During the ceremony, my four-year-old looked up and whispered, her eyes sparkling, "I like this mommy, but..." Her mouth turned serious, "I can't get bath-tized."
I have no expectation that she make a life-long commitment to anything (or anyone) until she is at least 45. I considered telling her she couldn't get married either, but since I never want my children to feel inhibited in anyway I responded logically instead.
"Why not, sweetie?" I asked, stroking the peach-fuzz on her sweet, little arm.
"Well, because I don't want to go under the water."
Ah. The preschool mind revealed yet again.
But she's right. One can not experience full-immersion (being dunked, not drizzled) baptism if one does not want to go all the way under the water. In my maternal interpretation: she's not ready. In my experience: she will know when she is. And I'm not talking about making a commitment to follow Jesus, I'm simply talking about literally putting her entire head in the pool.
Doctrine, faith, even spirituality aside, I believe we are all "bath-tized" throughout our lives. Anytime we know we are ready for that next pivotal thing and we go ahead and take the plunge, we are made new.
Now, I am not talking about the tinier things in life like how I knew today that I was desperately ready for a new drain board because the one I had was nine years old, I never liked it in the first place and it was covered in permanent crud completely unacceptable for freshly washed dishes.
I am talking more along the lines of changing jobs or careers, reaching out to an estranged family member, embracing a new hobby or removing those proverbial training wheels you have been relying on for too long.
I just wrote an essay in which I describe the bravest thing I have ever done. At that time in my life I felt weak and scared. But, I felt ready. I knew deep down in my belly button that my circumstances were convicting me to change. And thankfully, I was given the strength to take the risk.
When my daughter is ready to put her head completely under the water, she will know. She will feel hesitant, but she will take the risk regardless. And it will change her. The entire pool with begin to open up for her. She will be made new.
As the service concluded, the sun inched further behind the trees and the older kids inched closer to the water's edge. The air had been refreshed. And after only a simple phrase, "the pool in now open" the patient children of our church jumped in to celebrate.