|Yessir. I like birthdays.|
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.