My baby got baptized today.  Stood in front of our church in a little purple robe, read his testimony, renounced evil, and got dunked by his daddy.  We gave him a Bible as a gift, and he went to bed clutching it with one hand while clutching his tattered, dirty blanket with the other.

“Now I can go to sleep every night with ‘sweetie’ AND the word of God.”

I stayed in his room and patted him for awhile, wondering at how we’ve managed to raise a bit of zealot.  It’s not like I’m not proud of him or like I’m not grateful that his first response to stress is often prayer.  I’m just surprised.

My first husband died more than ten years ago now.  Ten days later, I delivered our first child stillborn.  And in the biggest surprise of my life, in the midst of all of the pain and sorrow and fear and rage that I felt after Scott and Sarah died, I became a Christian. Watching my son get baptized today, I felt like I did when Zach was born – like Job, whose blessings God had inexplicably restored.  I was struck with a deep sense of gratitude.  And surprise.

Surprised that I occasionally find Ezra in the bathroom praying for friends.  Surprised that I hear him trying to convince his friends that God is real and great.  Surprised that he chastises Zach for not treating God with the reverence Ezra thinks he deserves.  I could do a entire year’s worth of blogging on Ezra’s theological musings and experiences of the Divine.  And the whole thing surprises me.

After all, I grew up thinking of myself as a nice, secular, Jewish-New-Age mutt.  I try to be hip and fit in and make sure that other people feel welcomed into my home and my life despite our crazy love of Jesus. Ezra, on the other hand, is not so worried about other people’s perspectives.  He tells his atheist friends, “Well, of course, you believe in God. Everyone has to believe in God.”  A few more years of homeschooling and he’ll be handing out evangelistic tracts in the middle of Harvard Square.  And I shouldn’t be surprised by that, but I will be.

After a few minutes of my patting, he rolled over and smiled at me, “Thanks so much for this Bible, Mom.  Do you know why it’s so special?”

“Why, buddy?”

“Because it’s made out of leather so even a sword can’t cut into it!”

He may be a surprising little bible thumper, but he still enjoys classifying things by which weapons will most effectively destroy them.  And knowing the testosterone-fest that is my house these days, that doesn’t surprise me at all.

About Tara Edelschick

Right now, Tara is on sabbatical in Costa Rica. She is sleeping more, and exercising and flossing every day for the first time in her life. She is enjoying her husband, her boys, and Nafisa (the daughter she never had) more than she ever has. And she is learning to rest in the arms of the one who doesn't rank you based on how many things you can cross off your list at the end of the day. Follow her on Twitter@TaraWonders.

  • Shannah

    That little guy is adorable :) Mazel Tov, from your still agnostic mutt friend.

  • Sarah

    Tara, I got choked up again reading this a second time–this time I was reading aloud to my mother, with whom I shared your blog because I thought she especially would appreciate your honest and poignant vignettes of parenthood. Please keep writing!