I was raised in a Christian home, but my parents did not have me baptized as a child; they believed it should be my decision later on as to what faith I wanted to follow. I never thought much about it in my younger years and in my "demon days", God wasn't even part of my vocabulary ... I was too interested in partying and doing my own thing.
In 1977, my parents and sister were attending a Methodist church in my home town, and my sister decided she wanted to get baptized. I was twenty-four and lived on the other side of the state, but they wanted it to be a family affair. They asked me to be baptized with my sister ... secretly hoping it might somehow change my evil ways.
I reluctantly packed my bags and took the three-hour trip on a Friday night. The baptism wasn't until Sunday so I had all day Saturday to do whatever I wanted. I decided to attend an intramural baseball game sponsored by my previous employer, which gave me a chance to catch up with old friends. I was busy chatting during the game and all of a sudden my ears started ringing and people screamed. I saw blood flowing, and I thought I had a nosebleed. The bat had slipped out of the batter's hand, into the bleachers and onto my forehead. It didn't knock me out (hard headed aren't I?) but my skull was fractured in four places, I had a subdural hematoma and needed twenty-eight stitches across my forehead. My parents were told not to get their hopes up for me making it through the night, and that if I did make it there was no guarantee of a full recovery. While they were stitching me up, mom and dad were at my bedside. Remembering the upcoming baptism, I looked at both of them and said, "See, God doesn't want me."
I believed that statement for years after the accident, and it wasn't until I sobered up and started on my wonderful faith journey that I realized how wrong I was. I was too self-absorbed back then to see that He did want me. Otherwise, I would not have survived the accident, let alone my wanton lifestyle, and I would not have learned the valuable lessons still ahead of me.
I consider the accident a blessing in disguise. Although God did want me, I didn't want Him. The baptism would have been a farce; just something to make my family happy. I would have entered the water with a closed heart and mind then get in my car and return to my self-destructive ways. I would not have appreciated the significance of the sacrament, in fact, I would have forgotten about it the next day.
It took a few more years of lessons learned, but in 2006 I was baptized in the Catholic church. Not only did I appreciate the significance, I entered the water with an open heart and mind, I felt His presence, heard His invitation and joyfully welcomed Him into my life.
|This was a week after|
the accident. The smile
|But look at this smile! My baptism ~ 4/15/2006|