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Blake's seventeen year old poem:


So you've finished high school's penultimate* year
*(Hey, you're a senior now, look it up in the dictionary)
The big time is right now, right here
I think it's going to be legendary
The road is opening up
Funny how that happens
with the passage of time
Your world used to be
your mother's arms, a bassinet, a crib, a room, a yard
Now the miles stretch out before and behind
You're in the driver's seat
Sitting on a license and a bank card
Your ride used to be
looking out the window
with someone else at the wheel
Now you're in the front left-hand seat
Piloting two tons of steel

Now, you drive

You're going places
Heading to work
Earning your pay
at that mecca of deliciousness
I hope it's your pleasure
It's nice to work and get paid
Plus it's your mom's favorite restaurant
I'd say you have it made
Add "working man" to your considerable list of roles
now that you're earning a wage
Thinking of roles and skills, I'd say you
definitely showed your abilities on the stage
In Bye Bye Birdie you were the disgruntled dad
wondering what's wrong with these darn kids
If I may digress
it's true that sometimes, as a parent,
one can find oneself out on the skids
With no clear egress
Sometimes it's like being three quarters of the way to the moon
Venting oxygen from a broken ship
(OK, I'll stop this tortured analogy
before it goes much further)
But let me emphasize, and I do so with much ferver
To this point, you have been great
Being your dad has been my pleasure
And it's great seeing you grow up
It's truly a joy
to date we've had nothing blow up
and I've tried to do more than just show up
Because I don't want to miss a thing
In the life of my boy
Who's a boy no longer

But back to your work in the arts
This next one was zooming right up the charts
You and Jordan sang of the agony of the chase
that pursuit of the female of the human race
And while the detail and dramatis personae
of your future pursuits is still on the way
I know somewhere out there
there is a maiden fair
Who hopefully has more about her than sitting
high in her tower, hour after hour
maintaining her hair

Athletically speaking, it was a challenging Junior year
It was our first foray into 4A
in an extremely tough division
Our high hopes came into collision
With injuries to your teammates (though never you
You appear to be indestructible
which, combined with your soccer skill
- another great claim to fame -
Is the reason they played you eighty minutes each game)
But after all that, we did surprisingly well
Even though we fell
just short of the state goal
On the whole
It was a great season
And, for my money, one great reason
Was how you played and led
Answering the call
Forcing tired legs to keep the wolf fed
You gave it your all
Soccer at CCS has been so good
For these three years, and one still remains
You are growing up, becoming more you
Becoming someone who
is a leader
and recognized as such
The de-facto on the field coach
I need to take care with the soccer analogies
For life is not a game
But we can learn from it just the same
We learn from losses and we learn from wins
We really need both of them
When the legs are tired
and the defenses shaky
In our weakness God is strong
so strong
How strong? Too strong
For you strong

And though I'm sure you feel a little bit of the Lebron
Denied a championship
Renewed strength comes to those who wait
And you can rest in this, there is no debate
You played your heart out this year

You will always need a band of brothers around you
Win or lose, this is clear
Because sometimes you will win eight to nil versus Emery Weiner
and sometimes you will play
the Village at Emery Weiner
and get taken to the cleaner
Caught in a scoring tornado
But through it all
we will always have Laredo
So stand firm in the face of both victory and disapointment
Sometimes your teammates are injured
and sometimes your own legs give out
But after doing all, stand
And watch God put the real enemy to route

In the meantime, you've been working on school,
and working on mission
Enduring the regular tension and necessary friction
of balancing all of that
and learning the complexity
of being grown up
of work schedules with no laxity
begging for coverage, resorting to Wild Wings bribery
Well, welcome to general adult perplexity
But, job intact, you made it to the mission field
in the Colorado mountains
From all reports
your service flowed like fountains
On this mission trip - with no me this time but still with your mama -
You expressed a healthy desire to kill and bury the drama
Drama that began on another mission trip and
continued on through prom
I think you handled it coolly and did your part to defuse the bomb
Seriously, let others waste time faceboxing and dropchatting
dumb videos and pictures
Allow me to post some instatruth for you
Focus on what's real
Not our culture's vapid criticisms and strictures
Develop wisdom and truth and mature it like a fine wine
Because in a decade or two people won't be able to tell
That I made up all the app names on that previous line
We spend so much time and effort on things that just come and go
There are so many vapors in this mad rush
it's easy to forget that the best things come slow
In this flashy digital age try to keep an even keel
Wherever life may take you
Keep your eyes pointed in the right direction
Focused on the One who won't ever leave or forsake you
He is by far your most important connection
He doesn't pass out "likes"
He bleeds love
He is the real deal
Though unseen, the substance of our hope
Pursuing us with intense passion and zeal
transforming our heart into His throne
He is the fulfiller of our deepest dream
To be fully loved and fully known

He is still filling in the spaces on the canvas of your character
So while the picture may never be completely known
until you arrive at your destination
Still you will gain more vision of where you are heading
and more importantly why
Gaining understanding of the machinery of life
and the spiritual fuel that powers it

Because what really keeps things moving is Love
Love for others, love for God
and one day love for the one you'll find
to go on life's journey with you
and sing together life's song
Because a young man can endure an empty passenger seat
for only so long

It's my father's privilege to hand the keys over
to you, a young man who is ready
ready to hit the road
Though you haven't ventured very far yet
Soon you will
And you will see the beauty of God's world
and of his call for you

I pray and know that God will continue to refine your calling
and that you will be brave to follow
To take steps where you can't see
but where you know He is
and that's where you know you need to be

Another memory occurs to me
As I close these verses
An early morning on the California coast
A place where the westward horizon reverses
And displays an eastward sky
Point Dume, a climb down
A remote place that helped us see why
the Psalmist exults that the heavens declare God's glory, power and might
As the sun came out like a bridegroom from his chamber
Blinding, beautiful beams that are but a dim copy of our God's great Light
That is who we follow
Who we are learning to love
Who is shaping you and growing you
And beckoning you on to the things above
Teaching you to drive life's back roads and high ways
Through his Spirit inside you
His Son interceding at his side for you
And Himself, strongly leading, pursuing, and drawing you
With joy we launch you into this new near
Praying the protection and guidance of
Our great God, Three in One
May He steer you continuously in the paths of virtue and grace
For now you drive
accelerating into the rising sun

Happy birthday start of your Senior year!

I love you,

August 15, 2015