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Bethany's seventeen year old poem:

Bethany is Seventeen

"Drama is like life with the dull bits cut out." - Alfred Hitchcock

Bethany, sweet Bethany
Happy birthday to you
Here we are, at the beginning
of the Year of Bethany, Part Two

Ah, the "Year of Bethany"
I'll never figure out how
you can be so patient, even now,
With having to continue to share the spotlight
When the attention you garner should be top-flight
And yet you still defer to others
Whether to the brilliant,
charmingly misanthropic
muser on literature and the dark state of man
at Baylor
Or your elder sister, leader of life groups,
Speedy think-talker
Biblical studies scholar,
worship-leading, ministry mongering
sibling at UMHB
Or your increasingly dramatic,
sports encyclopedic
soccer playing whiz-kid
overscheduled and duly stressed
little brother at Arnold

Still, you are patient, level headed
A rock of drama-less stability
In a family that usually has something
of the comedy or tragedy
going at all times
But you are steady going, while our fortunes and emotions
Continue to turn on dimes

We couldn't have scripted or directed
a better performance, stage or screen
Than the life you've been performing
And here you are, seventeen
May this year be the best you've ever seen
May it be a Wonderland
though still we peer through a looking glass, darkly
May this year be everything you've desired
Contrariwise, I know that every day can't be epic
We have to consider the facts, starkly
You're made for bigger things (and may they happen, not later, but sooner)
A starlet, looking for the sophistication of Broadway
Stuck here, in Greater Tuna
Dealing with all the Tweedle Dees and Tweedle Dums
Texting their texts
Booking their faces
flappin' their gums

Still, change is in the air
In Theater, there's a change of direction
or at least Director
And that's a new challenge to deal with
From past years, a disconnection
A slightly different atmosphere
A different feel
With just a year to go
New personalities with which to deal
To ponder on all of this
one might need to take a long drive
Pop in a mix, pop on the shades, pop the top down
Which, of course, you can do now
And that's a change I need to get used to
The thought of you tooling around town
And, even knowing the careful, safe driver that you are
I might need to take a long drive to ponder all of this
Which I would do, but unfortunately
I don't have a car

And there are new directions in youth ministry
At church, the old 249 is no more
There are now new emphases, new energies
It's a whole new game
Not a time to be lazy
You'll need to be as sure on your skates
As Rizzo or Buzzy
With new opportunities to lead, of all types
And I think you'll do great,
Slapshotting the (metaphorical) puck between the pipes
You are in the mix, there's a chance to lead
and leave behind for the younger ones
a strong spiritual legacy
along with, I hope, lots of opportunity for fun

"I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried.
But drama is when the audience cries." - Frank Capra

You have continued to devote yourself to the Theater
Our Actress, the stage now a very comfortable place
Blending motivations, lines, marks, and cues
With expertise, emotion, poise and grace
I think upon your great triumph
We were transported into the tragedy
of a disaster in the skies
Pan Am flight 103
As the night filled with the cries
Of the Women of Lockerbie
You were amazing
You're role beautifully acted
The audience in tears
responding to your grief
Every heart impacted

The entire audience raved
At what the Cy Fair theater troupe staged
Except perhaps for one solitary UIL judge
I admit, in my darker moments, the temptation to give her a friendly nudge
. . . right down a staircase.
Wait! I didn't mean that
(or into oncoming traffic, better)
No, not really!
Maybe I am just tempted to write her a very stern letter
You all deserved to go on and on
Still, it was so wonderful to see you medaled by the UIL
And later to be recognized by Koern
As the best actress for the year at Cy Fair
Well deserved, well earned

"The center of the stage is where I am." - Martha Graham

And though, in your day-to-day life, you never seek to be center stage
(Outside of the real, literal stage, of course)
I pray that you will have your time to shine
We'll be there, front row, center
Eating popcorn, laughing till we cry till we laugh again
Cheering on your every line

I have to believe that God is preparing you
For even bigger roles
Though I don't know what they might be
When you were younger I could see
A natural leader, future high-powered CEO
In the little girl who always seemed to know
How things needed to be done
Even though
the bumbling people (usually me) around her
Didn't always go along with the show
In you I've long seen
The nurturer, the teacher,
mama-Bethany, taking care of Blake
And it may be that God is preparing you
For the noble career of wife and mother
a perfect fit for your nurturing soul
perhaps doctor, nurse, and so many other
ways to provide for others, to make others whole
And we've enjoyed the Thespian
Learning your parts, making your characters come alive
And I believe on the stage you could thrive
In many ways, this year is like a Final Dress Rehearsal
We're getting ready for the Play to start
With you as the cheerful servant-stagehand
stealing the show, whatever your part

"Drama is theater, life, an escape from life, happiness, and sadness all rolled into one." - Rebekah Adams

Yes, you are nearly all grown up
And I love who you've been, who you are,
and who you will be
Beholding is becoming
And I can see
You beholding your Savior more and more
Becoming more like Him
A Godly girl
Carrying her light in a benighted world
And I know that no matter what happens
The Lord will hold on to you
And if you keep Him at the center
The purpose behind everything you do
You will succeed in the role that matters most
Daughter of the King, performing to the rave reviews
of the One True, Good Judge who sees all
And sees you, smiling in the bright spotlight of your curtain-call

And I know there is coming a day, very soon, when you will get in your car
Drive down the street,
And into your next adventure
Leaving for new venues
Leaving us sad without our Bethany
But so proud of all that you are
God has been preparing you, all your life
For these days of change, growth
And transition
To new positions
To new horizons
But deep down you remain wonderful you
And all these changes are for the better
For you are free in Christ
Unbound, unfettered,
to be who He's made you
Wonderful Bethany
I'm so blessed to be
Daddy to such
an incredible young woman
Who I love so much

So, here we go . . .
The lights have dimmed
The curtain's drawn
The theater is filled
The breathless, anticipating audience stilled
As we turn childhood's final page
. . . and you take the stage

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

October 29, 2010