The Baptism from HELL
I don’t mean to be blasphemes, but I am sure that all you parents out there with “difficult” children can understand what kind of hell we live with from time to time. Most of the time raising children is heavenly, or at least like purgatory. However,sometimes there are those moments when it is just plain hell!
Our son, Steven, was adopted at the age of 3 after living with us since birth. He was born addicted to heroin and cocaine, to a mom who was an alcoholic and, (GASP) cigarette smoker. Although we loved his cute little face very much, the rest of him left much to be desired. He was hypersensitive to sound, touch, smell, noise and any little thing that altered the peace in his little world. Even as a 6 month old he would bang his head on the highchair if he was “stressed”. He needed a strictly consistent schedule with no tags in his shirts and no loud noise from the tv. We altered our life to fit his needs and things were fine, for the most part.
Then came his Baptism day. First off, it was a change in his schedule, something his 3 year old body did NOT appreciate. THEN, he had to get dressed up. I remember thinking he’d never wear a suit and tie, or even a tie for that matter, so I managed to buy a nice pants/sweater outfit. Unaccustomed to wearing sweaters, his body squirmed in this outfit. Our church had arranged for a private ceremony, understanding Steven would not be able to be baptized during a regular church service. We used the little chapel so as to cut down on the anxiety he would feel in the huge church. His dad carried him to the altar with Steven’s head buried in his chest. My husband, myself, our older son Francis and daughter Dinora stood by with Pastor Lorraine to begin the baptism. Steven looked up and saw the baptismal water. “OOOOOOOH NO!!!!!!” he screeched. “You’re not going to put that water on ME!!!!!!” (He also had a fear of water I’d forgotten to mention…) He jumped down from my husband’s arms, crawled on the ground, and crawled into the first dark, quiet place he could find…under Pastor Lorraine’s vestments! There he was, under her vestments which were over her dress…I was MORTIFIED, (thus the “HELL” part!) She, however, as the parent of three rambunctious kids, thought it was funny. (God bless her!!) She felt down for where his head was and she calmly proceeded with the baptism. (Fortunately, you could see his head clearly outlined in her vestments.) She did the whole ceremony with him completely covered. I had a camera to document this momentous occasion, but was at loss of what to take a picture of! When is it over, his dad gently dragged him out and home we went. For any other child, a celebration would have been in order, but for Steven, it was home to his usual routine. Same day as any other day.
PS. I obviously didn’t learn from this experience as we attempted first communion for him. At the age of 12, he met with our pastor for one-on-one communion classes as he was unable to participate in the standard classes. He was then to join the other children on “First Communion Day”. When the pastor called out his name, he promptly crawled underneath the pew, and curled into a tight little ball, where he stayed for the rest of the service…