I guess the beginning would be a good place to start this story, and as most stories I have read contain beginnings, it would seem odd not to.
I was “baptized”1 at the age of 10 at an Anglican church in the little village of Tingewick. I cannot remember why I wanted to be christened, but I do remember that I did it of my own free will and that, at the time, I had wanted to explore religion more thoroughly and this seemed like the best way of doing things.
The church (St Mary Magdelines, Tingewick) where I was first baptised.
The two main problems (and I wish I could have seen them sooner) was a lack of understanding of certain key concepts (prayer for example) and a lack of guidance (which I admit was probably due to a crippling sense of shyness). My 10 year old self grew resentful that my prayers (which were self centered to the core) weren’t answered immediately and I got disillusioned with the whole thing fairly quickly.
I then went through the darkest stage of my life to date which turned me from a skeptic into a full blown Atheist. My sojourn into far left wing politics turned me into something much worse and I remember how my anti-theism turned me into quite a hate filled person, blinded by my own sense of self importance. Luckily that didn’t last all that long and I reverted to a state of Atheist belief where I was quite happy to keep my thoughts to myself.
It was my meeting with my wife-to-be that awakened the agnosticism in me, and I started to explore various belief systems (Shinto and various Pure Land Buddhist beliefs being among them) before attending her baptism and feeling blessed by His presence in a way I have never felt before (I believe I described it as “powerful”).
I feel like a new person, and I am doubly blessed in that I have some truly wonderful people to guide me along. In ending, I would like to share this verse with you
Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
God has certainly called me back into the fold and forgiven me for my past transgressions. I don’t think I have ever felt as blessed as I do now.
1 – I put in quotation marks because it was not a full body immersion and not what I would consider a proper baptism.