(This is part of a continuing series. Part 1 of my conversion story is here.)

As a result of my upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness, I never planned on having much of a future. After all, if the world was going to end soon why should I start planning for college? So when my Senior year approached, I was pretty shocked to see that the world was still here, and so was I. What was I going to do? I knew I loved to travel, and the structure and history of the military interested me, so I joined the Navy to figure out what I would do with the rest of my life.

Now when one goes through basic training, one of the first things he (or she) learns is how to “post”. When you are enlisted and you wish to visit a commanding officer in his office, there is a very specific way in which it must be done. I’ll get the specifics wrong here, but it goes something like this:

You approach the hatch (door), and knock twice. The Officer will say, “Post”! And you’ll recite your name, rank and billet number. He’ll say “Enter”. You open the door, take two steps forward, right face (or left face depending which side of the room the desk he’s sitting behind is on), and remain at attention. All this time, he is just waiting for you to mess up! So when you make that one tiny mistake (maybe you didn’t close the door behind you, or you breathed incorrectly), he pounces on it and demands that you “give him twenty”.

In a similar fashion, as I approach my baptism and first communion I am terrified that I’ll mess up. I’ll take a step out of the procession, I’ll be so overcome with emotion when I receive the host that I’ll forget to make the sign of the cross or worse yet, my lip will quiver and I’ll be wiping wine from my chin! Father will look at me with disapproval and I’ll be doing push ups in the back of the sanctuary.

It’s with a concerted effort that I must remind myself that while the sacred tradition is important, No one is waiting for me to mess up. The Lord is waiting for me, and his church is welcoming me with open arms regardless of what my nerves might make me do at Easter Vigil. He knows I am flawed, but he also knows that it is because of my love for him that I am going through this process and ready to begin this new chapter. And it is because of his love for me that I am able to do it.