How do you define your identity as a human being? Is it a matter of gender, or of being a certain age? Having a particular profession? Are you defined by your actions and achievements? Your family and friends? Their expectations, or your own dreams?
At church Sunday, the topic was baptism, and the text was Matthew’s account of John baptizing Jesus. Reverend Renée said that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized, because He had a perfect relationship with the Father and He had no sin; therefore Jesus had no need for repentance. However, by coming to the river with those who were looking for healing, renewal and grace, Jesus participated with them in their pain and their need, and in so doing, discovered who He was. Reverend Renée hypothesized that without the baptism, there might have been no ministry, no atonement, and no resurrection.
I like her idea that “we discover who we are in community.” That’s definitely true of creative people, which is why I need the Writers Coffeehouse, the Huachuca Arts Association open studio, the monthly open mic reading at Broxton’s and my critique groups. I don’t just learn craft there; I also learn who I am.
But I don't want to be like Ernest Hemingway, with his self-destructive impulses and his inability to continue living when he could no longer write. I cannot simply define myself as a writer, or an artist; I am more than what I do, or how well I do it.
Sunday, we came, one by one, but also as a congregation, to dip our fingers into a bowl of water and choose a glass pebble. "Remember your baptism, Tina" Reverend Renée said, and I picked a smooth, blood-red piece of glass that was practically glowing in the sunlight.
"Put this where you can see it," she told us all. And I have, because I want to remember that I am part of something much larger than myself, and that we are all figuring things out together. I am loved, and I do not have to walk alone.
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