Sweet 16

“But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:7)

Tonight we went to a birthday party of a neighbor’s daughter who turned 16 years old. We used to go to the same church, but we started really knowing each other when I was laid off 5 years ago and had nothing to do and often spent time at their house that summer.

Eavesdropping on what the teenagers were saying at the party gave me such deja vu feelings. The guys were talking about the same things that me and my classmates were talking about when we were 16. They also talked about reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, a novel which my friends and I also loved reading when we were that age. Even though it was 20+ years ago when I was 16, tonight my sweet 16 felt just like yesterday.

I remember my sweet 16. I was curious but also rebellious. I was out-going and participatory and quite adventurous. I did not fear the world but I was also naive. At 16 I had my first crush on a girl in a nearby school but I also experienced my first rejection by the girl. At 16 I was best friends with both the brightest student of my class and also the 3rd worst student of my class. At 16 I had 3 hour marathon phone calls with a schoolmate, and also sometimes marathon all-night game nights with friends. At 16 I spent my early mornings reading novels, and at night I started reading the book of Revelation and wondering if the Bible is true, unaware that seeds were being planted in me to accept the Lord in just a couple years’ time.

Tomorrow, my sweet 16 would return to the far reaches of my memory. But, tonight, I just want to take it all in and enjoy this moment while sweet 16 still feels just like it all happened yesterday.