Dreaming in Color

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Child of God

I just had the most moving, humbling conversation with Bean's primary Pastor, Charlene, from St. Vincent's.  I called Charlene because I needed clarification on some things.  I want to have Bean Baptized very badly but I had wondered if he had already been Baptized.  The night before his first surgery I requested a priest to come to his bedside in the NICU to pray over him.  Father Tony arrived and blessed Bean.  He also came the next morning immediately before Bean was being wheeled back into the OR and he used Holy water and said the things that I have heard priests say on TV when someone is being Baptized or doing an exorcism (I know, I know, my theological cup of knowledge clearly does not runneth over...).

I also was unclear if a church would agree to Baptize a child whose parents were not nor had ever been married. I tried Googling the answers to these questions but came up empty-handed.  So I called Charlene. I first met Charlene when I was still an in-patient after Bean was born.  She came to my room in Post-partum and her wise and gentle nature won my trust immediately.  No small feat then, as I was on Magnesium Sulfate which can make people a bit crabby and I had a few "personality differences" with one or two of the nurses and doctors that waltzed into my room, so I was SUPER defensive and NOT receptive to anyone new. I've been fortunate enough to see her during our visits to the NICU, as she is there a lot...

So, we spoke and she told me that it may very well have been a Baptism that Robert received the morning of his first surgery but she was unable to bring up his file in the computer to verify it.  She asked me if we were connected to a church and I said no but I was planning on trying a new one this Sunday.  She suggested I speak to a priest there and inquire about them Baptizing Bean.  She said if they were not willing to do it to call her back.  I asked why someone would deny a child a Baptism and she explained to me that there are two ways to look at a Baptisim: One, it is a person's acknowledgment that Christ is their Savior and it is a public committment to a relationship with God, in front of those who support and nurture this relationship, i.e. the church congregation (I'm, thinking this is where the term "in front of God and every body" came from...?).  For a child it is acknowledging that it is your intention as the caregivever of this child to have them raised knowing God as their Savior and to instill in them the values of a Christian life and to foster and nurture their relationship with God.  This too, is meant to be a public commitment with your church so that, as Charlene put it, "the church is reassured that you arent just making a one-stop trip to have this [Baptism] done and then you don't do anything with it after."  Basically, they want you to be fully committed which is why they want you to involve yourself BEFORE to ensure that you continue to be involved AFTER.  She explained it waaaaaaayyyyy better than I just did but it totally made sense to me and motivated me very much to start going to church again.

Charlene said also, that in a way, Bean already was Baptized.  With all of the blessings, prayers and love that he received and with the fact that he just exudes this life force and energy, he proves to everyone that he is so full of life.  That made me feel better.  She said that he has touched so many lives and had such a profound effect on those who cared for him that his story will be told for a long time.  She called it "The Legend of The Bean." :)  I told her that I hoped his story brought other moms hope.  She said it did and that (real quick, I brought in a Valentine for the NICU with Bean's pictures and a quick synopsis of everything he went through and how awesome he is doing now, with a message at the end that read "Keep the faith, miracles do happen") the Valentine was read by one mother who was very moved by it and it did give her hope.  That was so incredibly humbling to hear that.  I told Charlene that all I ever wanted when Bean was so sick was hope.  I desperately craved someone to just tell me, "He's going to be ok," even if I knew they couldn't guarantee it, my sanity often hinged on whether or not I heard those five words.  That is where I received my hope in the darkest of hours. 

Charlene told me she was going to look further into the records to see if a Baptism was documented and that she would call me back.  Father Tony is no longer at St. Vincent's but he, Charlene, Laura (Bean's harp player), Skip and the rest of the Pastoral team at St. Vincent's are truly blessings and helped restore and preserve my faith in God  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I love you all.

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