Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Take Me To The Water
The year was 1976, and I had completed my required new member classes at church. For some reason, I was more interested in how long I would have to stay underwater as opposed to learning stuff that had already been discussed in Sunday School. The pastor, the Reverend Doctor Grady W. Powell, Sr., who is well known throughout the region, stated that it will last for only a few short seconds - much to my relief. "I can handle that," I said to myself.
Weeks later, baptism day had arrived. It was a cloudy February morning at 9:00 a.m. Mom, Dad, my sister, grandparents and other relatives were all in attendance. I was dressed in my required white shirt, white slacks and white socks. If one didn't know any better, they would have thought that I was "Gabriel the Archangel". The only things missing were my halo and wings. Some people may say that I was missing my horns, pitchfork and tail. However, that is another blog post.
Patiently waiting for my turn to confess the Lord as my Savior and wash my sins away (all two of them); I heard the choir sing a very moving hymn, "Take Me To The Water To Be Baptized." Now, folding my hands in the prayer position and descending into the very warm pool; Reverend Powell folded my arms across my chest.
He asked in a voice that could be heard throughout the sanctuary, "Do you Charles, confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?"
"Yes," was my reply.
"I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," he stated while immersing me into the warm and comfortable water.
Beneath the water, I thought, "One one thousand, two one thousand...I should be coming up by now...three one thousand...four one thousand. How long is Reverend Powell gonna keep me under this water? Now, I know he's not shaking me like he's trying to wash me clean!....Five one thousand...six one thousand...oh, I'm coming up! Oh, thank God. We're done! That was longer than a few short seconds."
Returning to dry land and catching my breath, the choir continued with its rendition of "Take Me To The Water To Be Baptized" as Dad led me to the changing room. If I had known that I would have to stay submerged that long; I probably would have joined the Episcopal church around the corner - at least they just sprinkle you with water.
Later that day, Mom had baked a turkey with all the trimmings. It seemed like all of my living relatives at that time had arrived at our house to eat and celebrate my baptism. Mom and Dad had presented me the Holy Bible as a gift, and they wanted to share one more surprise.
"What's the other surprise? Ya'll didn't have to do anything else," I offered.
"Oh, we wanted to!" Mom said.
"Well, what is it?" I asked.
"Swim lessons at the YMCA," Dad said with delight.
"WHAT??? Swim lessons???? After what I just went through getting baptized! Reverend Powell just tried to drown me! And the two of you want me to take swim lessons?? Hell No! Ain't! Make me! I wish y'all would!" I thought to myself - of course. Regaining my mental faculties, I offered, "The two of you really didn't have to do that. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Mom and Dad replied in unison.
I thought, "My life is ruined."
One year later, Mom and Dad began to wonder why I refuse to put my head in the water during swim lessons. Go figure.
Until next week - Keep praising His name.
(Check out my photo blog at http://www.ccl3.blogspot.com/. My novels are available at http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee.)