A few weeks ago, I went to a 17th birthday party!
A sweet girl who lives at The Castle hand-wrote an invitation for Sámuel (my friend who lets me tag along to his religious lessons there) and I the week before. We both planned to go (having no idea what we were in for), but we knew we wanted to be a part of her special day.
When we arrived at the house, we were greeted with squeals of joy and hugs. The birthday girl led us to her bedroom, where her older sister was blowing up balloons. After I was dubbed with a glittery dragonfly tattoo on the hand, Sámuel and I wandered around the house to see what the rest of the kids we knew were about to.
We hung out in one of her brothers’ room to watch him play on his computer. We laughed with a kiddo who is non-verbal walking around with his fake cell phone, and we successfully made our way through the 20 kids when transferring rooms.
Soon, it was time to gather together at the (very long!) kitchen table, with every seat having a balloon attached to it for decoration. The birthday girl insisted I sat next to her (and only looked at me while the rest of the party was singing to her because she was so excited I was there). After the Hungarian Birthday Song was sung, we all enjoyed TWO kinds of cake! The first one was a vanilla cake, with white creme, and chocolate shavings on top. The second was made by her older sister (who is studying culinary arts) that was a chocolate cake beautifully decorated with Hello Kitty on top. After we had our fill of sweets, Sámuel and I said our goodbyes and were told to take a balloon with us. 😊
When I was leaving, I realized there was a biblical reminder for me to take home from this party, too… Let me explain.
While the birthday girl was being sung to and all eyes were on her, the kiddo Sámuel and I were laughing with about his cell phone squealed with joy THE WHOLE TIME. He was sitting across from me, so I could see his eyes light up every time the birthday girl smiled. When she blew out the candles, he was the one clapping his hands the longest. Though this boy couldn’t use words to explain how he was feeling, it was evident he was overjoyed because it was a happy/celebratory time for her.
This little guy reminded me of this verse from Romans 12, verse 15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”.
Sometimes it’s easy to wish exciting things happening to other people would happen to us (I’m guilty, too). But if we could all just take a few moments out of our days to be joyful for others like this little 9-year-old was for the birthday girl, I think we wouldn’t regret it.
… and with everything comes it’s opposite. Mourning doesn’t sound like something too appealing to do if we don’t have to, I know. But we’re called to walk with people, wherever they’re at. And we all know walking through the dark is a lot more comforting with a companion next to us.