Saturday, March 12, 2016

Day 28: Saturday: Humility

I had opened a closed wood-slatted gate so we could drive the black Ford across the pasture to be as close as possible to the creek. Oscar waved off our offers to help him out of the car. He instead sat there in the back seat, naked as a jaybird. This surprised me. I hadn’t really given much thought to how the ritual might evolve, but when Oscar without the slightest hesitation undressed himself all the way down to the nubbins I confess: I was surprised. And when I looked at the preacher to catch his reaction my surprised doubled: he too was naked, and before I could say anything—not that I had anything to say—he had turned and was headed for the water …
    As I took off my clothes I watched Oscar maneuver himself out of the car and move crablike toward the hole the minister had found for the immersion … it is difficult for me to say precisely how I felt. There in a pocket of Shannon’s Creek, up to his knees in a pool of clean clear flowing water, stood an obese man of God, a married man who had no children because his stones had not formed correctly or completely, and moving towards him was Oscar the beloved crab, and viewing it all was a young incorrigible whose midsection, free of its shirt and its shorts, was as white as the underbelly of a channel catfish.
    Humility. Until a better word happens along, I’ll settle for—humility. I believe that for the first time in my life I knew a moment of absolute humility, and that moment is a touchstone against which I have since measured all humilities.

What were the dominant emotions at your baptism? Humility? Euphoria? Relief? Obedience? Fear? Gratitude? Something else? Reflect on what these emotions tell you about yourself, and about your understanding of God.

This Death by Drowning
Reading from William Kloefkorn This Death by Drowning (Lincoln, NE/London: University of Nebraska Press, 2001), 76.

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