Monday, July 15, 2013

Finding a name

A year ago tomorrow, July 16, 2012,  I was lying in a hospital bed with ruptured membranes. The contractions had slowed but were not going away completely. The neonatologist had come in to consult with us about what it meant to deliver a baby at 23 weeks gestation, and to discuss with us best ways to proceed if the baby was born that week. It looked very likely.

Steve had spent the morning telling family that I was still pregnant, but in danger of delivery, and asking friends and relatives to pray. I still was not allowed to eat. I was wasting my time playing games on my phone, resting, or looking on the internet for information about babies born at 23 weeks gestation.

That afternoon Steve and I started to discuss baby names again. He liked the name Jonathan - "gift from God". I did not. I liked Joshua or William.  Maybe even Carl.  He thought those were okay too, but then we weren't going anywhere. So we turned to middle names. Steve had a baby name book with him. He started with the 'A's.  "Amos" he said, "It means 'carried' or 'borne by God.'"

"That's a good name." I said, "because I can't carry him any longer. God's going to have to do the carrying."

So I tried on my first names to match with Amos.  Or maybe Carl.  I was pretty sure I wanted Joshua to be his first name.

"Jonathan Carl" I said in my head, thinking I'd said Joshua Carl

"Jonathan William,  Jonathan Amos."

By this point I realized I was saying "Jonathan" and not Joshua, but no matter how hard I tried, the name Jonathan came out.

So his name became Jonathan Amos.

Jonathan: Gift from God
Amos: Carried by God.

Joshua means "God saves." And while that's what I wanted my boy's story to be, I think God had a different lesson for me. This guy was about God giving. 'This boy, his life, it's a gift from me,' it seemed the message was.

"Okay, God. And, in turn, you are the one carrying him through" was my response.

The gift of Jonathan's life taught me more than just the saving power of God.  It taught me a lot about life and growth, both spiritual and physical. In the end, before Jonathan could say a word, his life had spoken volumes.

I'm not sure why I couldn't get Jonathan out of my head that day, but in the last year I have seen how that name -- better than Joshua or William or Carl -- Jonathan fits. Jonathan is his name.

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