14 September 2007

listening to the rain


A little stuffed toy called a "sleep sheep" is attached with a strip of velcro to Eli's crib. It plays four different sounds, including the rhythmic pounding of mother's heartbeat and the eerie echo of a whale. My favorite though, and I assume Eli's by now, is the second button: falling rain. It's soft, steady, and extremely calming. Before each nap or bedtime, I sit rocking Eli in a stuffed brown chair in the corner of his darkened room letting the pulsating rain lull us both. Eli has the most beautiful profile and the longest eyelashes, both which seem magically illuminated to me in the dark.

We chose Eli's name for a few reasons. It means ascended in Hebrew. That's not why we chose it though. Some of our dearest friends have a son named Elijah. They call him Eli and he is one of our favorite little kids in the world. He has a sweetness and a curiosity similar to our Eli, so it seems even more fitting in retrospect. Jeremy suggested the name Eli over lunch on the day of the ultrasound that revealed we were expecting a boy. I was excited immediately because it's a name I have loved for years. We decided to think on it and consult our list of boy names so as not to make such an important decision too hastily.


In the weeks that followed, whenever leaning close to my stomach to talk to the baby, Jeremy continued to call him Eli. One morning I finally said, "We should decide on his name. We can't keep calling him Eli if we're going to end up naming him something else." Prior to this, we'd been referring to the baby as either "the bean" or "little monkey." Neither of those were in the running to end up on the birth certificate though.

One of our favorite artists, Rich Mullins, had a song called "Eli's Song." We pulled it up on iTunes that morning and both became teary as we listened to the words and imagined "grace from the tiny hands" of the son wiggling around in my womb. Before the end of the first chorus, we knew Eli was the perfect name.


September 19th marks the tenth anniversary of Rich Mullins' death in a car accident. Like other significant and tragic events, both Jeremy and I still remember where we were when we heard the news. I was at the Houston Galleria, shopping with my friend Derek, when his brother called to tell him. I remember the stunned look on his face and how he barely said anything for a long time after he hung up the phone. Rich's music, and the simple, selfless way he lived his life inspired so many people we know. His music definitely had a profound effect on Jeremy and the kind of artist he aspired to be early in his career. To honor Rich's memory, Jeremy will be playing a tribute concert here in Nashville next week with some other musician friends.

Nowadays we have many nicknames for Eli. Jeremy calls him Mr. Chips [don't quite know where that came from.] We both call him Pip--or Pippin--a lot. Occasionally we mistake him for the dog and call him Sam (only occasionally.) But no matter what we call him day to day, Eli will always be the name we gave to him, one we find as beautiful as the song that etched it into being.

Eli's Song

O Eli
There's a sanctity in your innocence
A certain beauty and no uncertain strength
That brings me to the faith
I don't know if I
If I am climbing to or falling in
But it comes like grace from your tiny hands
When I hold you in mine
And I pray that the eyes
Of your heart
Shine bright
With the hope to which you're called
And may you know with all the saints
The height, the depth, the width, and the length
Of the love of God

O Eli
There's a joy in your sweet abandon
Like the cowgirl ballerina
Leaves that ride
The wild and holy bucking wind that the sky
Sent through you to blow away these walls I've built
That leave me free to be a child
And I pray that the eyes
Of your heart
Shine bright
With the hope to which you're called
And may you know with all the saints
The height, the depth, the width, and the length
Of the love of God

O Eli
There's a joy in your sweet abandon
Like the cowgirl ballerina
Leaves that ride
The wild and holy bucking wind that the sky...

4 comments:

Jenni said...

I loved the lyrics when you shared them before, but I finally purchased the song from iTunes today. What a perfect song for Eli - a perfect name. Rich Mullins was quite a songwriter.

clyde said...

thanks for sharing this.

Christine said...

Eli always seems to have a look of gentle wonder and peace in the photos you post. I love that.

Amy Alexander said...

What a beautiful song. His profile picture is astounding!