2:23 PM

Yessir. I like birthdays.
"Speech!" they told me, the lovely ladies at my impromptu party of cupcakes, old home videos and constantly honking my runny nose. I had opened up the pink toenail polish and the new sheet music. I was surrounded by tissue paper and torn envelopes. I was thinking of my required speech.

Seventeen is a new year, you know.

But it took me more than a few seconds to fully articulate what I wanted for this year (though I rattled off something about wanting to grow closer to God). It took me a day -- a remembrance, actually.

My camp co-counselor told a story of a monk who was really tight with God. A man came to this monk, wanting to know how to become that close to God. The secret. The key to the lock. The magical formula. Happy to oblige, the monk took the man through the forest -- to some little place of meditation, perhaps. The monk stopped at a stream.

"Get in," he told his eager disciple.

He got in. And the monk plunged him underwater. Confused thoughts ran through that poor man's mind, starting at "What on earth?" and ending with "I am going to die here. Goodbye, world." His lungs burned. At the second he was stepping over to the next shore, he felt the air, the grass in his fists, the heaving of water out of his lungs, and the monk's hand on his shoulder.

"When you want God as much as you wanted that air," the monk told him, "that is when you will be close to God."

Seventeenth year -- this is your goal.

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11 impressions

  1. Wonderful post, I'm definitely bookmarking that story!
    Glad you had a great birthday! (and by the way, that picture of you is adorable! :D )


  2. Happy birthday, again!

    In our family we have a tradition that on each person's birthday, the birthday person must give a speech of as many words as years of life. For example, I'll have to give a 14-word speech on my 14th birthday this year.

  3. Happy Seventeenth!!! That year was such a turning point in my life... I can hardly believe all that happened in that year. May you be blessed as you grow in our Savior in the next 365 days of your life.

    Oh, and what an incredible story... a great illustration of what our desire to be close to God should be.


  4. I bumped into evidence of your blog in a very unlikely corner of the WWW, and I'm so glad that I came on over. Although I know you already get a great deal of encouragement and kudos from people that you actually know and care about, I just wanted to say this: you are saying wise, important things that girls need to hear. Remember, always, to draw your words straight from Scripture. That's the most important thing, after all: that we know the heart of God by knowing his Law, and that any wisdom that we give to others (or try to stuff down their throats, heh heh) is borrowed from God...

  5. Happy belated birthday, dearest! I have had your birthday gift sitting on my dresser for over three weeks now. *iz bad friend* I shall mail it soon. I was thinking about you on the 28th too... I'm glad you had a good birthday!

    <3 <3 <3
    Lots of love and hugs.

  6. Wow. That story gave me chills up and down my arms. Wow.

    Wonderful post, Bailey--love that cute photo of you! I'm glad you had a good birthday, sweet friend!

  7. Oh my gracious...what a cute smile (pretending to be your older sister now, since you said you wanted one) ((I can tell you now, you won't like older sistrs. *lol*))

    Happy birthday!

  8. I've been quietly reading your blog for a few weeks now and wondering about your age...because you are wise well beyond your years and you express yourself in a way that most people - even those much older than you - don't ever achieve. I am amazed that you are only 17. And, TODAY, at that! Happy Birthday!

  9. Yes, Allison is correct; next year I shall have to give a 19 word speech.

    Happiest of birthdays, Bailey. May you be continually conformed to the Image of Christ.

    Thank you for sharing that story with us. Wow.

  10. The monk's story is a powerful illustration. The original story, featuring Socrates (or Aristotle, one of those guys)and a student searching for truth, is the same, but it works even better in this form because even truth won't get you very far without God as your guiding compass!

  11. Happy Birthday to you! (Again.) :) Cute picture:)


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