Saline streaked our faces. The soft sounds of quiet joy filled the hallway. Weldon was changing clothes. He had just been baptized.
You have never heard of this man who was immersed into Jesus. His name is probably known by less than a few score of people. He never married, has not written a book. Im sure he can write his name. Yet his penciled letters might easily be mistaken for the work of a young childs hand.
Weldon is in his seventies today. He is what some folks call slow. But hes lightening quick with the love. His smile does a number on even the coldest souls. No one can possibly withstand the gentle ways of his conversation. Sure need some rain. It might rain this month. September has some cold rains. Might be hot all the way through October. Its hot even in December, sometimes.
Such is the typical conversation with Weldon Nash. He has a delightful way of arriving at simplicity even in the most complex set of circumstances. While the weathermen fuss with El Nino and tropical depressions, Weldons got it all figured out. Sometimes its hot when we expect cold. Sometimes its dry longer than we like. At some time a cold rain will come.
He may not remember your name, but he remembers the family trip to California twenty-five years ago. And the time he rode the train from Durango to Silverton. He remembers what the weather was like too. And he loves the bird books with pictures he keeps at home. He remembers the birds. Every species. Weldon knows them. He fell off a bed when he was a toddler. An inner head injury has left him with a treasured perspective. He lives with his mother, who is exactly twenty years older than her precious boy. They take care of one another. He calls her mother. She calls him son.
Weldon had his eyes open.|
I was surprised when he asked me to baptize him. Like John might have felt with Jesus, I wondered out loud if Weldon ought to be baptized. Jesus told John to baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness. Weldon told me to baptize him, so he could be with Jesus. Again I was reminded that simple is so much better than complex.
In the water I asked who he believes Jesus is. The Son of God. I asked him if he wanted Jesus to be the Lord of his life. Yes. Then I said, In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, I baptize you for the forgiveness of your sins.
As Weldon went under the water he didnt do what everyone seems to do. Clearly, there in the blue, Weldon had his eyes open. He didnt close his eyes. Weldon Nash was baptized with wide-eyed anticipation. Literally.
As he arose from the pool, I hugged him. Before I could ask about the eyes, he told me something I plan to never forget. Everything looks different from down there.
I was telling this story to his mother and his younger sister as he emerged from the baptistry room, dripping wet and talking about the weather. We were crying together over this man and his profound faith. He had simply spoken. Everything looks different from down there. Is there a deeper Jesus-like experience in baptism? Is there a better way to look at life?