After relating the story of my baptism to my therapist during a session of EMDR, I was asked to imagine what I would like to say to my 10-year-old self, the little girl who was so fearful of being eternally condemned and who felt compelled to obsess over her big toe. I closed my eyes and held the pulsers in my hands, feeling the vibrations from them alternate from one hand to the other. I let my mind wander and saw the 10-year-old sitting on my lap at a pew in the church where I was baptized. I told her she didn't need to worry over whether her baptism was done correctly or whether she needed to be rebaptized. I told her what really mattered in life was not baptisms but living a life filled with love. I told her to fill her heart and life with loving others.
She was clearly confused. She understood how to fulfill a requirement like baptism, but "living a life filled with love" was vague and impossible to accomplish with certainty. She wanted a neat checklist. How could she be sure she was doing this right? How could she check this off her list with certainty? "On second thought," I said to her, "forget what I just said. What I really want you to know is that you're too young to be worrying about baptism. Don't give it another thought. You're too young to understand." She smiled and relaxed. She was glad not to have to worry about her eternal fate. It was just too much for a 10-year-old. It made me smile with watery eyes to see her so relieved.