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Blake's twelve year old poem:

Blake is Twelve

It has been a year of change, of new beginnings
And some endings
I'm sure more than once you've wondered why
You now find yourself at Arnold Junior High
It's quite a contrast from CCS
And, with rose-colored memories,
I'm sure things there seemed quite blessed
For now that you're out of the CCS bubble
Sixth grade at times seems chock full of trouble
comparing last year to what you're dealing with now
But you're making it, and I think
it's time to take a bow

You're persevering, you haven't given up
It's been a year of some rough knocks
Like a runner, you had a rough start out of the blocks
But it appears you've gotten over the hump
and you're on the easier downhill side
I know Junior high is not likely to provide
smooth sailing, still we've pushed out from the rocks
and are now paddling furiously out into open waters

You're a smart kid, with a sharp wit
And a keen mind that just doesn't quit
Always ready to amuse us, in any circumstance
with a pithy comment that has us laughing out loud
Or maybe an impromtu song and a dance
anything, really, to please the crowd
You've got musical talent, I can see it already
A great sense of harmony and rhythm
Just more talents in your arsenal, developing steady
You're doing great in school, but oh, if only
Rather than English, history and arithmetistics
School was primarily about memorizing sports statistics!
You'd make the same great grades, but with lots less work
Still, I know that it's no quirk
That you've excelled, and done so well
I also have to note (if I dare)
You've made quite the splash at school
with your fabulous hair

As coach Chris has said, you're a "smart player"
And not just on the soccer pitch
As you grow in wisdom and stature, this is my prayer
That these gifts you have will enrich
you in the ways that really matter
It's not about memorizing subjects to the letter
It's all about developing, about getting better
Because the math tests and English projects
and schoolwork in junior high
Aren't the end in themselves
They are a training ground for the learner, the striver, the go-getter
To help you grow and to accomplish,
to learn that you can do
whatever's in your view
And to begin to see
That all this is helping you become who you will be

Your skills are still being honed
As has been said before
Junior high is, in many ways, like practice
And I believe you will be "beast"
and will be able to say you totally Owned
Once you've made it through
It's like running drills over and over again
Most of the time that's absolutely no fun
But you're developing the tools you need
To win in the game of life
Now that this new stage has begun

All that being said, it's not all work
I know boys will be boys, but still
when you and your friends, Blake, Ryan, and Will
Get together, we know
there will be blood
As you run around like loons
Someone will land with a thud
Or dislocate something
Or swing their backpack at someone else's head
The bruises and stiches and other physical glitches
are all part of gaining that twelve year old cred

Your world is sports, sports, sports
We've got soccer, and soccer, and more soccer
more soccer than we can count
Tournaments and games and practices
Ah yes, practice, a truly amazing amount
Life on the Legend has been good
And, more often than not, you guys have stood
In the winner's circle, wearing the gold
It's been great to watch your progress unfold
You're as athletic as can be
And our basketball games are epical
Little pick-up games, hah. These games matter
With trash talk flowing the ball swishes
through that target spherical
The garage door and gutters we batter
With countless rebounds, body slams,
and not a few frustrated fists
But I wouldn't change it for anything
Those dents exist
because of hours of fun
Spent together, competing, as father and son

You also like competing in the virtual world
Video games, stacked teams, controlling the situation
filling your teams with ringers and aces
You are the king of all you survey
in your playstation
You can build it the way you want, covering all the bases
And there's something comforting about that, no?
To have a world full of "Yes!" with hardly any "D'oh!"
Of course, the real world is not as controllable
But it's also got a lot more dimension
Perhaps it's not as tidy and clean
as pixels on a flat screen
But it's far more real, with lots more constructive tension
And complexities often beyond our comprehension
The best thing is that in the real world
you get to be on the field
You get to be in the game
And, though you can't see it always
The outcome's known, and the victory is sealed1
There is a lot of change coming at you
Many forces and powers pulling on you
To go this direction, that direction
It's so important never to forget the One who
loves you with perfection
And who knows the way
because He has walked it
For, you see, He was twelve once too
And it was at that age that He began
to put some distance between Himself and childhood2
As that distance widens, on this journey from boy to man
Never lose the wonder
And the faith of the child
So that by the wiles of the enemy
You won't be beguiled

The game is totally stacked in your favor
And the best game plan of all
is to learn to seek, treasure and savor
The Lord, because He's the One
Who is forefront in the battle
Who declares it accomplished
And sees it won

So, though it must feel sometimes
like you're walking through the fire
Stay strong,
In this world there is much to distract,
It's so easy to desire
To be one of the crowd who are walking their own way
Seemingly free
But when you really look then you will see
That the Son of God walks through the flames with you
And you are truly free3
and He will see you through
Your faith will emerge from the heat
Sparkling, strong as steel, and burnished bright
A reflection of the brightness of our Savior
For there are many around you who need that light

We pray for God's protection on you
That His love would surround you
With His wisdom to inform you
His joy to fill you
And His grace to move you
Keep praying, playing, living
Life will have its share of hard times ahead, but good times too
In Christ problems are always smaller than they seem
And even when you think you can't
Always know that the Lord can
Though you may not see it yet,
through all this, you're learning to be a man

Happy birthday Blake! I'm so proud of you!

I love you,

Dad
March 19, 2010

1 Ephesians 1:13-14
2 Luke 2:41-52
3 John 8:36