to marry a man named Earnest” [so say Gwendolyn and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest]
Wednesday night mum and I went to a soccer game to watch little children run up and down a field, circling a black and white ball like a pack of hounds on the hunt. The wind whipped across the field, making Ave’s long brown hair dance and and the curls of Merce’s auburn crown bounced wildly as the two girls spun in circles around us before falling to the blanket with laughter and giggles that grew more hoarse [and beautiful] as the night wound on.
Ave hugged her mother’s belly just after Eden scored and the entire sideline howled with delighted support at her flimsy and impish kick that sent the goalie sprawling in her attempt to block. It was no expert goal, not like the matches I am used to watching at the pub, but somehow, there was more glory in Eden’s lack of precision than in all Ronaldo’s fancy footwork.
Ave smiled and kissed the shirt over her mother’s bulging abdomen. “I love you, baby,” she said, just like Eden had last week when I was curled up sick on the overstuffed chair. “I love you,” she said with her gap toothed grin and wandering brown eyes that always speak of mystery and the whimsical nature she exudes as she dances through life. I swept her up into my arms the next time she ran by. “What should we name the baby?” I asked (as though “we” means I ought to have some say, a typical instance of my mouth running away before I’ve put proper thought to the words). “I don’t know!” she giggled and squirmed away.
We talked for a few minutes about names, and Ghena confessed that Jonathan had somewhat jokingly suggested Elkanah. I clapped my hands in bemused delight. “I always wanted to give that name to a child–as a middle name,” I admit quite readily for I know that Ghena and my mother will not think it odd for me to have such unusual tastes.
I have alwaysa wanted to name a child for Hannah’s husband who was the favoured though she could bear no children.I love Elkanah, giving her a greater portion of meat though she had given him no sons. I can see him just wiping away her tears, drawing him into the safety of his arms and whispering for her to hush. “Am I not more to you than ten sons?” And with her face pressed against his chest, the salty tears absorbed into the rough weave of his tunic, she would find some comfort and then–one day–God did an even more miraculous thing than giving her a husband who adored his barren wife. He gave her a son.
And I’ve always wanted to name a child that, because I always wanted to marry a man like that and to be loved in the way that Elkanah loved Hannah.
But today, on my way to work a song filtered out through my stereo: something by Jars of Clay’s album Who We Are Instead and among all the things I was reminded of this morning on my rushed commute in the blinding sunlight this one stuck.
I already have someone who loves me like that. And I need to stop looking for it to be affirmed in the presence of a man who will “put up with me” and take me in as a part of himself. Because, I already have better than that. It’s hard to write this. I’m looking out at my neighbour’s front porch where two adirondacks sit side by side beneath a flower box and trailing vine. Will I ever have someone to sit in the adirondack next to me and watch the sunset? Will I have someone pull the veil away and gently break down the barriers that I’ve drawn up around my heart? Will there be someone who’ll be patient with the heart that I’ve turned into a drifter and give me roots without taking away my wings?
But Jesus, in so many ways, he’s already done those things. I do have roots, they just aren’t here. And I do have someone who’s putting up with me, who’s been incredibly hurt by me and yet stands by and fights my battles. I have someone who walks along by my side and cups my chin and lifts my face when I want to bury it in shame and he tells me, I look like Him.
He makes me think that I can trust someone, and that sometime, he really will come to right all the things that we’ve done wrong and undo all the hurt we’ve caused and redeem all of creation to himself. And we will groan no more.