I found choosing a name for Jonah to be a strange thing. Usually when you meet people there is a sense that their name fits (or doesn’t) simply because of their personality. It seems like we either grow into our name or it fits right from the start – a bit of chicken/egg maybe. We had a few that we kicked around for our son because we liked them for one reason or another but we couldn’t ever really land on one – they didn’t feel right. They didn’t fit.
Cassy and I were out in a walk during a break from work and I half jokingly threw out Jonah as an option. Jokingly because I hadn’t put any significant thought into it yet, but that didn’t mean I didn’t like it. As it so often does, our history told the tale. It had already been a tough couple of years after losing my job, having to say goodbye to a few of my grandparents, and Dee getting diagnosed with cancer and then being taken by it, but we were making it – one day at a time and leaning in to each other through it all. When you combine that with losing Luke in February and our puppy in September… we were in the belly, and we had been swallowed whole. In being given another shot with our son we had once again found ourselves on dry land, ready to stand tall and keep the momentum going. It’s a bit ironic in retrospect now after everything that’s happened that Jonah’s story doesn’t end with his birth or in his death.
Jonah’s spirit is carried on in my words and in my actions. The love we have for him transforms hearts every day, including my own repeatedly. My son spent 37 weeks as a part of this earth but his heart moves its mountains forever. The story of Jonah is one of God’s ability to use the broken for mighty purpose; where the worst parts of the human condition are shown grace in times of ultimate despair. Of second chances.
Funny how things turn out when you take a look backwards. What’s in a name? It seems to me, redemption. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. Struggle. Purpose.
We chose Jonah because we had been given another chance. In the end, it looks like Jonah chose us to teach us how to live.