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"Paradise Park." (2020)

Updated: Aug 23, 2020


Picture it. Flooded with fun. Splashing hope everywhere around me on everyone around me. The people splashed me back. My skin soaking up their prayers. The preacher stood in the midst of the waves. Kissed my forehead and placed me gently under. I felt God wash over me, from out of me, flowed back into my nostrils, my ears, and seeped through the corners of my mouth. I got up with all praise of him/them/her in my soul, breathed them back into the air to share, wiped the water from my face and said, "Amen." I swam back to shore just to return the next day with my floaties fastened around my arms and hips, as if my baptism wasn't just yesterday, but I never said it wasn't. I laughed in the confused faces who looked at me and acted as if they never knew Jesus walked on water.

To them I say, excuse me for finding God where I played. I jumped into water I knew I couldn't swim in. Waited until it fell down my feet and nestled into the sand below. Skinned my knee against the waiting rock, I watched my blood trickle down its corners and mix in with the sin. I pressed my feet against that same rock and sent myself flying back up to the surface, just before giving my last good breath to the currents. I sliced the surface with my fingers, making it part around me. This time, I held my breath longer than any sinner in church who didn't want to be called out in front of the congregation. I laughed an unearthing laugh as I swallowed back the tide. I giggled when I saw that my floaties served me no good in this time of play, but I felt at ease anyhow. What did it mean to be baptized where you played? What did it mean to play where you were baptized? Only my God and I know. And it's because of that, that I can swim where I met him/them/her.

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