Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ellie's Baptism

I am somewhat hesitant to post about this topic because if there is one thing that most people have a strong opinion on- it's religion. I'm not sharing my thoughts of this topic because I am looking for a lot of conversation (read: arguing) on it. I believe that everyone has their own thoughts and beliefs on this topic- and that's great- I don't really care to argue about it. I don't want anyone to comment and get all "churchy" on me. Seriously- no bible verses, no sermons- it will just irritate me and I will likely delete them... Thanks


So one year ago, on October 16th, exactly one week before Ellie got deathly sick, we had her baptized.  Since Ellie had died, a few people have asked if she was baptized. I was very surprised by their response of "oh good" when I said yes. Huh? And if she hadn't been?? Are you implying that my child would have not gone to Heaven? 
I believe in God and I believe in Heaven. I have no doubt in my mind that Ellie is in Heaven. I believe that had she not been baptized, she would still be there. I believe everyone goes to Heaven, even those who do not deserve to while they were here on earth. It is my belief that people who do wrong, bad, and even horrible things here, are "healed" when they get to Heaven. They are no longer that bad or evil person- that person ceases to exist. I'm sure this doesn't sit well with a lot of people. I don't really care- everyone has their beliefs. But here's why I believe this...
Despite what many religions would like their followers to believe, I refuse to view God as vengeful and punishing. I refuse to believe that my daughter is spending her all-of-eternity with “someone” that would seriously sentence a person to an eternity in Hell. I just don’t buy it. It seems a little like a scare tactic to me… It goes along with my strong belief that God doesn’t necessarily cause the bad things that happen in our lives.
When I was working as a nurse on the pediatric oncology floor, I saw some of the most heartbreaking things that I thought I would ever see (until I saw my own daughter go through something just as horrific…). You can’t be in that environment of suffering and pain every day, and not wonder why. What could those families, and those children have done to deserve something to completely awful? Obviously, the answer is nothing. They didn’t do anything- a child could never do something bad enough to deserve years of cancer treatments. After a while it just became obvious to me- sometimes bad things just happen. There isn’t a reason. No one was being punished, or being taught a lesson. God wasn’t trying to give a family a harsh reality check or make them pay. I refused to believe in a God like that. I wanted no part of that.
It’s my belief that God is loving, caring, forgiving and supportive. I believe He lifts people up, not knocks them down. I came to this conclusion long before Ellie was even in our life. I will say that having her ripped out of our arms in such a painful and dramatic manner, made me wonder. Sometimes the thought still crosses my mind- what did we do? What am I being punished for? These doubts come into my mind when the pain is at its greatest. When my thoughts start to clear again, and the pain recedes, these questions just don’t still well with me… I don’t think we did anything to deserve this.
Even after everything we’ve been through, I still don’t believe that God made any sort of decision about my baby dying. I feel like God knew and gave us last precious moments with our girl, knowing that pain we would soon endure- like Dave and I taking her out for dinner the week before, her waking up before her fever got too bad to give me smiles, her last moment of alertness in the ER before we took her to the PICU. I feel like God put certain people in our lives years and years ago, knowing they would play an important part in our survival of the last year. I believe that God gave us the strength, faith, grace and clarity to get through this.
When people say things like, “God wanted another angel,” “God had a plan for her,” “God must have known that something more painful was in her future and he spared her,” I get mad. I don’t believe any of that. There are some days when I can go along with the idea that God finally let her body give up at about 11:55pm on 10/24 when things just got too bad. There are times when I can believe he saved her from that pain. I’m ok with that. But I won’t for one second, believe that God took my daughter for any reason. I don’t believe that he would cause that sort of pain to Dave and I- I believe Ellie died, and God has helped us through it. So please don’t ever say those things to me…
People have asked if we go to church. No, we don’t. I don’t believe that I need to go to a place specific building every Sunday, listen to “stories” and be told how to earn my way to Heaven. Like I said, I believe I’m going. I don’t need to go to church so I can learn how to be a good person- I try to be a good person every day. It’s not that I’m against church; it’s just not for me. For some people it lifts them up and serves as a great source of community.
There is one place where I would go if I was going to go- the place where we had Ellie’s funeral. When it came time to plan Ellie’s funeral, we were at a loss. We didn’t have a church or a pastor. Thankfully my aunt stepped in and offered to talk to the church/ pastor that her and my grandparents go to. This is one of those instances where I believe that God jumped it and led us right to Pastor Paul. We could not have asked for a more perfect person to do Ellie’s funeral. Dave and I never felt out of place, and we were never once told that this was “God’s Plan.” I believe Pastor Paul even said “God didn’t do this…” “There’s no reason…” “This sucks…” It was the perfect place for us to say goodbye to our girl. So if I had the desire to go to church, I would go there- to Pastor Paul… But sadly, now, that place will always be where we had Ellie’s funeral…
So you might be wondering, no church? How did you baptize Ellie?? We had the guy that married us (yes a real pastor that you can pretty much rent out…) baptize her, just like he did Max. To be honest, we mostly got the children baptized for the sake of our parents and grandparents. We got sick of hearing, when? When? I don’t believe that the pouring of water of my child’s head will in any way affect their future. Our children will be raised knowing about God and believing in Him and Heaven, but all of the rites and rituals seem like lot “hooey” to me. I believe that a lot of it was established to scare people into acting a certain a way, and now, they’ve just been around for so long, people are still stuck doing it. I believe that if you want to have faith in God and Heaven, etc., than just do it. Just be a good person. Love those around you, be kind, and be grateful. Be faithful. Being faithful means you don’t necessarily have any proof that what you are believing in exists, you just believe.

