As I was going through my old files on Sunday, I stumbled upon one of my favorite pieces I have ever written. I had written it for my senior year English 12-1 class a year and a week ago, and it is really special to me. The assignment was to do a Chaucer-style poem (ten syllables per line, with every two lines rhyming with each other), and mine was one of the longest. But that’s not why I love this piece.
I love this piece because it’s actually about me.
This poem was actually created around a series of conversations I had with my best friend and closest mentor, Jeff. He taught me so much about life, myself, and what faith looks like when it is lived out daily.
But this poem isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone. We all have these God-given talents in us that we don’t see – or that we disregard because we think they’re not “good enough.” And sometimes we have these moments where we are affirmed in a way that strengthens us and helps us to understand our identity and our strengths.
And those moments, when our disregarded ability is highlighted as a defining characteristic, are glorious.
The Boy and the Man
“The boy and the man, a fine line between
but how do you know when crossed is that mean?
A man, I believe, I surely am not –
try as I might, no virtues have I got.
No good looks or athleticism – bland.
And intelligence could as well be canned.
The bar is too high, and unreachable.
Leaden my heart, I’m inconsolable.”
“Friend, can you not see what I see in you?
Your eyes are blinded, you can’t see the truth.
Each time I see you, your talents shine bright.
They shine full, piercing the pitch black of night.
Your greatest gift is your pure, selfless heart –
you give of yourself to hearts torn apart.
Your nature is love – you put others first.
Your life centers around this simple verse:
Philippians two, verses three and four.*
At least these simple truths you cannot ignore.
Another gift is communication –
you wield this with the hand of a great man.
I have seen you help a fallen heart stand.
You do it for them, all hearts think you grand.
Yet you can’t see that, your eyes blind to it.
Fit in you should not – stand out, that’s your fit.
Help others in a way few others can,
only then will one truly be a man.
You’ve proven yourself a man countless times,
helping peers to love themselves, saving lives.
Now tell yourself this: Worth I do contain,
That boy-man line’s crossed, not one step remains.”
(NIV): “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
(The Message): “Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”