Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A poem for my brother Ted, on the occasion of his 31st birthday: March 24, 2009

The student
I thought he would study all his life and never begin 'life'
But then I realized that this was life for him
And that it's just as much life as the other kinds
More in his case

Is he on language #8 yet?
I think so.
Latin, Greek, German, French, Hebrew, Bemba, English
I think I'm forgetting one or two
Too many interests
Tries to study all of them
And does
So it takes time
But he's becoming a scholar
Scholar Ted
The hare's competitor
Who keeps going
And always finds a way

If he had $1,000 that I needed
He'd give it to me
And eat Marmite for lunch
Expecting God to provide
Because he always does with Ted

The friend
Always including everyone
A one-on-one meeting turns to a party
Where half of them are strangers
He met along the way
Not one to hold grudges
Not one to stay angry
Not one to allow gossip
Slow to speak an ill word
Looking out for the un-looked-out-for
A friend to the friendless
And then
Without trying
Watching them make ten new friends
With the others he brought along

A dreamer
Always trying to do more than is possible
Totally unrealistic
And so he shoots for the sun
And gets far further than he would have
Always moving forward
But always advancing
And touching lives along the way

A hybrid
Between an introvert
And an extrovert
Loves studying--
Can only do this alone--
(Learns languages by watching Sesame Street
On youtube
In that language)
Studies alone
But loves people
Can't get enough
So it's people, people, people
Can't turn them down.
Is energized by them
And them by him
Up all night
In a way that matters

Doggedly so
Annoyingly so
But it's taken him where's been
And where he is
And God has always worked with it
And blessed
Like a handful of grain
Planted in too much shade
Finds a thick ray of light
And thrives in it
Bearing fruit
Somehow more
Than the grain in the field

So here's to Ted
To the LIFE he lives
To his love of discovery
To his last-man-standing there-ness
To his love of the unloved
To his shooting for the sun... and the moon... and the stars
To his love-one-another exuberance
To his always going somewhere
And God's always going with him
To bless whoever's there
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