I’m not trying to say my thoughts are right for everyone, but for me- they are what I lean on every day to get through. So yeah, we got Ellie baptized a week before she died. To me, this doesn’t mean anything. I feel like Ellie still died and where her beautiful little soul went afterwards had nothing to do with it.
I am thankful, in a way I can’t even express, that we had everyone together to be with Ellie on this day. For several of them, it was the last time they saw Ellie, as Ellie. And I am so grateful we took the time to take some pictures of our little girl with every one…

Ellie's expressions are hilarious...She's very concerned with what seems to be going on... Such a curious little Peanut!
 Trying to get a decent family picture...

 Four Generations

 Ellie with Grams and Gramps

 Ellie and Grandma and Papa

 Ellie with Ma and Bompa
 I had to show this picture because of Ellie's crazy mohawk hair


Trying to get a picture of the three cousins... the boys weren't too interested. Ellie just kept sitting there, wondering where the boys were going or just looking at the camera being sweet...



11 comments:

crystal said...

Love your pictures!!! You are so right Ellie would have gone to Heaven no matter what. God loves the little children. I am praying for you guys because I know that next week is going to be so hard. Sending (((HUGS))) to you.

Angie said...

I need to borrow your rent-a-pastor to get Lucas baptized! I wish we had someone like that here to stop the annoying questions and kind of as a "just in case it matters" type thing.

The pictures are beautiful. And I like Pastor Paul.

Kelly said...

Well said to all of this. I had Adam baptized shortly before he died in the hospital, and I don't even know why. I'm not even sure heaven and hell even exist, and Adam surely wouldn't have gone to hell if he wasn't baptized. It just felt like something I should do for peace of mind. Natalie was baptized as a baby, and I think it was also just something I did cuz I was "supposed" to. I battle with the concept.

Love all the pictures! I'm so happy you got one of 4 generations with Ellie. We took those pictures with Natalie, and I just recently put them away cuz they made me angry that we won't ever get to do that with Adam.

Sending you love and thinking of you always.

Harlowe said...

I was just thinking about this exact thing on Saturday. I am also of the firm belief that it isn't God taking children and making bad things happen, he is there helping us through the hard times after they happen. Eli hasn't been baptised yet, and if something happened to him I have no doubt that he would go to heaven. I pretty much agree with everything you said, that is my interpretation of God and heaven and christianity.

~M~ said...

Well said! My religious views are very similar to yours, and I struggle with trying to explain to my husband why I don't think it is necessary to enroll our child in religion classes, join a church, etc. I think I will read him this post, because I've never been able to articulate this type of belief system as well as you have.

brigette said...

Thank you. I really needed to read this today. I am glad I stopped by your blog. I always love to read your words and see your sweet pictures. What you say sounds so right. I often wonder the same thing, what did we do to deserve our litte one to be taken away... well maybe its not that way at all. Thank you again hugs mama!

Christina said...

You made my day today Tiffany, Thank you. I have always felt so alone in my beliefs and now not so much. I couldn't have put it better myself.
Thank you again.

Erin said...

Perfectly stated.

ccc said...

Ah religion, the topic everyone loves to talk about.lol
I do believe in Baptism, and all my children have been baptized except David ( and of course m/c's). But, I know that David is up there in Heaven without being baptized. I do not have to be a theologian to understand that.
Also, my Emily was hospitalized at 4 weeks old with a severe RSV infection and I remember my mom and MIL telling us that we needed to get her baptized in case she died. We did not, (but did a month later at the church.) But, had she died, of course she would have went to Heaven. It's funny what people say about baptism--and my mom is not even religious at all!
Thank you for reminding me of how our God is loving and not punishing. I, too, have doubts creep into my mind and sometimes wonder what I did to deserve this.

Sarita Boyette said...

I hope my Meredith & your Ellie are friends in Heaven! I love to think that they have found one another. Meredith wasn't baptized and I have no doubt where she is right now. I believe that Meredith is still an infant. Love all the family pictures and especially the way Ellie looked at the pastor. That four generation picture is so touching.

B. Wilson said...

We had Andrew baptized and he was dead. So what do those crazies say? Since he was already dead that he isn't in heaven? I'd pretty much have to lose my shit on them. I don't believe baptism is that important either. I am religious, yet I've never been baptized myself. I will likely never be either. Why? It's a choice and I can choose to love a God who cares for us without having water dropped on my head.

We baptized Andrew because it was just something they offered us in the hospital that we could do for him. When your child is dead, there isn't much you can choose for them. You sign papers and make decisions on their behalf, but nothing ever to make milestones or whatever. We already knew his little soul was in heaven and we didn't care who wanted to tell us a thing. It was our way of parenting him. We will baptize future babies, but only because it's a legacy and for family support and such. We already know our babies will be in heaven, too.

You aren't alone in your viewpoints and you are free to believe as you wish. Glad you shared the photos. Any photos of Ellie are a joy to see. :)

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