“For pity’s sake, let’s stay away from ‘E’ and ‘H’ names…” I said to my wife.
All of our kids’ names start with E or H.
We didn’t do it on purpose.
Especially with the names that came latest, Eden and Hope, it was total happenstance.
We’d always rather been against “doing a pattern.”
So I wasn’t about to force things with our new son, though “Ephraim” topped Tammy’s list of favorites for quite awhile.
Ephraim, you’ll recall, was one of Joseph’s two sons, and became, like his older brother Manasseh, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was, as the younger brother, placed on the left when Joseph presented his sons to be blessed by their grandfather, Jacob. Jacob, however, crossed his right and left hands and gave the greater blessing to Ephraim. “Ephraim” carries the meanings of “fruitful,” “two-fold increase,” “I am twice fruitful,” etc.
But I personally didn’t really care for the name for our son.
We kept thinking.
“What about Everett?” I said one day, perched on the same couch I sit on now, writing this post.
Odd, since “E” names were the opposite of what I’d been trying to think of.
“Everett” just came out.
“Hmm!…” Tammy liked it.
We put it on the list.
And looked it up, finding that it carries the meanings of “strong” and “brave” and also shares common origins with the name “Everest” (though both are more common as last names.) The tie-in to Mt. Everest is cool, as our city is one of the jumping-off points for people headed to Lhasa, and then on to Everest. (I’ve got my own dreams for visiting Base Camp next year, in fact.)
After mulling “Everett” over for a few days, we took a family Sunday drive to the mountains just south of us. We’ve gone there before, but never on a day as clear as this one. As soon as we got on the expressway headed south, we saw snowcaps.
And Tammy said: “That’s it! His name’s Everett.”
Not that we were seeing Mt. Everest, far from it. But the mountains were truly inspiring seen so suddenly, when most of the time pollution and buildings prevent us from seeing them at all.
Everett. We all agreed it was perfect.
But that’s not the goose bump part.
On this blog, I’ve referred several times to the book I’ve been writing for the past couple of years, an adoption memoir. Lily’s story. But I’ve never revealed the title.
I find I’m sort of stuck, and have to reveal it now if I’m to tell the rest of this Everett story. So…in a sort of back-door, no drum-roll announcement, here’s my book’s working title:
Lily Was the Valley.
It was birthed pretty early on in the process, and I’ll have to admit I’ve grown rather fond of it. Though I know if I ever get a publisher other than Yours Truly Sweat & Tears, retaining titling rights is not a given. But I can still fight for it, right?
I have also recently shared on this blog the story of a pain of Tammy’s (and mine) linked to another story linked to the chorus containing the line “He can move the mountains.” (Read that here if you haven’t yet.)
So anyway, as we continued driving towards those snowcaps, saying our new son’s name over and again to get used to it…
Enoch, playing off the title of my book, said from the back seat:
“Everett Was the Mountain.”
Boom. In that moment God put his finger on Tammy’s heart, on exactly that spot of pain, and healed her in a way she’d never known there. We shared a teary look, then turned ahead to watch the mountains grow nearer.
Certainly we have had our share of unanswered questions in this journey called Adoption. But how great on that day to have him be so clear:
“I see you. When you walked your valley, I saw then, too: I felt what you felt. And way back then, I saw this boy. I knew that I would one day put him into your family even though you insisted you could not, and never would, adopt an older child. That was a mountain.
“So was his fear no family would ever choose him. That was a mountain.
“I still move mountains.”
If I ever write a memoir sequel to Lily Was the Valley, I may have to credit Enoch with coming up with one cool title.
[If you have a word of Welcome for Everett Ephraim Johnson, would you leave it in the comment section? We will read/translate it for him as soon as he comes home. And save it up for him to have for himself once he learns English.]