Throughout my life there have been moments and events that have left an indelible imprint on my soul. From life changing youth camps lead by Ricky Hunt, to the riverbank in Vinnytsia, Ukraine where I spoke to a crowd of several hundred people. I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams. Perhaps the greatest of these experiences happened in early December of 2012. Sonya and I boarded a plane bound for Houston, Texas. There we were met by my brother from another mother, Steve “Daws” Dalton, he waved, we all hugged and then the laughter began.
Sonya and I have been married almost 29 years, I realize this enables her for sainthood, throughout our time together she has always claimed me to be the funniest person she has ever known. After our time in Houston she would say,” You are not the funniest guy I know, but Daws is!” He and I became friends in the eighth grade and got into more stuff (not at liberty at this time to define stuff), than either one of us want to remember. Though the years and distance have separated us we have remained close.
Steve’s wife, Carmen, happens to be the ideal fit for Steve. She’s funny, talented in a myriad of ways, and can go toe to toe with Daws, thus their 30+ years of marriage and two great children prove that. Carmen was diagnosed with cancer some years ago and has fought this awful disease with the fury of a gladiator. Daws called me a few months ago and asked, “Griff, any way you and Sonya can come down and spend a day or two with Carmen and me? I think it would really do us some good.” Wow! He had no idea that the good was not only for them, but we were moved beyond measure by what took place.
We had laughed for two solid days, when on Tuesday night without any planning or scheduling we found ourselves standing around the kitchen. Carmen suddenly said, “I’m okay with whatever happens through this cancer. I am at peace with God and my faith is stronger than it has ever been.” She went on to ask, “If we could have worked it out some way, would you have been willing to baptized me?”
My mind immediately went to a familiar passage of scripture in the book of Acts.
Acts 8:36,37 “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
In fifteen minutes the four of us were standing outside, next to a hot tub in the complex where Daws and Carmen live. Sonya began to sing “Amazing Grace, my Chains are Gone”. With the four of us crying and consumed by the magnitude of the love of God, Carmen and I got into the water and I baptized her!
The next morning on our way to the airport a calm filled the air, or maybe it was peace. Either way, the presence of God had reminded all of us that we were created for eternity not for time! God bless the Daltons.