Growing up on the farm south of Harmony, Minnesota, we ate BIRTHDAY CAKE in July. Mom, Dad and the first four kids in my family were born in July; including me!
When I heard this birthday story at camp this year, I asked permission to share it.Â The storyâ€™s creator is an Episcopal priest named Susana and it has become a favorite.
Here is Susana’s story:
A girl named Brooke looked forward to her birthday each year. Because her family was very poor, her parents didnâ€™t have any money to buy her a birthday gift. She was a little bit sad at school that day because no one wished her a happy birthday. But that changed in the afternoon when a popular boy named Bobby handed her a beautifully wrapped package.Â
She was excited to receive this gift, yet when she got home and opened it up, she found that he gave her a dead rat. She buried the rat in her back yard, and the next day she gave Bobby a gift.Â As you can imagine, he didnâ€™t want to take it, but after his friends persuaded him, he finally accepted her gift.
When Bobby got home, he worried about what was inside the box. When he opened it, he saw a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers. He stood there in disbelief. When he saw Brooke in school the next day, he asked her, â€œWhy did you give me such a nice gift, when my gift to you was mean?â€
Brooke looked at him with sincerity. â€œYou were the only person to remember my birthday this year, and for that I am thankful. My gift to you is simply what is inside of me. You gave me what is inside of you.â€ He stood there a moment, and slowly shook his head. He understood the meaning of her words.Â
The next day, Bobbie gave Brooke a new gift. This time, it was a beautiful bouquet of sun flowers.Â
And so you see, people can change.
May every gift you give and receive be an expression of the best that’s inside of you!
Happy Birthday to you if you were born in July, and Happy Birth of a NATION to the United States of America!