(here's Part 2)
After they took the baby off my chest, I realized we should share his name with my family who was there. We had chosen his first name already, and selected a few possibilities for a middle name, but several days before I'd told my husband that he got to make the final call on the middle name, so I really still didn't know which one he'd chosen.
"Caleb William" was the final call.
We chose the name Caleb because of the story of Caleb in the Bible. Caleb exemplifies brazen, fearless faithfulness to the call of God, even in the face of mightier opposition and the fear and unwillingness of his comrades to do battle with him. He never succumbed to peer pressure or to fear. He knew what he was about, believed that having God on his side really meant something, and because of his fearless stand, he not only changed his personal destiny, but the direction of an entire nation.
Considering our personal recent history, facing death and disease and one stressful roadblock after another as newlyweds, this story means a lot to us. We believe that God has promised us ultimate rest in His presence, and that we'll experience complete healing and complete peace on that day. Life will be rich, beyond our imagination, but before we experience that, we must first do battle. We have many enemies to battle, and it would be easy to lay down and say "no more!" It would be easy to succumb to weakness or fear, or to say our obstacles or our enemies are stronger than we are and will surely defeat us.
Caleb inspires us because he knew up-close how strong the enemy was, and even his friends encouraged a defensive posture, and admission of weakness and acknowledgement of defeat. Caleb said no. He took a stand for receiving the promise that was rightfully his not because he trusted in his own strength but because he believed that God was greater and stronger than the obstacles, and he believed that God's presence and favor carried more meaning than human power and might. It takes a lot to believe that, even and especially when it means disagreeing openly with people who are suppose to be your allies.
Our little baby took a stand against cancer and went with me in-utero under anesthesia to have my thyroid removed. Days later he accompanied us to the funeral of one of our dearest friends on this earth -- new life honoring the old and defying death.
I've done quite a bit of research on the name itself, and one of my favorite explanations comes from the website "Behind the Name":
Many name books / websites list the meaning of CALEB as "Dog". However, a simple look in a Hebrew / English dctionary one will see that "dog" in Hebrew is CELEB, not CALEB. **Note** the first vowel is different. CALEB is actually a compound word in Hebrew - something that is quite common in ancient Hebrew. Col (Cuf + Lamed) = all or whole. Lev (Lamed + Vet) = heart. Therefore, CALEB (or COLEV as pronounced in Hebrew) actually means "whole hearted". (source)
As for William, it happens to be a family name on both sides of our family, and it also honors our dear family friend, Liam (William Hennessy), who passed away in July 2013, quite unexpectedly. His funeral was the one that our baby attended in-utero. I can only be grateful that we decided to announce our pregnancy shortly before Liam passed, so he knew that the baby was expected and got to smile over that.
The meaning of the name William is just as inspirational as the personal heritage. Again from "Behind the Name":
From the Germanic name Willahelm, which was composed of the elements wil "will, desire" and helm "helmet, protection". (source)
Life can be a real big jerk sometimes. With that realization, and understanding the gravity of bringing another human into the world to experience life, we wanted to give our son a legacy: a legacy of fearless faithfulness, and the strong will of a warrior. The undercurrent is the belief that the battle pays off in the end.
* * *
So that's it! Our man-child was born big and strong and healthy: 8 pounds, 13 ounces, and 20.5 inches long. I got to try breast-feeding in the first hour, and he took to it well right away, improving his skills day by day in the first week.
He was immediately cute, if you ask his mama!
We are so thankful he's here in our family, and so full of happiness and fear and insecurity and joy at the opportunity to raise him.
He is totally awesome, and we can't wait to watch him grow up ... but not too quickly, please!