I've been meaning to post something since Ethan was born on Jan 13. But you know how it is - between feeds, washing, getting food, and tidying up - there's hardly time to breathe. And for the first week, we were hospital-bound anyway. But today, I thought it timely to break blog-silence to announce the official NAMING of Ethan.
I trudged up to the National Registration Department office at Tmn Maluri today and penned it down - YAP ETHAN. It's final. He's going to have live with it all his life, answer to it, introduce himself by it. He is Ethan. Ethan is pronounced EE-than. It is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "firmness, steadfastness, constancy". From the Bible, Ethan is a wise man, an Ezrahite, in Solomons time, son of Zerah son of Judah; the father of Azariah,son of Zimmah, of Gershom of Levi; ancestor of Asaph; the father of Adaiah,son of Kishi (Merari Levi); a worship leader in David's time (1Ki 4:31 Psa 89:1 1Ch 2:6 1Ch 2:8 1Ch 6:42 1Ch 6:44 1Ch 15:17 1Ch 15:19). He's the guy who gave us 'I will sing of the mercies of the Lord, forever'. No, he was not named after Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible or the actor Ethan Hawke!
The Chinese name was a bit tricky though. But we had very simple criteria: names that sound like Ethan, and has a meaning congruent to it.
With the inexhaustible and wondrous resources of the internet - we found it. All it takes is a good Chinese-English dictionary that can search for PinYin phonetics and display corresponding Chinese words and their meanings. We fell in love with two names - Yi(4) which means 'resolute and decisive', and Deng (4) which means 'path up a mountain'. I think the names say it all. Not that we expect a hard and laborious life for him. But it certainly speaks both of the struggle he has been through already, and the spiritual journey all of us must make.
And my dad, the self-taught Chinese linguistic expert was happy to clear it.
Naming a child certainly has all the import of aspiration and intuition we read of in the Bible. Something deep within tells us that the child has such intrinsic traits and in some way the name spells out his destiny. It also defines our aspirations, and the way we hope to bring him up - with a sense of grit and readiness to face life head on; knowing the God who calls him, and what he is called to.
Well, apart from all that destiny-conscious talk, we think he's just mighty adorable and helluva rascal. Guess you gotta have mischief and a sense of humor to make it through the terrain of life's steep ascent.