Sunday, November 7, 2010

The One I Love, Whose Name I Do Not Know

When our baby died almost a year ago it was only a tiny little fetus.  I did not have the opportunity to hold, name, (though while I was pregnant, our girls would call the baby, P.E.R.C.- the initials of names we were considering), or say goodbye .  Our dear friend and pastor, Gerry offered to hold a funeral for our child, but David and I decided not to have one.  I wonder now if that had been the right choice.  When babies die this way, this early, there seems to be an expectation in our society that we are to 'move on' and not spend too much time grieving, and I'm sure that influenced our decision.

Today is All Saints Sunday.  As I wrote in my previous post, November 1st was All Saints Day, but many congregations will remember those who have died in Christ today.  David and I talked about if we should include our baby among those who will be remembered, and I spoke with another dear friend and pastor, Mark, and we've made a different kind of decision for today.  Today, when the names of those in our congregation who have died this past year are named and remembered, our little one will be remembered too, as Baby Hawkins.  I wish we had a name for him or her, but I know she or he is not without one.  Revelation 2:17 says:
To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.
C.S. Lewis writes of this verse in The Problem of Pain
What can be more a man's own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note. Aristotle has told us that a city is a unity of unlikes, and St. Paul that a body is a unity of different members. Heaven is a city, and a Body, because the blessed remain eternally different: a society, because each has something to tell all the others - fresh and ever fresh news of the 'My God' whom each finds in Him whom all praise as 'Our God.' For doubtless the continually successful, yet never completed, attempt by each soul to communicate its unique vision to all others (and that by means whereof earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations) is also among the ends for which the individual was created.
Our child has a name, one more perfect and revealing than our family could have chosen, given by the One who loves perfectly, just as all the saints do.  Today is a day we don't just 'move on' or any other such ridiculous notion, but we remember, even as we look forward in hope. 


  1. I'm sorry this comment is so long after your original post as I am just tonight catching up on reading your blog entries that I have missed, but I wanted to let you know that I thought this was a beautifully written piece and I am sure difficult to write as well. When losing someone so close in the family I agree that we don't 'just' move on, but are forever changed by the memory of having them in our life. So I wanted to let you know that the words of your loving memory and tribute were read and appreciated.

  2. Thank you, Jeff. It was actually quite cathartic to write this, as it was in the wee morning hours of All Saints Sunday and my heart was breaking all over again. One never really knows what kind of impact events, joyful or tragic, will have.

    Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for marking the moment.