Today is the day of my Baptism. Nine year old me wiggles impatiently as my mother tries desperately to brush the knots out of my thick, tangled hair. I am wearing the shirt that she made me specifically for this occasion. It has a bright red heart painted on it and reads “I gave my heart to Jesus”. My nine year old mind is full of wonder and excitement.
Me: So, tell me. How this is going to play out again?
Mom: Lindsey, I have already told you what’s going to happen. And besides that, you’ve seen it done many times before!
Me: Just tell me one more time…please? I promise I won’t ask again!
Mom: (Sighs) Okay. You’ll stand in line at the top of the stairs that lead into the tub. Pastor Roy will give his speech about how all of you have chosen to accept Jesus, and then one by one he will ask you to step down into the water with him.
Me: Will it be cold?
Mom: No, it’s warm like bath water. But remember to step in carefully because if you slip, you’ll fall in and it will be embarrassing.
Me: Okay….then what?
Mom: You’ll stand in front of him sideways and he will take your hands. That’s when he’ll announce to everyone that you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior.
I grip my face dramatically in an attempt to impersonate the victims on the late night horror movies I wasn’t supposed watch, and then let out my best and most award-winning gasp of terror.
Me: HE’S GOING TO TAKE MY HANDS?!?
Mom: Lindsey, for the love of God, you know what I mean!!
Me: You said it, not me….So after he gruesomely takes my hands from me, then does he dunk me?
Mom: Lindsey, stop fooling around. This is a serious matter! And no, not yet.
Me: Well then when does he dunk me?
She sighs and continues to yank at the stubborn knots in my thick red hair.
Mom: Not until after he asks you if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Me: But wouldn’t he have just said that to everyone? Why would he tell everyone that I already have and then ask me?
Mom: (Clearly beginning to lose her patience) I don’t know, Lindsey! That’s just how it works!
Me: (Pause)…..And then he dunks me?
Mom: (Sighs) No. not yet. Not until you say yes…
Me: (Interrupting) But what if I say no?
She abruptly stops brushing my hair and sternly looks me in the eyes.
Mom: Why on Earth would you say that?!
Me: (Laughing) It sure would shock him! Ha! He wouldn’t see that coming!
Mom: (Angrily) Lindsey!
Me: Okay, geez I’m only kidding!
She stares at me, arms crossed over her chest, looking un-amused.
Me: Soooo…I’ll say yes…and then he’ll dunk me!
Mom: No. Then he’ll say I now baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
Me: (Interrupting yet again) And theeeeen he’ll dunk me!
Mom: Not yet! He’ll ask quietly if you want to hold your nose…
Me: Which I’ll say yes….
Mom: And then….
Me: (excitedly) He’ll dunk me!