Saturday 30 December 2006

Emeth Alessandro

We finally made the announcement to the family Christmas afternoon: the baby's gender and name. We made them play a little game wherein we had printed each letter of the chosen name (first and middle) on a piece of paper in large, unique (sometimes confusing) fonts; all capital letters, with no space between the first and second name. We paged through these as fast as we could while everyone watched and tried to make out what it said.

Anne and Sandro weren't with us on Christmas, so it was quite lucky that it worked out, unplanned, that we met up with them a few days before Christmas. It was at their place that I actually printed out the letters for the game. We tried it on them. Sandro had a somewhat unfair advantage in that he recognised his own name immediately as it flipped by. Hilariously, it took Anne two more tries to get it; her patient husband, and now Emeth's-middle-namesake, sitting beside her the whole time waiting for her to figure it out. (It seems from the first few letters she got it into her head that it was a girl's name, so the "Alessandro" just didn't register with her.)

On Christmas afternoon, the rest of the family took about 3 tries to finally get it right as well, though many of them were very close from the start. Many of them noticed the "Sandro", but were not familiar with the full form of that name, which caused some confusion.

All in all, it was hopefully fun... or at least interesting... even if the traditional serendipity did not manage to make an explicit appearance. Actually, perhaps the serendipity was mine when Selena's mom asked what Emeth "meant" and I realised I had never even thought of this: suddenly, Selena announced that it means "Truth". I had not know that! Serendipitously, she recalled reading Lewis writing that to someone somewhere.

And, if you haven't got it yet, it's a boy!

As everyone knows, the name Istra Isabel was taken from C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces and Selena's Aunty Belle, respectively. In naming the one-on-the-way we decided to keep with this pattern of C.S. Lewis characters we admire joined up with a relative we admire.

We settled on a somewhat obscure (but theologically profound) character from the historically last book in the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, and we joined it up with the name of our brother-in-law. And with that we now await the birth of Emeth Alessandro.

Speaking of Selena, she wants to share the following passage from The Last Battle, to give some slight sense of the inspiration for the choice. The full story of Emeth can be found in chapter 10, and from the delightfully-wordy lips of Emeth himself taking up all of chapter 15 (and introduced in chapter 14). This is from towards the end of chapter 15:

[...] the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my [Emeth's] forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not beacause he and I are one, but because we are opposites. I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.

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