I was baptized on a Saturday afternoon. I said my life confession the Wednesday before. I was nervous before the confession and went there with a typed list that I read aloud. I wasn’t worried about the priest hearing my sins – I’m pretty confident he has heard worse, and besides I’d discussed the ones that bother me most face-to-face already anyway. I think I was nervous that I would do this right; although I suppose the only way to do it wrong is to intentionally leave something out or just never do it at all. Also I had a playlist of Christian songs queued up with over 50 songs in it set to randomize and the two songs that played before I went to confession and the two that played after I went to confession were perfect! Afterwards I felt a tenderness toward the Lord and later that evening I had a very sweet time in my prayer corner saying my evening prayers.
The day of my baptism I was nervous all day long. We were having a reception afterwards and some of my nervousness was about getting ready for that and fears that something would happen at the last minute to foul things up (such as perhaps my car breaking down on the way there). I had invited friends and people at work I felt comfortable with and some of them are not Christians, so it was very important to me that they come away from this event with a positive experience. I was also nervous that I would do my part of the ceremony well. Another big thing for me was the awareness that I was committing myself to a stricter approach to Christian living that I had ever followed before – was I really ready? But I was and once the baptism was done I have never looked back nor had second thoughts.
All of my friends except one showed up on time – which I think kind of surprised my priest, but that’s military folk for you (including Army civilian employees). (If you’re not ten minutes early, you’re late.) All who said they would be able to come were there and I greatly appreciated their support. For the vast majority of the service I stood and stared either at the candle I was holding or at the priest’s vestments. The choir sang beautifully as always. It was tempting to look out at my friends, but I didn’t because I wanted to focus my attention on the service and also I didn’t want to distract them from the service either. Incidentally, an adult baptism is an hour long service.
I was bit nervous also with my first communion the next morning. In Orthodox churches your first three communions you stand up front holding a candle with your sponsor and receive communion first before everyone else, so again I wanted to get it right since everyone was watching and I’d never done it before. It was actually at my second communion that I was able to relax and enjoy it as a spiritual experience.
My sponsor gave me an icon of the Trinity – I had been thinking a couple of weeks before that I didn’t have one and I would like to have one but I don’t remember mentioning it to her. It’s a beautiful print based on Rublev’s icon. Here’s an explanation of that icon: http://www.holy-transfiguration.org/library_en/lord_trinity_rublev.html
So now I am an Orthodox Christian.