21 Mar 2003
I ran into a friend last week at the parade. She looked prettier than I remembered. In fact, she probably was prettier than I remembered, because I hadn’t seen her since I was fourteen or so. If you were looking for a cliché, you might say “the years had been kind to her,” but what does that really mean when you’re talking about a 23-year-old? It fails to really make a distinction, doesn’t it? Content-free. Meaningless.
Anyway. This girl and I had talked once, at summer camp, the last time I had seen her. It was a church camp. The last night, she got baptized in the pond. After the crowd had left, I saw her sitting on top of a picnic table alone by the water, and I sat down with her. It was a conversation about growing up, about changing; in a few weeks, we were going to start high school, and, she said, everything was going to change. It was time to put away childish things. Life was about to really start. She didn’t look at me while she said all of this, she just stared at the dark ripples in the water. I went along with her, but I didn’t really understand.
“Look, this isn’t the end of anything,” I told her. Sure, camp was ending, summer was ending, and primary education was ending, but those things don’t matter, right? Arbitrary. Man-made. “Life doesn’t just stop and restart again.”
But she just stared into the water that, a few minutes ago, had been her grave. “Buried with Him in baptism, raised again unto newness of life.”