Charlie’s Day

Charlie was baptized today. This culminated six months of verbal and emotional preparation for a kid with so. much. anxiety over social events, being the center of attention, and experiencing pressure to perform.

We talked about following Jesus. Charlie asked why Jesus lives in outer space. We watched, several times, the video of Jesus being baptized. Charlie asked why Jesus has a beard. We talked to the bishop. Charlie asked the bishop if there are dinosaurs in heaven. Henry and Charlie walked inside the empty baptismal font a few days before and H told Charlie all about his baptism years ago. Charlie asked if I was baptized a long time ago (answer: yes). We practiced what would happen when he was baptized. Charlie asked if the water would be overflowing the font (answer: no). We showed him the towel my friend Shirley embroidered with his name and the date, and told him his dad would wrap it around him when they stepped out of the water.

Charlie said he wanted to be baptized.

We stripped the baptism ritual down to its basic structure. We cast off the talks and the musical numbers, the prelude and interlude music, and the big family celebration, keeping only a prayer, and the actual ordinances.

It took ten minutes. Just our bishop, our neighbor/high councilor, and Jeff’s parents were in attendance, in addition to my little family plus Junior and Sye, my two other honorary guys.

There were so many things that could have gone pear shaped. I envisioned Jack tossing things in the font, or even getting in for a brief swim. I pictured Jack having a meltdown complete with bellowing and hitting. I hoped Charlie wouldn’t dissolve into sobs.

Here’s what actually happened: everything went perfectly.

You could say this is because we planned it to work for our family’s needs. We let Jack wear his inside-out-and-backward Star Wars tee, and we let him bring the shop vac. We didn’t make him pose for pictures. We kept it short and quiet. We insisted on simplicity.

But the flawless baptism wasn’t a result of us thinking in specific terms of survival.

After today, I feel that God surely helps flawed peope (like us) when we hand him our meager little offering with sincerity.


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