This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors – Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith:
Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that’s a little sloppy because at the same time it’s also holy, and absurd. It’s about surrender, giving in to all those things we can’t control; it’s a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched.
Much of my life lately has been presenting numerous opportunities (whether I like it or not) to give in to those things I can’t control…to get drenched. And as much as I’ve dreaded it, this letting go, this getting wet, it has been amazingly refreshing, cleansing, and freeing.
How early in life do we begin to understand that we are to not be sloppy; that we are to maintain order and decorum; that silliness and play are not the priorities?
My daughters, now 8 and 10, know these rules and, undoubtedly, unwittingly, have learned them from me. I wonder how I might un-teach those – for them and for me? I can already feel my anxiety mount: I’d have to let go and get drenched even more!
My own sense of control (whether real or imagined) is not contained solely within myself. It expands to those over whom I have influence.
In fact, perhaps the more out-of-control I feel, the more I demand it of others. “Clean your room.” “Don’t make a mess.” “Can you please chew over your plate, not the floor?!” “No, we’re not going to turn on the sprinkler. You’d get soaked!” Even typing these examples I can feel their dryness, their rigidity, their grasping for the illusion that my world is working the way I want it to. They are, as Lamott says, our proclivity toward staying dry, looking good, not going under. I need to lose control – of more, and more often!
In the midst of my musings, I’m struck by God’s chosen lack-of-control over us, the absurdity of it, and the freedom it allows and invites.
Truly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I need to turn on some sprinklers and get drenched…with my daughters by my side.