“Rise and walk in the Newness of Life“…I can still hear Brother Brown’s words ringing in my ears as I left the sanctuary Baptismal pool…
resurfacing from a full immersion in the cleansing waters of Baptism.
I was nearly 18 years old.
I remember my water soaked gown growing heavier, stretching and dragging the ground as I made my way up the ramp to the helping hand of a stranger pulling me up and then out with my bare feet slipping on sanctified water left on the cold tile from the newly baptized that made their way ahead of me.
There was a moment there, between standing on one side of the pool dry and emerging wet on the other that life changed for me…
Not because of Baptism, itself. But because of the faith that I had within it. A belief that there was purpose to the event. Feeling God was there with me, surrounding me and releasing the things that didn’t sit well with my spirit.
It cleansed me.
From the inside out.
I’m not sure if everyone remembers the day that they were Baptized because so many make that step very young.
I always thought there must be something wrong with me, because I fought the urge to go before my church with such deliberateness for years before.
I remember when they would have the call to come forward for Profession of Faith. I would be holding on so tightly to the back of the pew in front of me that it felt like the Lord almighty might just have to drag me and the thousand pound pew up the aisle and deliver us both straight onto the pulpit.
It was hard to fight that battle every Sunday.
Me, against God.
A battle against what I knew in my heart was right but could not be compelled to fight the fear of actually moving myself away from the security of my seat nestled between my loving parents. I liked it there. I was always so relieved when they would sing the final stanzas of the closing hymn, I would breathe a sigh of relief because I knew I had gained another week of not giving in to the fear of surrender.
My parents never pushed, coerced or nagged me about my reluctance to go forward. Even though my two sisters had been baptized in elementary school. I never even discussed my fears or my steadfastedness at remaining pew bound during the last 5 minutes of church with them, but I am sure they could see it. Having been a very nervous and oftentimes unwell child due to anxieties, they knew my limitations.
Often times, in an effort to avoid the pains of battle, I would convince my mind to wander so I would not have to pay attention to my spirit trying desperately for me to reunite me with the Lord, in his house. Counting windows of stained glass, counting how many rows we were back or trying to peek and see if anyone was sleeping or nodding off in the self appointed “elderly section” located to my left without actually fully turning my head.
Then, one Sunday in April out of the blue, it caught me off guard.
Relaxation and acceptance.
I could fight it no more and at the opening lines to “Just as I am” I left my seat, excused myself along the sets of dress shoes and scattered purses along the crimson carpet and made my way down the aisle.
It was very matter of fact.
And just like that, There I was, Just as I was. Professing my faith and feeling forgiven for all my detours and delays.
It was well, with my soul.
So I sit here today, thinking back on that April Sunday. Reminded of the anxieties fought by a younger version of myself and the sweet victory after surrender.
And it is Spring once again, in my heart.
Enjoy your day.
Rise and walk in your own newness of life.
Because life is short.
Live it in peace.