My last day at sixteen years old. Seventeen tomorrow.

It’s been an interesting year! So much has happened. So much has changed. So much has… grown.

I’ve spent my last day of sixteen at the doctors, on the bus, seeing one of my favourite (yet sadly not often visited) towns, hearing such favourite hymns as Blest are the pure in heart and Lead kindly light, I’ve spent 3 hours delving into the life of Gandhi and being inspired, I’ve stood by an oak tree and my much loved home-church, I’ve spent time in college, time with dear friends, I’ve drank some water and strawberry milkshakes, I’ve reflected, I’ve dreamed.

I spent the morning reading the Bible and falling in love over and over with so much of the Gospel teachings, and then hearing them echoed by Gandhi in my afternoon Religious Studies class in college. But before I sleep tonight I find myself opening my hymn book again. Well, I say my hymn book, but really I’ve had it borrowed from my church for months! I found out reading a biography of Gandhi this evening, that Lead, kindly light – a favourite of mine – was his favourite too. So tonight I not only reflect on the time that I first heard the hymn escaping anothers’ lips and on how much this hymn expresses (written by John Henry Newman), but I reflect on Gandhi’s life and the vision he leaves behind for us. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King… all such inspiration comes from.

I hope I’ve done some good in my sixteenth year. Rather, I know that I have. But I hope I can do even more in my seventeeth. And God be with me, I will. I’ll be opening my book of Common Worship again tonight and reading once more…

Almighty God,
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed;
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth
that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

We are all children of God, Gandhi professed. Jesus professed. I profess. In every day of my seventeeth year I hope to bring this world of tranquility, peace and love a little nearer, a little closer, a little wider to the whole earth. Or, at least, to Bramhall for now. 🙂

On my last day of my sixteenth year, I pray for peace and sing in trust, with thanksgiving…

Lead, kindly light,
amid th’encircling gloom,
lead thou me on;
the night is dark,
and I am far from home;
lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet;
I do not ask to see
The distant scene;
one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus,
nor prayed that thou
shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose
and see my path; but now
lead thou me on.
I loved the garish day,
and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will:
remember not past years.

So long thy pow’r
hath blest me, sure it still
will lead me on,
o’er moor and fen,
o’er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone;
and with the morn
those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since,
and lost awhile.

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