(I’m posting twice today for two reasons: first, I haven’t written in a very long time. I am so sorry. Second, I think Maren would hunt me down if I didn’t finish that last story. Smile.)
So, the five of us are sitting at Noodles and I’m a freak show. At our table, Elder C is sitting to my right. Elder P is across from Elder C. Elder J is across from me and to the right of Elder P. Elder N is to the right of Elder J. Now, who’s on first?
Elder Noriega, Elder Cox, Elder Patterson, and Elder Jensen in what might be the goofiest picture of four men I’ve ever seen.
Over dinner, we talked about our day. Since the ice skating social was cancelled, I opted to roam a book store and to read. I think the Elders helped move someone. For most of the conversation, I was in a different world. I wanted to tell them, but I didn’t know how to start or what to say. Having intentionally cut MoBoy out of the equation for so long, I knew I couldn’t just say, “I’m getting baptized in two weeks. Hope you can be there!” Like Lucy, I’d have some ‘splainin’ to do.
After about 30 minutes of not paying attention to the conversation, I looked at Elder J (sitting across from me) and signed to him as quietly and in as little space as I possibly could manage. “I need to tell you something.” I thought, if I told Elder J, maybe he could announce it to the table. Instead, he slapped everyone and made it clear to everyone that, “HEY, LADYMO WANTS TO TELL US SOMETHING!”
They were all looking at me. And the spinning started again.
I looked up at the ceiling. I didn’t know how to start or what to say or how any of them would react. I was fumbling and stumbling. Since half of the people at the table were deaf, I was stuttering in sign language. So, with my eyes glued to the ceiling, I just spilled it. “I’m getting baptized January 29.”
To say they were shocked it to say very little about their reaction. Elder C’s jaw dropped. Elder P knocked his water off the table and had a big fat “I told you so” grin on his face. Elder J was bouncing and clapping in his seat. Elder N giggled and grinned. None of them had the benefit of a backstory, so every single one of them was baffled. Except maybe Elder P. I think he knew it was going to happen, whether I was interested or not.
I looked at Elder C for .. anything. I wasn’t confident or excited about my decision, even though I knew it was the right one. But I needed a reaction from him. I needed him to tell me that this was a good thing. He had been with me from the start and I needed him to say anything.
“I… wow. I just need… I need a few minutes. I need to think about some things.”
Well, it wasn’t the reaction I was looking for, but it was something.
There was a lot of fumbling and questions and trying to explain myself. I decided to just shut up. Elder C looked at me and said that a lot of questions had just been answered in a very very short amount of time and it was a little overwhelming. He used one of my new favorite words when discussing my conversion: dislocated. It’s not a bad thing, really. It’s just a weird feeling to feel like you’re in one place, but really you’re in another. Maybe that makes sense, but it’s how we felt.
Elder C told me that he prayed about this for a very long time. He told me that, in all honesty, he tried to drop the conversations with me because he didn’t think it was going anywhere. In his defense, neither did I. He told me that over and over and over and over and over again, Heavenly Father reassured him that I would figure this out and that he just needed to be patient. Elder C doubted this was true. I felt awful that I gave him any reason to doubt an answer to his prayers.
I had to begin to explain myself. I didn’t know where to start and I knew I had to leave a lot out. For the sake of his mission, I didn’t want to tell MoBoy about any MoFeelings (that’s for you, Natalie H). I figured I could fill him in when he wasn’t so much a missionary. I told the Elders about the “The Night at the Catholic Church,” and that I was basing this decision largely on the very fragile testimony I had that God was real and knew who I was. This kind of decision making, I assured them, was not my style. I told them that I didn’t fully understand the reason I decided to be baptized, only that I knew I had to be. As far as explanations go, this one sucked. But at the time, it’s all I could tell them.
The rest of dinner was a blur. We wrapped up and left Noodles and Company. When we got outside, MoBoy and I stood at my car and I told him that I needed him to baptize me. At first, I wondered if this request was coming from a “MoFeelings” place, but somehow I knew that it was coming from a “you’ve stuck with me this whole time even when we both wanted to give up” place.
I suppose that’s the more delicate way of saying, “You started this. You’re going to finish it.”
He said yes.
So much love,