As a baby, I was baptized then raised in the Lutheran church. I spent Sundays in Sunday school, learning the stories and creating my own narrative of Jesus. Then in later years, I would take my turn as a Sunday school teacher, passing along the stories, and teaching the amazing grace that I had come to know. Music was always a large part of church as well, and I have countless memories of singing by my mother’s side in front of a familiar congregation. Many of my church memories involve passing notes and drawings to my little brother, being shushed by my mother, while listening to my father’s sermons and counting the minutes until the potluck in the fellowship hall (Lutherans know how to make a casserole). My dad used to tell me things like “Each variation of Christianity is like a flavor of ice cream. Catholics may be chocolate. Lutherans are vanilla. Baptists may be strawberry. But at the end of the day, we are all ice cream.” I remember Christmas as the best part of church. Poinsettias greeted you at the door, lighting the first Advent candle, rehearsals began for the Christmas pageant, hymns on Sunday were often carols, and of course the candle light service was magical. But as an adult, I have drifted from the church and wrestled with ideas of theology and the traditional church structure. It would be an easy cop out to say that the reason my wife and I haven’t found a church yet is because it is so tiresome to vet a place and feel out their position on a lesbian family joining their congregation. And while that is always a factor, the bigger reason is that we have one day together in the whole week and rather than juggle a baby’s nap schedule (also how do you keep a baby occupied in church?!?) and spend two of our precious twelve hours of togetherness, we have decided not to search out a church at this time. In fact, my biggest church dream is to host a home church when Lucas is older. Maybe by the time he’s two. But this is a subject for another post. Back on track.
This past Sunday, we baptized our son. It was an intimate gathering with just a few close friends and family at one of our favorite spots, the Les Davis Pier. We met at mid morning, while fishermen were still casting their lines. Our cousins agreed to be godparents, and it makes me so joyful just thinking about it (Lucas won the godparent Lotto). My father is retired from the church, but I begged him to do the baptism. I had forgotten how he always loved putting together the church programs, and was so pleasantly surprised to see that he had designed some for the ceremony. I was flooded with nostalgia. The whole thing was lovingly thought out, from the song my father led on the guitar, to the weather-proof candle he had prepared to guard from the wind. In Hawaii, we used a large shell as the baptismal font. Finding one difficult to track down, I made one out of porcelain.
Earlier this week I confided in a friend that I found myself wondering “Why is it so important to me that my son be baptized?” I don’t stay up at night worrying that his mortal soul will be in danger if we chose not to do it. We don’t even currently belong to a church. Then she gave me some insight that was enough to put my mind at ease. “That’s what Scandis do! (referencing my Scandinavian heritage) They baptize the babies!” We talked about how sometimes, you don’t need to have some huge religious conviction about it. And that the fact that for generations, Hustofts have been baptized and raised in the Lutheran church, is a fair reason. She eased my mind in saying, “You have this tradition that has been passed down. It means something to you. So do it.”
I think this is the only shot of his outfit that we got ALL DAY. What a wiggle worm.
Mama, Poppie (reading out of great grandpa’s bible), and Grandma Myrna.
Here’s a glimpse at the porcelain bowl I made. An ode to a seashell.
My nephew, Holden, kept placing his hand on my shoulder. It made me laugh every time.
Our dear friend Alex agreed to take these pictures. Didn’t he do a great job? Also, he has my lens cap in his shirt pocket.
Off to brunch!