Stools for Water Boys

Yesterday I baptized a young man of about 6 months of age on a piece of property belonging to his family. The property encloses a small lake with a pier and a boat or two, and lots of bull frogs. It is surrounded by conifers and blackberry bushes. A beaver is making a lodge on the far side. We used lake-water, and the ceremony was performed on a grassy lawn that spans between a pretty little cabin and the water. Three elementary boys were there, too, relatives of the baptizee.

Water and boys are made for one another. I did a little fishing in the lake after the reception, and the minute a hauled in a small trout all three of the boys were there to see it, touch it, talk about it and help me release it. Their feet were already soaked from walking in the water. A tiki light took a swim at one of their hands. They talked about swimming in the water later in the year when things warm up a bit. Care was taken that they not fall off the pier into six feet of numbing water and need pulling out—a thrill that just made the edges all that much more attractive. Boys and water are made for one another.

So, we created another water-boy, someone who by the gift and sign of water is recognized as containing the potential for full and abundant humanity. As Christians we see that full humanity reflected in the life of Jesus, whom we name in baptism. They make a three-legged stool: the boy, the sign and the potential. We watered the little growing one well.

Some things desiccate and kill. Others overwhelm and drown. Three-legged stools are stable. Water boys are built, one wetting at a time, on stools.


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