Rituals are important. I love weddings and graduations. (Seriously, I’m probably the only person I know who requests tickets to graduations.) I’ve always thought that rituals connect us to the generations before us. Even though my wedding vows mentioned serving humanity, every generation before me spoke words of faith and pledging. Did the vows I exchanged with K cement our marriage? No, of course not. But the ritual of exchanging tokens, standing before our families and saying important words – it’s all part of our story.
My relationship with church has been rocky. I was raised in a traditional Southern Baptist church and while I’m glad I had the experience, as I grew I didn’t really feel God there. Church was too hypocritical for me – love everyone, but not the gays. So, I stopped going. I never stopped praying or even noticing the small (and large) miracles around me. I just didn’t feel “connected” to God in a church building. Put me on a mountain top, drive me down a canopy road, or let me watch a sunset over the Gulf. K, however, liked church. We’d go sporadically when we lived in Tallahassee, but I would fight it.
Fast forward and we’ve gone and joined a church. It’s local – we walk to church each Sunday. It’s small and vibrant, and I don’t feel fake there — which is due in small part to wearing jeans to Sunday service. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have gone back if it wasn’t for C3. I was raised with a church family; I want her to experience the same. I want her to have a biblical foundation – even if, like me, she considers it more poetry that fact. I’ve always thought it’s more about a higher power. I find and connect with my higher power through the teachings and stories of Christ. If you were to tell me you connected via Buddha or Mohammed, I’d consider us spiritual siblings. Anyway, in joining we also scheduled her baptism (Methodists baptize kiddos, but it’s pretty much the same as christening). I like the Methodists – any congregation that has both Hillary Clinton and George W as members is probably broad enough for me to feel at home.
I do not remember my christening (duh), but I do remember my baptism. I was dunked and it is one of the clearest memories I have – a quiet that was small and clear in my soul. I don’t think the ritual saves my daughter from anything, but I appreciate it for what it is. My husband and I stood and pledged to raise her in a Christian home, explaining and displaying the grace of God and living His message. Be good to people.
We had brunch on our back porch afterwards. It was lovely – we don’t really have flowers blooming yet (although my azaleas have gone crazy) so I stuck dollar store fakes in our flower pots. A roll of wrapping paper covered my gorgeous plastic tablecloths. It was perfect. I’m getting better at the family gatherings stuff – although I still need to figure out portions. We ate pasta salad for a week!
I still don’t quite believe my miracle. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed, which is quite often, I look down at her oddly shaped head with its springy curls and marvel at the miracle of my life. I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. I wasn’t supposed to have this charmed life. Grace, I have it.