Receiving something you don't deserve is called a "gift." Often we don't recognize the gifts that are plopped in our laps. Less often we name our gifts long before we ever receive them.
Three years ago, we were planning for the arrival of our first child, and had a complicated time picking names. I don't know if you have ever noticed, but both of us have pretty strong opinions. There were names that one of us liked and the other vetoed without a thought. We did easily determine we would use the middle name to honor special people in our lives. One day a couple of months before our first was born, Allison walked into my office and wrote down a boy name and a girl name on a tiny post it note. The choices were made, and we both were happy.
We didn't find out the gender of our first, so we were as surprised as you when Katelyn Ashley was born. There was no spiritual significance to the name, which is the American derivative of a classic Celtic name meaning "pure." It does fit. Katelyn is "pure" in many ways, mostly in love and joy. Her middle name is in honor of Allison's best friend, who basically set us up. We think it has worked out alright.
When #2 started along, we had many intentions of repeating our pattern, and we did come up with a new girl name. The boy name had been set. No going back. As most of you know, at 20 weeks we learned that we would be seeing a lot more of Dukeling part deux. We had informed the ultrasound techs that we didn't want to know the gender. Things rolled smoothly until one of the few sonograms Allison attended by herself. Apparently the tech lost her notes and said, "Well, he's really showing off his boy parts today! But then, he always is." (A bit of an exhibitionist apparently. Allison said NOTHING and we never told her she gave it away. She did it again in my presence a few weeks later.) Anyway, when Allison came home she asked me if I would want to know certain information if it had become known. It was funny.
A while later she sent me a message and asked me if I remembered what Nathan means. I replied immediately "Gift." And then I checked to make sure I was right. We didn't put much thought into the meaning when the name was chosen three years earlier, but with everything that was happening, it took on even more special significance. Since that day, I have thanked the Lord for this special new gift.
It would be easy to be fearful and resentful of the issues that face this young new life. The cardiologist confirmed yesterday that our baby has "complete heart block," which means the AV node in the heart isn't working and the top and bottom halves are completely out of sync. Without miraculous intervention, he will likely need a pacemaker before adulthood. That means no roughhousing, no WWE reenactments, and no football. (With his gene pool, those things probably wouldn't have lasted long anyway.)
I am reminded that we don't always get what we think we want in a gift. We do receive the stewardship of making the most of what we receive.
Nathan Danny. We have been promised great things in this beautiful new baby boy. His very name, I believe, is prophetic. We did not choose it to be profound; we chose it because we like it. His name was set three years ago, not knowing if we would ever have a son. He is our gift. We don't know what the future holds, but he is that future. He carries the name of my dad, his grandfather who, fittingly it seems, battled heart problems much of his life. And he will carry the name well.
I love you, my son.