I’ve been waiting for this day for a long, long time.
The first official declaration of my intent to become a full-blown, regular Papist.
Standing in the back of the vestibule, gathered around the baptismal font, I stared down the aisle, and up at Our Lord. I expected to feel overwhelming joy, excitement, or nervousness – but all I felt was an absolute peace. An emptiness. Silence. But not darkness.
I was content.
An entire year that contained almost all of the most dramatic ups and downs of my life, and much more time than that mulling over the possibility that maybe – just maybe – there was something more to this Catholic Church. It was all about to end, in ten or twenty short minutes.
Families entered the sanctuary, little toddlers performed macarena-style Holy Water dances (with utter and complete piety), my dear friend Becca hugged me and promised her prayers, Kimberlie took her place in the church, Eli squeezed my hand, and I simply stood there. Silent.
And in that moment, I found sadness. It was a moment of farewell. I was about to offer the beginning of my yes, and I was shutting the door to my past behind me. I was being accepted and welcomed, but leaving my home behind. I was reminded of when I was packing to leave for college for the very first time. I was excited about what was ahead of me, but I was heartbroken over what I was leaving behind. I knew it wouldn’t ever be the same again. It was a good and necessary thing, but the growing pains were rough. And there, around the holy water, I felt the same thing. I knew that what was coming was good and beautiful and right. But that moment of farewell was painful.
But walking down that aisle, with Kimberlie’s hand on my back, and the welcoming smiles of the Faithful greeting all of us entering that day, I knew that I wasn’t forsaking one for the other. I was simply entering the Fullness of the home I’d found first.
And in that moment? I found joy.