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Blake's graduation poem:

Two Goals

This poem has been a long time coming
When 2016 dawned, we didn't know we'd be running
a far harder than expected race
We didn't know of the unexpected darkness we'd face
In the rush of events around your graduation
In the crush, the attempts to make sense
of our densely-packed long dark summer of vexation
I lacked the focus and heart to put paper to pen
And so I was late on your poem, again
and late turned into very late and
way late
But I was determined not to abdicate
So with May 27th far back in the rear view
I set Christmas as my target
to finish this poem for you
Though I'm sure there were times you wondered "what the deuce?"
Though late, the poem is now done,
and though that's not much of an alibi
and far less than you deserve
as the excuse for my blatant deadline abuse
the events of the past two hundred and twelve days
will have to serve

You finished out your high school well
From the day the doors opened to the final bell
We love that you made the most of it
And, if I may boast a bit
I'd say you left your mark on CCS
And that your time in High School was a time that God blessed
We'll miss that school but we're glad God led you there
To grow and learn and make memories
That we all can keep in our treasuries
I'm particularly proud of how you branched out
Never being afraid to stand out
You weren't a one-trick pony
It would be easy to focus on soccer, but that wasn't the only
definition of you,
not your only claim to fame (though I've got some verses,
before we're through, dedicated to the beautiful game)
The whole of you wasn't just that
You were, and are, one cool cat
with lots of skills that pay the bills
You were the best choice to wear the striped hat
Up on stage, singing and dancing and making us laugh
(Can I have your autograph?)
We're so glad that you kept theater
And added flag-running to your senior year
Because a rounded character is better than a flat one
And a night spent show-less
is not nearly as good as a Cat in the Hat one

But, of course, beside the school work,
and having a key for the Tundra's ignition switch
the biggest thrills of the year were on the soccer pitch
I think back fifteen years ago
From the start you were gaining soccer fame
And, in case you don't remember
you scored two goals in your very first game
by zigging and zagging around the other kids
You were and are a natural
sharp as a knife, quick like skids
And in your last high school playoff
You went out like you came in
You played great; a leader, sacrificial
giving your all, and though the official
tally went against us, I still saw it as a win
As a perfect bookend
you scored two goals
While I sat in the stands shouting "That's my boy!"
Bursting with pride, despite the result
Watching you play all these years has been pure joy
But it's not in the sport that we exult
It's in what the sport has done in you
honing you, mind, body and soul
Because, more than the scoreboard, that's the goal
We left that game not knowing what was in store
Was this it, were you done, or would you be playing four more?
So we were so pleased, but not surprised
when UMHB picked you up, sight unseen
Just another opportunity that the Lord has devised
You responded by working yourself onto the top team
You've done well, and the coaches have observed
your leadership and drive, a young man who will strive
to do his best
And as a result won recognition well deserved

College has begun, and it's a new world
And I understand that the jury is still out
It's as if the troops are lined up,
The flag's uncased and unfurled
but in the midst of it all there is doubt
it is unclear in which direction to charge
The future used to seem a long way away
but now it's looming large
College can be a thrilling time, but also a time of test
And this advice may seem counter to what you usually hear
But it's true: you don't have to be the best
You just have to become who you were created to be
That's the victory
And your Maker will make your steps clear
as you make your heart to dwell
on the One who loves you, and knows you, and made you,
because He does all things well
He has a will, and you are part of it, and I believe
that uncertainty is not something in which to grieve
Whatever he teaches you, learn
Wherever he leads you, follow
Far above all gold, His grace is not cheap
So like the moon to Apollo
when faith is needed, take the leap
His priceless love is not something you have to earn
He already earned it for you, and it's yours and free
As you continue to seek his face, and learn to love what you seek
letting Him write your story
at every turn
degree by degree
you'll move from grace to grace and glory to glory

Now you find yourself in Belton
Still unsure of your place in it all
Navigating new, unfamiliar terrain
Of friendships, of community, of vocational call
Of love, loss and deep grief,
in this vale of tears, haunted by a thief
who comes to kill, steal and destroy
Who, though doomed, still wills to steal your joy
He is dreadful but in the end he can only annoy
Destroyed are his weapons by the assurance freely given
True Life, unassailable, to we, the happy forgiven

I've tried, as best I can
To counsel, discipline and love my young son
into a young man
All these blessed years that we've spent raising you
enjoying you, praising God for making you
You have been a unique joy from the start
with a desire for the truth
so talented and smart
with passions and gifts and wits
and a compassionate heart
You're a fine young man,
The first lines of your story penned
But so much more to come
We can't wait to see what's round the bend

So I have a blessing for you
As I close out these lines;
these verses that always fall short
of my hopes and designs
But they come from my heart
And I hope they express
The love and hope I have for you
If so, I call that success
May you strive to know God's will
to know and deeply love the truth
And remember your Creator in the days of your youth
Seek to know His holiness, His grace,
and the love of Christ
That is so high, deep and wide
that paid such a high price
for you and for me, orphans all of us
adopted by the King who gave His all for us
This is the end of the matter; all has been heard
Don't fear the future in its swift span
As the teacher said in Scripture, shoot for these
two goals:
Fear God
Keep his commandments
for this is the whole duty of man

I love you and I'm proud of you,

Dad, Christmas day, 2016