I just gotta get this off my chest.
Yesterday was my daughter Kami's baptism. I was so excited for her. Heidi and I were pumped to be able to baptize her together. Family was in town. The stage was set for something really amazing.
But then something happened inside me that I can't explain even with a good night of sleep under my belt and some time to process yesterday's emotions. As I was sitting there in the service waiting for the baptism, I made a determination that I would not cry so as to not steal away the moment from Kami and turn the focus upon me. A decision I now regret because I spent most of my mental energy trying not to cry and used up the energy that helps you be normal.
The baptism came and I struggled to be normal. I couldn't talk sensibly. My brain was spinning around in circles and I couldn't frame what I wanted to say. Here is my daughter sitting in the baptismal tank and I'm lost for words. I communicate as a profession...and I'm sitting there stupefied in a moment of paralyzed pathos.
My tongue wouldn't work, like a nightmare where you're trying to run from your pursuers and your legs feel like molten lead. My tongue felt swollen and palsy. My brain runny and restless. Kami was looking at me and it felt like her eyes were saying, "Dad, why are you ruining my baptism with your incompetence?" I know she wasn't, but it's hard for me to not feel that. I was a "no show" and it was my eldest daughters baptism. Of all times to go limp.
I started talking and said something that didn't relate to the next thing I said that couldn't have been further from the context of the next thing I said. Nothing meshed together. Nothing made sense. To make matters worse I dove into a conversation Kami and I had about sex on the way home the other night. It really did have a point, but after I led out with a couple sentences, I forgot what that point was until later in the day. Thus, it just felt like I interjected two sex comments into a baptism moment for no apparent reason. I wanted to share how much I loved her inquisitive heart and how I loved our deep conversations spurred on by her questions. I wanted to affirm the richness of her heart and how proud I am that she cares so deeply about weighty things.
Instead of that, I uttered detached logic strung together with nonsensical words leading to a feeling of "what the heck is my deal" filling my whole being. After botching the whole baptism, we proceeded to dunk her and as she came up out of the water and we moved out of the tank for others to occupy, I just felt like I wanted to go somewhere lonely to hide myself away. I wanted to cry...I was crying inside. I felt like I got ambushed. And my daughter paid for my idiotic showing.
I was struggling, for some reason, with being a pastor and a daddy. The two roles don't often seem different to me, but they did during this baptism. I was wrestling with performance anxiety. I was overthinking. I was overstrategizing. I was overfeeling. I was overwhelmed with a fantasy world inside my head. And I couldn't break free from that. I tried and I couldn't.
I'm sure more could be said. I feel terrible for my daughter.
I went out with her for breakfast before school today. It was more for me than for her. I just needed to feel close to her and to talk to her about how I felt. I actually apologized to her for not saying all that I wanted to say to her in that moment. She probably wasn't listening anyway...but like I said, I just needed to say it for my own heart's sake. I told her this morning what I really felt yesterday about her decision to follow God in baptism.
Man, I wish I could go back and get my poop in a group. But life is such that you have to go on and make the best with what you got.I just can't shake this abiding feeling of disappointment in myself and sorrow for my daughter. I know, I'm messed up