Yesterday I witnessed my first Baptism. Yes, I am Jewish. Does it matter that it was a Roman Catholic ceremony? No, not in the slightest. In fact, that's what made it all the more special.
I was tentative walking into the church unprepared. It was a completely random moment. My dear friend, Maria, had gone into her Sunday Mass, and I was waiting for her at the Starbucks next door. She texted me that this ritual was taking place and that I should come in & see. As I entered the beautiful, hallowed sanctuary, I felt simultaneously uneasy that I was dressed inappropriately but, at the same time, comforted by my surroundings. You see, we are all, ultimately from the same G-d...perhaps given a different set of tenets to live by along the way...but all from the same one Universe. We needn't ever forget this.
Watching these babies and children be blessed was a blessing for me as well. To see such chastity, a clean slate from which to begin. Yet society is so quick to relinquish this purity, and instead label us and teach us to focus hard on these labels: black, white, poor, rich, disabled, special needs, gay, straight, etc etc. As we grow, we identify with these labels and make them who we--or others--are. Instead of just saying that's just one part of what makes us who we are...a part that's of something so much greater.
Babies aren't born intolerant...that's something learned along the way. Amazing how love is innate; it's hatred that is taught. Babies & children are taught ignorance and the "skills" to bully...by words or through example. Yet they come out of the womb longing for love...the simplest of needs.
As a Jew walking into a Roman Catholic church, at no point did I feel inadequate in my surroundings for being Jewish. Yes, I was hesitant...but only because I felt under-dressed in G-ds presence. Yet as I looked around, I saw more "me's" then I could count...running shorts, t-shirts, sneakers. And it dawned on me that G-d doesn't care what you look like as long as you show up and feel His love.
To love and be loved...the only thing that truly matters. There's no label for that.
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