Saturday, July 20, 2013

(Don't) Call me Ishmael

1 Samuel 22:6-10 (NIV)

Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.”

But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
We are having our fourth son in a little less than three months, and we have not come close to agreeing on a name. We do have a long list of names ruled out, however, and we can add to the roster such Biblical offerings as Saul, Doeg, Ahimelek, Ahitub and Goliath, among others.

Part of our challenge is not just having our fourth son, but the fact both sides of our families are boy heavy. So some perfectly good names — even the ones in this passage, like David and Jesse, for example — are simply not options. We’re also trying to avoid alliteration (so no first names that start with H) and a few other personal preferences. I’m not trolling for suggestions here — I think we’ve heard them all at this point — just illustrating a dilemma I did not anticipate as we embarked on the journey of bringing another child into the world.

As much as anything, this particular matter is serving as a reminder that although we have gone around this block thrice, we’re bound to encounter new experiences along the way. This is not especially surprising, given how much Charlie is different from his older brothers, even in spite of the many traits they have in common. These differences, the new ways in which we’ll walk a familiar path, are what let me know we’ll be able to love this child fully, yet differently, from those we already adore.

And that realization is what has me so excited to meet the little guy, whatever his name is. As I type, Kristie and her mom and sister are a few minutes away visiting some family friends who just welcomed their first child a few weeks ago. Kristie has an amazing capacity to always be interested in someone else’s new baby, even as she is enduring her personal pregnancy struggle and gearing up for the sleepless night, constant feeding and diaper changing and that little matter of taking care of the other three, too.

I’m usually very interested in my own newborns but wait to engage with other people’s kids until they can sit up unassisted. Nothing against babies, I just prefer mine is all. I’m a little sad this is the last time we’ll be doing the newborn thing, but with our oldest only nine years old, we still have so many firsts to enjoy it’s easy, and much more enjoyable, to get caught up in anticipation of what’s to come than wallow in sadness of what will no longer be an option.

We’re going to have another baby, name to be determined, and it’s going to be a great adventure. We’ll love him completely, and I am vowing to come to terms on what to call him before we head to the hospital. I am absolutely certain it won’t be Ahimelek.

A prayer for July 20:

Lord, thank you for blessing us with the chance to continue to grow our family. Please help me to be a supportive husband and father during the remaining weeks as we await our newest child. I am especially looking for ways to ease our entire family into the transition period our new arrival will bring. Grant me wisdom, patience and strength for the journey. Amen.

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