Jewell’s confirmation

My reflections after watching my little sister, Jewell, confirm her baptism.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

ADAM: Hello, Earthlings! It’s October 19th, 2014, and my little sister just got confirmed at church.

JEWELL: And I’m tired, and my feet hurt.

[THEME SONG PLAYS]

ADAM: What happened today?

JEWELL: I got confirmed.

ADAM: In the Lutheran church, confirmation of baptism is a rite of passage that effectively leads to religious adulthood.

JEWELL: I affirmed my faith, and…as a Lutheran…Christian…child of Christ…child of God…follower of Christ. It’s really hard to explain it all!

ADAM: In the Lutheran church, baptism usually occurs when children are too young to really decide for themselves what they believe and really think, analytically, about their beliefs. So Confirmation is a confirmation of that baptism and of faith by actually studying and looking at one’s beliefs.

LISA: Almost every single one of our Sunday conversations began with a question. And the way in which these young people have engaged these questions has been incredible. The process of engaging these questions is where the deepening of faith in relationship with God and Christ actually happens.

ADAM: Going through confirmation basically means that the confirmand is now making the conscious choice to accept God and Jesus into their lives.

JEWELL: My faith has affected my life in ways I could only imagine when I was a child. I didn’t realize it then, but God has been helping me in ways I find startling when I think about it now.

ADAM: So this was a very special day for my little sister.

PASTOR NICK: Jewell, remember that you’ve been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You belong to Christ, and you always will.

ADAM: It was also a special day because we had a little bit of a family rarity. There to support her was a collection of family members that don’t often get together for anything. Jewell not only had myself, our parents, and our grandpa there to support her, she also had her biological parents and grandmother there as well.

For those that don’t know, Jewell is biologically my first cousin once removed. She is actually my cousin’s daughter. But my family has been taking care of her since she was three months old, and I have never thought of her as anything other than my wonderful, amazing little sister.

JEWELL: During my first three months of life, I was living in a situation that wasn’t the best for a baby, with smoking, alcohol, and drugs. I knew my birth mom and dad loved me, but God knew I needed more. Then, shortly after my great aunt Paula quit her job, my birth father called her and asked if she could take care of me for a while. Having no job responsibilities, she accepted and took me in. That was 14 years ago. God had a hand in this. I’m sure of it. Even now, he is still working miracles in my life: my new friends, new opportunities, my new school…even my kitten.

ADAM: Now getting this group of people together doesn’t really happen because her biological parents are no longer together, and my cousin and I have not been on the best of terms. When I was 10, this particular cousin lived with us for a time, and during this period, she made my life a living Hell. If you have never had the experience of believing someone close to you, someone in your family, would hurt you or even possibly follow through with threats to kill you, I hope you never have to experience that.

For a time after that, I was afraid of her, and then I was angry at her, and even outright hated her for much of my life. At the beginning of last year, however, I found myself looking more positively at life and I found that particular wound wasn’t what it used to be. While I will always bear the scars of that traumatic period, I finally let go of the anger and the hate, and it was an amazing feeling. And it made it so much easier to enjoy this special day in my little sister’s life. Because I no longer felt that animosity towards her birth mother.

JEWELL: My birth mom’s in recovery and here with me this morning. They’re all miracles. I know this. I know I have a purpose, and so does everyone else. God has given us all a reason to exist. After all, he wouldn’t have made us without a good reason. Our God is a loving God, and Jesus teaches us the way to live our life according to that truth.

ADAM: Jewell’s confirmation left me thinking a lot about the passage of time and change. From the change in relationship I have had with my cousin, her birth mother, over time, to even just thinking how much time has passed. Jewell was born in the year 2000, and she is now in high school, and has gone through confirmation at church. The teacher of her confirmation class, my church’s youth group leader, Lisa, first came to that church 13 years ago, while I was still in high school. Pastor Nick, who baptized most of the confirmands, has been there for 16 years. Time can pass so quickly without even realizing it.

PASTOR NICK: You are where you are at this point in your lives. Where will you be next year, when you are 16, when you are 18? Just as you have grown from babies to be where you are now, the next years will be times of growth for you as well. Grow in your faith, so that when you’re 16, and you’re 18, and you’re 20, and you’re 40, if you can even imagine that…you’ll have a faith that fits that point in your life.

ADAM: I am immensely proud of my little sister and, at the same time, amazed at how she’s grown and how much time has passed since she came into our lives.

JEWELL: My faith in God, and the teachings of Jesus, have helped me understand the suffering of people who are being treated like they mean nothing. And the pain of those who are wounded by words and/or actions. Thus, I really try to follow the teachings of Jesus and be kind to both the new people I meet, and the people I have known for a long time, treating them all the way I want to be treated. I want to thank everyone who’s helped me get to this position in my faith. I thank Stefanie, Kevin, Kathleen, John, Paula, Adam, and everyone else who has helped me get to this position in my faith.

PASTOR NICK: Grow…and keep asking the questions!

ADAM: Until next time, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.

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