This is so personal that I feel strange writing about it, but I feel like I need to write it down. I want to remember. If I commit this to paper it is likely that it would get colored on, or cut up.
I was baptized on my birthday, March 7th.
It's been a long road spiritually for me. A lot of ups and downs. Typical I suppose. A lot of drifting away due to my own poor choices, a church that practically changed overnight and made me doubt a lot, people who betrayed me, a lot of doubt, a lot of praying and studying the gospel, a lot of wandering from church to church, and then one of the best gifts that God has ever given me. One of the best gifts being our new church and the people in it.
I've always had ideas on baptism that no one else seemed to share. Although it is an outward expression, it is also deeply personal. Just like the birth of my children, although fantastic, it is not something that I felt I wanted to put on display. I wanted to love the person that baptised me. I do know that baptism is about me and Christ, and my commitment to him, but it's such an intimate experience that this was important to me. Trust was an issue, I've been burned before. I let a man marry Richie and I that I no longer have any respect for. I didn't want a person like that involved with my baptism. I didn't want to be standing in front of a church full of people. I wanted it to be a small group, I wanted it quiet, and I didn't want the pomp and circumstance. Pretty much how I should have had my wedding.
Richie and I were going to get baptized together on the same day, but he took off like the bullet from a gun one Sunday morning and left me in the dust. Which is great! I'm glad he did. I wasn't about to do it on a Sunday morning, though.
Although my 26th year isn't significant, I wanted to give a gift to myself this year. Declare a redo, and work towards my biggest goal for this year, to be closer to Christ. I woke up at 5am on my birthday, which is strange. I listened to Mumford and Sons for five hours straight before the kids got up. I had more time to think than I've had in over five years. I called Richie and asked him to call one of our elders, Bob, and ask him if he could meet us at the church at 6:45 that night to baptize me. We organized the family from there, and I got lost in house cleaning because the nerves were getting to me. It's overwhelming, and it's a lot to process all at once. At least it was for me.
Before I knew it, my dad was at my door, and it was time to go. He broke the news to me that Richie was running late and that he would meet us there. We got there an hour before Richie did. We all sat and talked, our two elders, their wives, Mom & Dad, Jec, the kids, Abe and myself. Richie finally arrived and then my brother shortly after him. I was talking about how Richie is the reason that we run late to church most Sunday mornings as he walked in, and my mom told me to get my lying in before I was baptized. I've never been what you would call punctual.
It was time, and by this point I was so calm it was numbing. We decided that Richie should be the one to baptize me. I said that it was fine as long as he didn't drown me and leave me for dead. Bob took my confession, and I went to get changed. Bob took Richie with him. My attire was hilarious. A white wife beater type one piece, a navy blue body suit made out of a material similar to a cape you wear when getting your hair cut, and a white robe. And then the elders' wives pointed out the water shoes. Lime green water shoes. If you know me, then you know that I could never walk out sporting those, and be straight faced about it. I went bare foot.
I got to the stairs of the baptistery, and Richie wasn't there. He only had to put waders on, and I beat him. I promptly turned to the elders' wives behind me and told them, "See, I'm always on time". It was at that point that I heard Vince's voice (our other elder). His voice was louder than the rest and I realized what they were all singing. It was Amazing Grace, one of my favorites. I don't know if he asked for one of my favorites, and my family told him, or he just chose it, but it was perfect. I stood there and appreciated Vince's voice because I had never before noticed how nice it was.
Richie finally made it out and the only thing I remember about walking into the baptistery was having to pull up my robe so that I didn't trip, and looking down at my feet when I stepped into the baptistery. I'll never forget what the cranberry colored nail polish on my toes looked like as I stepped into the water. The rest is a bit of a smudge in my memory. I was so calm and at peace that it was practically a high, and it's blurred the most important part. I do remember Richie's prayer afterwards. His most eloquent prayer yet. At least that I've heard aloud. I also remember going to walk away and Richie grabbing my arm to pull me back to hug me and kiss my neck three times, and they all made a loud squeaking noise on my wet neck.
Getting back into my regular clothes should have been an Olympic sport, because the plastic-ey, blue, body suit was completely stuck to my body and I wasn't about to call someone back to rip it off of me as I stood there in my wet wife beater one piece. Ewww. I finally got it off with minimal pain.
I came out and hugged everyone. Some of the sweetest and most sincere kisses and hugs that I've ever received.
I was expecting fireworks, or white lights, but what I got was much better. It was peace, and serenity, and love. It was exactly how I wanted it. It was as if every event in my life had culminated and brought me to this beautiful moment.
And now the most important job of my life starts. I've picked up my cross and started walking.