Tuesday, December 1, 2009

an offer I couldn't refuse

A few weeks ago, my best friend from high school called me and asked if I would be willing to be godfather for his daughter. I was kind of shocked at first; partly because I know he's not religious, partly because he knows that I'm not religious, and partly because I don't think I'm the obvious choice to be responsible for anyone else's spiritual well being. Yes, yoga and all that, but I don't even really believe in anything that's easily recognizable to the average bear as spiritual. I just ask a lot of annoying questions. Guess that makes me a Saganist.

My friend's mother is religious, though, and I imagine that she lobbied hard to have her granddaughter baptized. The way it plays out in my mind is that I was the concession. "Okay mom, we'll agree to dunk her head... but F's going to be the godfather." Probably (almost definitely) not true, but it makes me smile to imagine it so.

The ceremony itself... h'mmm. The priest passed out scripts from which we all read; somehow, my new goddaughter got her hands on one, and had a terrific time swatting it against mine all during the ceremony. Eight months old and already causing a ruckus in church! I couldn't be prouder. I guess if I were more inclined to approach religious ceremonies with an air of solemnity, I could have moved out of her range, but her distraction and delight made the baptism much more meaningful for me.

I was honoured that my friend asked me to be a part of his daughter's life in this way; actually, I teared up a bit when he first asked me. And although a lot of the script we went through with the priest as part of the ceremony left me cold, I do like the idea of having a role in someone else's spiritual development. And perhaps I am a good choice, if not an obvious one. I made a promise in that church that I would guide her development as a Christian, and I will do that... if it's what she wants. But I'm going to make absolutely certain that she knows what that means first, the history of Christianity (both the light and the dark bits), and what her other options are. If she chooses one of those other options, or like me, decides to figure out for herself what makes sense, well, I'll be happy to help her with that too.

2 comments:

oatmeal said...

I can't help but feeling you've boiled down the essence of why you were the obvious choice to me.

Thank you again for accepting.

The only point I feel that I should clear up is regarding concessions: I don't know exactly what Mom's chain of reasoning was, but she thought you were a great choice too.

Squirrel said...

Yeah, but she also thinks I'm going to be a priest someday! (Or she used to think that anyway; not sure if she still does.)

I know I wasn't a concession, I just thought it was funnier to write it that way.