I have had ten days to think about it since our baptism weekend, and now feel ready to write my post about the experience. In between was Mother's Day weekend, in which my two granddaughters chose to spend the day with me and we had wonderful 'girl time'. Given that the baptism weekend has taken on sacred qualities for me and my husband, I will give only the outline, and probably won't begin to try to capture the depth of emotion.
My husband and his two brothers have been somewhat estranged over the years of our marriage. In my assessment, partially for their own familial 'brother' kinds of family relationships, inherent in all families. The baptism served well to bring them together to forge new relationships going forward. Both brothers, by choice, wanted to travel from Utah to our home in Washington (state) to witness our baptisms. Taking it a step further they offered to perform the baptisms. One brother (former ward bishop) baptized husband, and the other brother (in a bishopric) baptized me. I have had my own falling out with the younger brother over a strong difference of opinion which has lasted over the years, making his performing of my baptism all the more significant. This is the same brother who is musically talented, has played the piano all his life, and he performed the music for us that day. His especially soulful rendition of the song we chose for my husband 'Consider the Lilies' was so personal between them, for all of us, and the impact was felt by all in attendance.
Having family as guests in our home over that weekend was a treasure. Although our house is not well configured to be much accommodating to overnight guests, it was still a quite successful weekend. They were accommodating to the restricted geographical circumstances of our home and I applaud them for their willingness to make the best of the situation. We had traveled north to pick up my mother from Tacoma a day earlier, and she occupied the one guest room in the house, and family made do with air mattress and couch in the living room. Friday night we were getting tucked in when the electricity went out (happens sometimes here, fortunately not so often). That added to the 'camping out' feeling that already existed with the camping out sleeping arrangements, except made a tad more challenging getting it set up in candlelight.
Saturday, April 30, 2011, day of our baptism, and we knew to expect some of his cousins who wanted also to be there to witness the baptism. My son and his lady were coming, and my husband's daughter was also coming. In a suprise announcement, our niece, a mother of four little ones, was able with help of her family 'move mountains' to make the trip from Utah. I was planning to prepare a meal for all our guests after the baptism, and the head count started at one number and kept growing. It was exciting and challenging all at the same time. We had eighteen of our family at the baptism and to our home afterwards for dinner. Travelers from Utah, Portland, Oregon, Woodland, WA, and most all were heading out that night, either back the same night to their homes or to a stopover location. Earlier in the day, my sister-in-law suggested a walk and she took photos of interest points in our quaint little community. Appreciating the walk with her as it was rather calming for me.
Sunday, May 1, 2011, day of our confirmation. We went to the Sacrament meeting at our Ward, knowing the confirmations had been planned. With family having performed the baptisms the day before, the Bishop wanted the confirmations to join us to the Ward family, and while respecting it was our choosing as to who would be 'the voice' in stating the confirmations, we had agreed to having a long time elderly member of the Ward speak the words. I really did want the young missionary who has been with us from the start to have a more active role in my confirmation, and I also understood the symbolism of having a Ward member say the words. The confirmations were done, including the young missionary, husband's two brothers, the Bishop, and the elderly member of the Ward. It felt inclusive, covering all the bases, personal, family, missionary and Ward.
It happened to be what is called Fast and Testimony Meeting Sunday, whereby members who feel compelled can have time at the podium to share their faith experience. Knowing how emotional it already was for us, and not likely either of us would be able to get more than a few words out should we choose to share our feelings, it still seemed an opportune time to me for my husband to speak given that his brothers were in attendance and we would not likely see them again in that capacity. Dear husband did decide to try, and words were lost to him, he delivered a sense of his feelings by performing one of his beloved piano hymns, one that he had played upon the return of his mission all those decades earlier in the brother's lives together.
It was a quite moving way to give expression when words won't come.
His brother followed up giving a powerful sharing of his feelings, in which he included what he knows of me in what he shared, catching me by surprise, the singular stand out thing for me he said was acknowledging my personal spirituality. I will hold onto the content of what he said that Sunday for many years to come. A few other people came up to share their experiences, and by then his other brother was seated, waiting his turn to share his thoughts, but the clock was ticking and had ticked away the time by the time his turn came, and I don't know this to be factual, but I believe he abbreviated his talk, probably changed the topic as well. But it is good; enough sustaining emotion had passed that weekend and may blessings abound.