And pure
and true
And, God willing, out there somewhere, a lovely one waits for you
Who will love you unconditionally
And connect with you perfectly
And complete you
And together with you build a home
For, if you are like most men
It is not good for man to be alone
So cling to the truth, by it abide
And pray for discernment, for truth and error collide
frequently in our times, and without a true north
our steps falter and flounder as each day we set forth
But wisdom shouts from the rooftops, and calls from the door
For men to come and gather freely from her abundant store

There is so much still to see
And to do, and to become
There is so much before you
And so much of it is bright
It is a time of instruction. Never forget that there is much to learn
Not all is as it seems at first sight
Much to learn about people, about God, your own mettle.
How to live in a world of mixed wonderful and horrible
Because here heaven and hell meet and make battle
In the press often no quarter is given, error merits few pardons
Yet provision is made
Bread of Life, before us laid
For comfort and sustenance when our path hardens

Don't fret over the little things
Possessions least of all
Find something that you love to do
You will hear it call
And do that joyfully
Live life, breathe deep, laugh, cry
Read, think, explore
Never fancy that you can't learn more
Or that there's a person alive, even the simplest
Who can't teach you.
Learn from the humble, the meek, the small, the poor
And always make a place for Forgiveness' sweet healing
And Humility's beauty, graced in a heart's humble kneeling
Though counter the culture, these are Kingdom ways
That set the world in God's glory ablaze

Life is meant to be lived, your cup is meant to fill
And you will find that the true thrill
Is often in these little things
Times of chance-meeting with others
When you come upon a wounded brother
Who is feeling what you once felt
Or a darkness wherein you once dwelt
And you bring them back to wholeness because, in a near, close way
Others can be healed by our scars
Suffered on the roads we've trod
As we are healed by the stripes of God

I believe in you, Andrew, and I can't adequately describe
The honor it is to be your dad, and the deep, grateful pride
I feel for you, for you have become a man,
yes, still young,
with still many miles ahead to press
But a man you are, nonetheless
In a stage of life that comes but once
It is quite a path we have traveled
You, together with us,
And, more and more, you alone
And now you are to set out
To lands faintly charted
In many ways, beyond our sight, our reach
A journey not for the faint-hearted
But this is what men do
We all face a season
Of striking our tent and setting forth on our own
lone footprints in the sand
To face life's next adventure
For the first time
As a man

Well done, Andrew
I love you and I'm proud of you,

May 10, 2008