Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keeping My Mouth Shut

I am writing this because I need to keep my mouth shut.

I remember baptizing this little boy who died, marking his forehead with the sign of the cross. "Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever." I remember his bright blue eyes, the way he was one of the first children I ever made real eye contact with as they were baptized--believing, knowing, he looked into my eyes as I said these words to him. I remember when he was diagnosed and telling his mom that I didn't know what to say, but if there was anything I could do--come over and wash dishes even--I would. I read his website faithfully, trying to be connected when he did not get out of the house much and the family had supports beside us for actual visits. (Though we talked regularly with the parents.) I have felt more than once that I was to be here to do his funeral--most strongly felt that when I was discerning whether or not to move 2ish years ago.

And now, I will be involved in the funeral, but not preaching. And I began to question, was I really not the one who poured the baptismal waters? Am I thinking of the wrong little boy? But my pastoral reports indeed say that I presided at this baptism. According to senior pastor, he's preaching because he presided at the baptism. And I wonder--did that come from him or the family? If they remember him, fine. But if he doesn't remember....

I obviously would never say something to the family. Losing your 6 year old son is more than enough grief. I want to say something to senior pastor, but what good would it do? So, I'm keeping my mouth shut. I will do my best at the funeral and I will do my best to love the family.

God claimed this little boy in the waters anyway--I was just the hands; it could have be any hands. And now God has claimed this little boy again--for all eternity. I've got to get out of the way.


Songbird said...

If you have an exit interview or conversation with your colleague, I hope you will tell him about this. You are right not to make an issue with the family, but he needs to know he erased you, whether or not it was intentional.

Sarah S-D said...

silent, this is so hard. all of it. songbird has a good point. blessings as you navigate many layers of grief.

thanks be to God for that strong memory of baptism you have. thanks be to God for God's claim on that child's life.