Well, yesterday (June 23rd) I was finally Baptised and Chrismated into the Church and so I feel like I should probably make some bloggish post here about my story so here goes. Well, I was extremely nervous yesterday, but I kept my composure. I got a haircut in the morning, wore new clothes, got all my stuff ready and at around 4:30PM I showed up at my Church with my family and we immediately started because I was like twenty minutes late and they still had to do Vespers that night.
I introduced my parents to my godparents and they surprisingly got along quite well, and my godparents shined some light upon Orthodoxy for them. As my Baptismal service began, I was extremely nervous; nervous because of my parents. I was not sure at all how they were going to react to this and I knew that they already disapproved of and/or had negative feelings about my Baptism. Either way, there was no going back.
Surprisingly, they took it greater than I thought, and I think that they may not be as hostile anymore toward Orthodoxy. They at least seem more open minded. Anyway, I kept looking back toward my mother several times in between everything because I was nervous and she smiled at me every time. So, her support felt nice for once. She also seemed to like the Icons and setting of the room, the 'decorations' as she phrased them.
When the Baptism moment finally came and I got into the tank, it really took me by surprise; I never had a moment to inhale a big breath in preparation before going under. My Priest immediately dunked me the first and second time, and then on the final third time I felt afraid because I really wanted air. The whole thing was rather humorous. I came up hysterically gasping for air and the first thing I hear my Priest say is 'It is done James! Are you excited?' with everyone laughing at my in the background.
I felt pretty happy at that moment, but I was in a hurry to get back into my clothes. Seeing that I'm about five to fifteen pounds overweight (something I need to work on losing) I felt rather insecure about exposing myself without a shirt on. So I got out of the tank, dried myself off with a towel an alter server gave me and then went over to the bathroom to dry off and change back into my clothes. I then put on my white Baptismal gown (which was pretty comfortable by the way; I could have fallen asleep in it) and returned back and we began the Chrismation process.
I was feeling pretty pumped by this time, and less nervous about my parents. They seemed awe struck by everything at this time, but in a good way. The Chrismation was something that bothered me. My Priest really took his time with this and the olive oil all over my face and neck began to bother me. I don't know how many times I wanted to wipe it off and almost did indeed wipe it off by mistake. Anyway, when that was finished we processed around the alter a few times, then my Priest went up on the alter, gave me one final lesson about keeping my garment clean in the day of judgment, and then it was done. I am an Orthodox Christian.
Afterward, we spent about half an hour at Church before we left. I introduced my family to all of my friends and I have to say, I really appreciate how out of their way everyone in my Church went to be kind and friendly to my family in hopes of giving them a good impression of Orthodoxy. Everybody gave me a hug and congratulated me and all, we all took a lot of pictures and I even got a few cards and presents from my friends. All in all, I got a prayer rope, $50, a few cards, an icon of St. George from Moscow, engraved money clip and of course my Baptismal cross. My Icon of my patron won't be here for a few weeks because my Priest and godfather had to order it online from somewhere far away.
After we left the Church, said good byes and everything, my mother drove me to this nice steakhouse which was about an hour away and we celebrated with a nice dinner. All in all, it was a good day. Earlier this morning I also received the Eucharist for the first time and that was perhaps the most anticipated moment in my life. I was looking more forward to this than the actual Baptism.
During the Liturgy, my father unexpectedly showed up halfway in between because he said that he wanted to watch me commune for the first time. I was pretty nervous, but, he actually seemed happy and unlike in the past where he seemed to hate Orthodox services, he seemed pretty happy and curious. And told me that he was in no rush and to calm down. When the Anaphora began, the suspense was killing me. Minutes felt like hours and seconds like minutes. Time seemed so slow. I was nervous because I wanted the moment to finally come, yet at the same time I did not want it to because of fear. When it finally did come, I was shaking and stuttering from the fear and nervousness when I approached with my godparents to receive the Eucharist, and it was pretty amazing.