Another Anderson reaches the birthday status of manhood today. Felipe is 18. It’s hard to believe, just two years my child, and now already an emerging adult. We knew it would happen like this, and we wondered how it would feel. Today I can say it feels just right.
With each of my sons there’s been this man-child season. No longer boy, but not altogether independent. A good mix. Our home address still home base for a while. Still in need of food and cash. But becoming. And it’s been pretty exciting, Felipe, to see you BECOME.
So much has happened since you turned 17. Dad wrote it like this in your card this morning: I’m so proud of who you are becoming and who you are. This past year has included a lot of amazing things. You dominated one of the best soccer players in the state, mastered snowboarding, got hired for your first job and worked very hard, got your driver’s permit, became an amazing discuss thrower, wowed your teachers with an incredible DNA model and so much more!
Two years ago just before we traveled to Colombia I re-read one of my favorite Christmas stories. The Dean’s Watch. It’s about a young apprentice in 19th century England – a kid whose life had been hard and who knew what it meant to be alone. But then a clockmaker took him under his wing, and through belief and love the boy transformed. His potential awakened. And I knew, even then, this was Felipe’s story.
I have a good friend who is a gifted pray-er, and often when she prays a picture comes to mind. Recently she described her “Felipe picture.” An image of a young man coming alongside a person in need, bending down to help when no one else would.
A few days later we sat at the table after dinner, and you and Nils talked about buying lottery tickets in honor of turning 18. What would you do if you won all that money? Hundreds of millions – who can fathom such wealth? I listened, Felipe, as you talked about giving and sharing, and the people you’d comfort. And I thought again of this image. The young man who bends down to help.
I’ve seen it, Felipe. You are a rare combination. Budding scientist and humanitarian both. Hardwired by God for an exciting mission. I can hardly wait to see it unfold. Like my friend, I pray for you, too. Daily. I pray you will reach your full potential. I pray your God-dreams will flourish. I pray God will use you on his holy SHALOM mission – a mission that needs a young man like you.
So today I close with this birthday blessing:
Felipe. May you receive the love of your heavenly Father. May you know your value as His beloved. And may you love Him, too – with all your heart, soul and mind. May you daily use your God-given potential to bless the world and to touch people’s lives.
I love, my son. Happy Birthday.