"My name reminds me of Jesus."
He says it suddenly, like he says everything. Little thoughts and musings pop out of him at random, often after months of mulling and processing, and it almost always happens in the car on the way to school. I'm grateful for those daily commutes, and I hope as the years pass they will still be the stage for his verbal processing and reflections on the world.
I tell him it should remind him of Jesus, and we go over, for the umpteenth time, the meaning of his name, and with it, the blessing for his life. Peregrine, my pilgrim, my truth seeker, my wrestler, my wanderer, my one determined to do things the hard way and learn by experience. Emmanuel, for no matter his journeys and wrestlings and wanderings, God will always be with him.
He's always thought of his name as special, especially because he shares a name with Jesus. Especially during the Advent season, when we sing what he used to call "The Peregrine Kenneth Emmanuel Song" (known to the rest of the world as O Come O Come Emmanuel), he feels the wonder and weight of sharing a name with the baby God, his connection to that mystery and beauty and marvel.
I've said it before, naming the kids felt so deeply important to Andrew and me. I can't even describe it. I don't tend toward the metaphysical, and I believe far more in faithfulness than destiny. But with naming the kids, I felt, always, as though we were speaking something over them--not a prophecy, necessarily, more a simple naming of what was there. A kind of seeing who they were, but also carving a path for them to walk into. And it was so very different, with both of them. I couldn't have predicted it until they were there, heavy in my womb, little beings alive and full of personality, little hearts and souls unique and created by God. And I couldn't know, then, how very true their names would be, and how much they would need the names we gave them. I can't even imagine what it will be like when they are teens and adults, when their personalities are more developed and mature.
He continues, lightheartedly, as usual, throwing weight and meaning and wisdom around, careless, like all children are, with the most valuable things in the world.
"Sometimes, when I'm scared at night, I just say my name, and it helps me."
I'm floored, really, because that's so much of what I want. So much of what I didn't even know I wanted when Andrew and I first chose his name, for an unknown tiny thing we had not yet even seen. So much that goes above and beyond me, and what I want for him. We tell people to remember who they are, and it's good, but it's never enough, unless you remember who God is, too. Those things together, impossible to untangle, for him now.
So say your name, Peregrine. Say it, and remember. Remember who you are. And in doing it, remember who God is. Remember, above all else, that no matter what, He is with you.