standing on the shore

IMG_2647 I'm not sure what I pictured. Certainly nothing big or showy.

I figured it'd be a process of talking things out - piece by piece. We'd talk through each layer and reason, pull each one a part like little Russian dolls. Until eventually we grew tired of talking and decided - let's just wait until tomorrow. And eventually tomorrow turns into next year.

Sometimes, we can think about something so much we forget to actually do it.

I thought we'd tell family before we took the plunge so they could be there. I mean, we announce most things these days, right? And I love my family. I would have wanted them there.

But we didn't do any of that.

On Saturday, I walked into our friends kitchen, after washing my face and Matthew asked, "Want to get baptized tomorrow?"

It was really that simple.

Sure, we had talked about being baptized as adults - together. How we were glad a priest drizzled water on our head as a baby but felt the urge, the ache, to be washed by the water again.

We wanted to be part of the decision too.

I have to admit, a teeny tiny part of me hoped, we'd be baptized in Kenya. That we'd be surrounded by dirt, kids smiling wide - dancing under the hot sun. And every time I saw water on our trip, two summers ago, I thought - dive in Maeve, you know you want too.

But I didn't. For a variety of reasons.

There was my need to plan, my need to think things through and there were hippos.

Like for reals, there were hippos in most bodies of water we came across. As seemingly cute as those creatures are, I had to keep reminding myself: Maeve, those babies aren't squishy and sweet. They will eat you.

So, it never really seemed like the best idea.


On Sunday, there were no hippos. But there was water- a whole river.

And there were people, belonging to a church we aren't members of but have attended numerous times. We have always, always felt like the Holy Spirit was not only present but throwing a big ol' party in this church.

 A party where everyone is invited - my favorite kind.

The pastor told stories of folks who'd been baptized in this same river. My favorite being an old man, roughly eighty, who was taken down in his wheelchair to the edge of the sandy shore. A few strong men lifted his frail body into the water.

The preacher continued to shout from the water, reading verses that I wish I could remember more clearly. Though my mind was racing and a little hazy.

God, should I really be doing this? I mean, you and me, we've been pals for a while but we both know that lately, well, my faith could be increased. We both know I intend to have bible time each morning but that doesn't always happen. And my prayer life? It sort of resembles a German cuckoo clock. Everything's all quiet for a while, I'm just ticking a long, keeping things to myself, holding it all together and then BAM, out I come. 

"HEY! God. HEY! It's me, Maeve. Yes, I know it's a been a while but I just have to tell you what's been on my heart for the past MONTH."

Anyone else?

The people pleaser in me felt like maybe I needed to take and pass some test before dipping my toes in the water. I've been in rivers and lakes and oceans numerous times but this water in front of us felt sacred.

"Come on Maeve, it's time to go."

Matthew pulled my hand and led me down to the water. I felt like a little kid being led through an amusement park by a parent; a little disoriented and overwhelmed. A really sweet woman wearing a sun hat and yellow dress greeted us by the shore and asked if we needed a towel.

A towel. Of course. I mean c'mon - we're going in the river and I forget a towel?

I thought she'd ask us to go back to our seats and enjoy the rest of the service. Clearly, we hadn't thought this one through. The fact that we decided to do this uh, yesterday, was quite obvious. No towel? No baptism. Sorry sister.

Truth is, I've always been a little impulsive. The tattoo on my foot, the one I sketched while heading to a tattoo parlor in London, is a daily reminder.

That didn't happen obviously, quite the opposite did. Folks greeted us and smiled wide as we trudged into the cold river. The pastor, standing waist deep in water, sweetly asked us our names once more and pressed his hand to my face and down I went.

It was that simple. And to some, maybe it was too simple. But for an indecisive gal like me  - I needed simple. I needed spontaneous.

Because really, when are we ever ready? When do we ever feel completely prepared to take that next step and leap?

We don't get a manual each time a new season smacks us in the face. We aren't granted a map to navigate the big stuff.

But wouldn't you just love a manual? A pretty book with your name on it, that lands in your mailbox with a letter that reads, "Dear oneWe hear you're a little unsure of this season. Maybe you have a lot of ideas floating around in that head of yours. Like, you're afraid if you press into one that means all those other dreams and passions go away. And you don't want to make the wrong choice. Not to worry - here is a plan to show you the way."

That'd be sort of lovely.

But also pretty boring, right?

Because as I get older and life continues to surprise me and lead me down paths I wasn't prepared for, as my heart continues to beat for things I didn't even take notice of the day before, I am reminded of this: life is waiting and we are never fully ready.

And I'm no expert at this. Those that are closest to me know full well that I can shout this simple fact from the roof but the living it out part? I fall short.

But I am SO okay with that. That isn't what this space is about. This space here, for us - it was never meant to be a guide of how to do life. I promised, from my very first post - that I'd be honest and transparent - not fully put together. And friend, you don't have to be either.

So my question for you is this: are you standing on the shore and aching to dive in? Chances are, I am too. So how about we do this thing and just jump?