Emily Conley Baker
Sacrament of Baptism
What does Baptism mean to you? This was the question Nick and I were asked last weekend when we had to attend (yet another) baptismal class in order to get Cora baptized. My immediate, sleep deprived, response was “it’s just what we do.” Luckily, I kept this response to myself unlike the others in the class and once my coffee set in, I was able to really pounder this question. For me, the sacrament of baptism is the foundation of faith in which we give our children. Along with this foundation, our children get a sense of community; a community that they can turn to with their joys and in their struggles.
When I think of the sacrament of baptism and the idea of one’s faith I envision the tree of life. We all know that roots are the strongest part of the tree, it is what helps the tree stand strong as storms pass through and because of these strong roots the tree is able to grow and develop into something beautiful.
I truly thank God everyday for my strong roots that my parents started when blessing me with the sacrament of baptism. As a result of these strong roots I have been blessed with a sense of stability when the many storms of life have passed through. As a mother, I feel this is a fundamental aspect of spirituality regardless of what church denomination you may belong to. Additionally, I feel that this is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.
After my dad passed in January I turned into my faith. Prior to January, I truly thought I was grounded and was living my best faith-filled life. I was proud of the fact that Nick and I made our faith present in our home and in our children’s life. One day I went to daily mass and afterwards was chatting with our priest, Father Michael. Father Michael said something to me that day that I would have never guessed would have been so fundamental but yet so important to my grieving. He said that the death of a parent would send you on a faith journey of a lifetime. This unpredictable faith journey has been so imperative to my grieving and healing, and I truly know that it would not have been possible if my parents had not instilled the foundation of faith with the sacrament of baptism.
Because of this faith journey I have really been able to lean into the little signs that God gives us daily that our loved ones are around us. Since my dad’s passing in January I had been dreading Father’s Day, and weeks later it still brings tears to my eyes to think about the new normal of Father’s Day without the phone calls and without the physical presence of my father’s love. Needless to say when our priest informed us that Cora would be baptized on Father’s Day I was somewhat taken aback because I felt that this was God’s way of letting me know everything was going to be okay and that in my grief of my father and not having him on Father’s Day there would be so much light with the baptism of Cora. Father's Day signified something much greater for me. It was a beautiful, powerful reminder of my faith coming full circle; I had the pain of the reality of my father's physical death but with the witnessing of Cora's baptism I was about to give my child the same blessed sacrament that ultimately carries me though each and every day without my dad, the spiritual birth of our precious Cora Jo.