When I was quite young, I asked my Mother if I could go to Church.
She said,” Sure, if you can find a ride.”
This was the beginning of my spiritual hitchhiking. My next door neighbors accommodated me, the wayward child of liberal agnostics; where they went, so went I. The first Church was Congregational with a boring Sunday School. Every week I was given the same picture of Jesus on a card or bookmark. I probably continued to go with them for the donuts at coffee hour.
The Sunday it all changed was the Palm Sunday I was ten and it was our first visit to an Episcopal Church. It was early spring in Portland, Maine. It was still cold, there was still snow on the ground and it had been months since I had seen fresh flowers. We sat down in a pew close to the front. Pots of daffodils had been arranged along the altar, crowding around the Baptismal Font that looked to me like a large, golden, nesting bird. I looked up to large stained glass windows rising up from the altar in front of us. The sun broke through the clouds just then and the light poured through the window directly onto the bank of daffodils. The Baptismal Font gleamed. The light was golden and bright and I saw it. I really, really saw it right through my eyes, all the way down to my toes. I felt it all warm and bright inside me and it lasted a long time.
In my late teens I was baptized in a river by a Catholic priest and an Episcopal priest. That was an important day but the day I first remember believing was that Palm Sunday. Actually, I didn’t just believe, I knew: God is beautiful and warm and so surprising.
I live now in the other Portland. The one in the North West where the snow never lasts long and the daffodils bloom in March. They still speak to me every year. They remind me of my conversion experience. Conversion into, what seemed to my 10 year old self, the heart of magic.
--- Peg Edera