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Bethany's graduation poem:

Bethany Graduates!

Time flies
so people say
It flits rapidly through life's rooms and hallways
Though, logically, I know
In fact it moves
at the same even pace, just like always
Still it certainly seems
swiftly to run its course
In memory's bright beams
When those memories are of happy times
This day is one that has been in my dreams
Since the day God first graced us with you
because this isn't just another year
Bethany, my dear
You have accomplished so much
And I'm amazed at what you've been able to do
So my heart and mind fills
With wonderful and sweet thoughts of you

My lovely one
You have true beauty
Captivating green eyes
that are beyond compare
A sweet and fetching smile
And lovely, long brown hair
Even more so, you have a beautiful heart
And the gentle spirit of a servant
A beautiful devotion
Quiet, yet fervent

How can I express
My deep respect for you?
My admiration
For the young lady you have become?
You are never satisfied, like some,
with a low bar of negligence
No, you have always pursued excellence
You have set your eyes on your high goals
and have gone so far

Ah, Theater
You've come such a long way from that day
when your part was a tree
(And, naturally
You were the very best of foliage
worthy of a poem by Coleridge)
You've been a seahorse
an Irish nun, a stage hand
And a witch, of course,
at least once or twice
A Russian pianist
A counting-house girl
taken for a heavenly whirl
By the way, that performance was tops
(and the smooch was award-winning -
but remember, lips are just props)
A cop undercover
A grieving mother
desperate in her pain
And, lest we forget,
Insane . . .
insane . . .
insane . . .

How we loved your plays
You were brilliant
The Actress
Perhaps I'm biased
But my theory is that's why Cy Fair
is shutting down the auditorium
I figure they'll just have to put a moratorium
on theater for awhile
And though you protest that that's just not the case
Mark my words, they're going to reduce the black box
to a pile of black rocks
and stop all the clocks
At least this is what they should
because how will they ever top or even match
the past four years of Bethany?
I don't think they could
OK, as I said, maybe I'm slightly biased
But, wow,
you were good!

And your class was special
Such talent!
But with talent came strife
And your task was especially hard
This year with challenges was rife
Dealing with new discord
Breaking in a new director
how easy it was for many
to gripe and to hector
This was a year, what a year
A year of holding things together
In the midst of change
And friendships estranged
dark clouds and rough weather
You took the higher, harder road
To try to do what was just
To help lighten the load
of hurt feelings and mistrust
You worked to be a good friend to all
That was a hard balancing act
Yet you did your best
and did what was right
In the middle of friendships, strained and cracked
Quietly shining Christ's light

Through it all you maintained grace
and set your face
toward the future
without neglecting the now
I'm filled with pride as I reflect on how
You resolutely chose Baylor Theater as your goal
Did the work, and put your heart and soul
Into interviews and auditions, for that rare shot
To earn a Baylor Theater spot
And look at you. You did it!
They chose you, which is what I expected
Because I know you, so it was no surprise!
You passed the test, you got the part
Though out of so many so few were selected
The Lord gave you the desire of your heart
A true Maid of Honor
You have honored Him with the gifts He has gifted
Gifts of talent and intellect,
you are so smart!
Generously blessed by God
your hard work has paid off
My Suma Cum Laude
With a Baylor presidential scholarship
that you managed to lasso
Along with a similar honor
Granted you by El Paso

So a new adventure begins
Granted, perhaps starting out
as a tree
or a seahorse
Yet on a much bigger stage
And a still brighter spotlight
Yes, it will be challenging
it might even get scary
But have no fear, and make the Lord your delight
So that in you His word may richly dwell
For what the future holds I cannot tell
But thankfully, I know you well
And so I don't worry
And I know you will bring excellence to Baylor
And, in your own steadfast way, you'll hone your talents
And bring your spirit of love, and power, and a sound mind
To another drama-filled Theater program
that might need your balance

You will take what you have learned this year
For I have seen you grow
You've built into your life disciplines
and a walk
That I respect more than you can know

You've stepped out
Going to Edinburgh to serve those in need
And you've seen God heal lost hearts
and have seen shackled people freed

You've stepped in
Filling a place in the student band
Putting your musical gifts to service
With such great poise and stage presence
Music your vehicle and worship your purpose

I'm proud of how far you've come musically
I know the effort you've expended
As in all things, you've labored to be your best
And the result has been absolutely splendid

Just like you, my lovely one
You're such a wonderful daughter
How many dads could aspire
to be so blessed?
You're such a blessing to me
And, increasingly
an example too, oh how I admire
Who you are, who you are becoming
How could one so gifted in Theater
Have done such a wonderful job
of keeping our home drama-free
during her teen years
How can this be?
Yet in looking back, I cannot recall
A single moment of pain
or any parental tears
that you have caused
in all your years
And that is so precious, so rare
So unique

Just like you, my daughter, my treasure
May God bless you, as you continue to seek
His face,
and continue to live
sheltered deep in His grace
He has set your path before you
And given you wisdom which you've already shown
And soon you will step out and away
On your own
But never alone
Oh how you'll be missed
We'll cry our tears, it's true
but our smiles will shine through
Because we know God only leant you to us
for awhile
And His hands are always holding you

You have my blessing
Go, grow, continue discovering who He has made you to be
My prayer for you is that you will
find a place of deep Christian community
For there are few things so precious
and sweet as Spirit-filled unity
Treasure the Lord, and the faith he has given you
For it is more precious than gold
tested in the flame
And you are a daughter of the King
a bearer of His name
And of His cross
Never ever be ashamed
of who you are
The Lord loves you so much
And I do too
My sweet daughter, my friend,
My treasure
My star

Happy Graduation!
I love you,

Dad
June 1, 2011