I am sitting with Wiley [*waves], eating cheese and talking about the December 12th. The day I get baptized.
“I thought that it would be a longer process,” she says as she puts another bite of the Barely Buzzed into her mouth and reaches for a bite of the Moses Stellar.
“So did I,” I agreed as I eye her peppermint bark. I feel a small pang of guilt, but I reach for the bark anyway. I break off a piece and take a bite. The guilt pang hits me again. It wasn’t about the bark. I look over at Wiley.
“Yeah… I thought I would move slower.” That was the truth. The pang lessoned a little but it was still there.
I thought that the path back to the Church would be a slow, methodical, study-based trek to righteousness. What it turned out being was a long-awaited reunion. We met again and found that we loved each other as much as we did in the beginning and now want to live the rest of our lives together.
Aren’t you going too fast?
Yes… and no.
No, in that my relationship with God started when I was 9 years old and has lasted for some 26 years. While I have not been to church in a decade, I have a solid foundation in the Bible and I have worked to live by it and teach my children to do the same. I have tried to live a life of service, which the only thing that ever truly made me happy, and I have shared what has worked in my life, based on the Scriptures.
But then there’s that pang of guilt, the ‘yes’ answer.
This goes back to the adage that you never forget your programming.
I was taught that to truly be baptized, you had to earn the privilege. You had to study (in my case, over a year and a half covering two complete books). You had to prove that you were faithful by being at every meeting and being in the Theocratic Ministry School and giving a ‘talk’ once a month. Show your righteousness by being out in field service (you know, when we knock on your door on Sat. morning? …. Yeah…) at least 10 hours a month.
Then, and only then, you could be qualified for baptism. So an hour class with Scriptural consideration leaves me feeling empty. It makes me feel as if I should know more about my new chosen path. That I should have gone to the services for a few more months.
But it also makes me feel as if anything is possible.