I was baptized just over 20 years ago in the immersion tank at South Baptist Church. What I remember most are the sounds. The sound the water made when I waded down the stairs, the sound all muffled as I was dunked under, and most of all, the sound the water made as I was raised up again. There was something fresh and new about it—a whole new life possible with the resurrection promise of the water falling off me.
So now with a whole new life before me in our move, I remember my baptism and wonder … how easy is it really to believe in “newness of life”? Taken out of all that is familiar, will it be easier to re-imagine myself, to rid myself of old habits and ruts in my thinking and truly be able to live with wholeness and creativity? Or will all those things that have imprinted themselves into my very being cling stubbornly to my skin no matter how far away I move, no matter many times the water of new life cascades over me?
Maybe what I need is baptism every day again. At the start of each morning, someone could take me out to a lake or pool and dunk me under the water, saying, “Buried in the likeness of his death; raised in the likeness of his resurrection.” And I could hear that sound of water falling away and be shocked enough out of all that pulls me toward lethargy and status quo and despair to believe again in a new way. To trust that no matter how slowly, those ruts in my mind can begin to “fill in” with more positive ways of thinking, that even if only imperceptibly, I may be able to inch closer toward who I am meant to be.
It’s hard to believe in “newness of life.” And I have no doubt that it will take something as dramatic as a lake full of water in my face to help me try.