Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Final Exam & The Road Ahead

With graduation season upon us, I took a moment
to look through my old scrap book and came across
the above photo (sorry so fuzzy) of my twin brother Bruce
speaking at our high school graduation in 1975
and these poems, saved from back in the day:


A Graduate's Prayer

Like a final exam,
Life stands before me.
I am frightened.
I face it with my pen lost
And my pencil broken.
I look at the questions with blurred eyes;
Facts drift in a senseless clutter
Down the corridors of my mind.
I am prepared with easy answers.
I have crammed with dates and details
That suddenly have no value.
I have skimmed and scanned and copied;
But the questions are essay
And not objective, as I had assumed.
You are the Text I have persistently ignored.
You are the Passages carefully underlined,
And never understood.
Grant me the time to understand Your plan
Before I write the final answer
And my only answer book
Lies permanently closed.

Charles A. Waugaman (1932 - 2010)
American poet and artist


The Road Ahead

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following
your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~Amen.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)
American Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky
mystic, poet, social activist, theologian


from The Eden Express
by Mark Vonnegut (b. 1947)
American writer, pediatrician, son of Kurt

Vonnegut begins this memoir of his post - college
years with the unforgettable anecdote:

"June 1969: Swarthmore Graduation.
The night before, someone had taken white paint and painted
"Commence What?" on the front of the stage."


Rebecca Sprigg, Salutatorian
Lafayette High School ~ Ballwin, Missouri
Becky says:
"Somehow they let me send off the Class of 1976.
Hope my words inspired and encouraged!"


  1. Some birthday thoughts from my brother (24 May 2017):

    Today I have received birthday greetings from friends and family in a dozen different countries, on five continents (thank you, Facebook); from folks I've known only a few months and people I've known all my life; from my daughters, who I love more than life itself; from siblings and cousins who shaped and formed me from the very beginning, and whom I cherish more than I can ever tell them; from my Whitetail kids, who are like a second family to me; from fraternity brothers and Army buddies and friends 18 to 80 (literally); from those with whom I share virtually all of my political beliefs to those with whom I share almost none; from those with whom I share virtually all of of my theological beliefs to those with whom I share almost none; from classmates at every level of my educational experience, from kindergarten to seminary. Thinking of each of you, however briefly, as I read through your birthday wishes, I took a trip through six decades of life.

    To paraphrase (only slightly) Rod McKuen:

    "I have been a loner, I have walked alone.
    Hiked a hundred highways, never found a home.
    Still in all I'm happy, the reason is, you see
    Once in awhile along the way life's been good to me."

    Thank you, to each one of you, for being part of this wild, crazy, funny, sometimes joyous, often painful, but altogether wonderful journey.

  2. Some Memorial Day / Armed Forces Day thoughts from my brother:

    Since most folks will overlook this:

    Today is the day we honor all those who serve (note the present tense) in our Armed Forces.

    Next week we honor those who died in the service of their country (note past tense).

    In November we honor veterans.

    As a veteran who has a child presently serving, and family members who have died in the service of our country, getting the meaning of the three days correct matters to me.

    Armed Forces Day (3rd Saturday in May) May 20, 2017

    Memorial Day (last Monday in May) May 29, 2017

    Veterans Day ~ always November 11.

  3. https://www.facebook.com/bcarriker/posts/10211257534127948:0


  4. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10227279523841339&set=a.10206997182235475

  5. https://www.facebook.com/bcarriker/posts/pfbid02Vx3yKv4eWpe4FkZEs93vj4tMbbhtwjiGs3XjJfZZx1JkiDBFHxqCP1nDT63rt2wnl