This is part of a series of things previously written, this one being a university assignment that had me doing some research and self-discovery. For the series’ preface, read this.

There stood before the small company of Israelite warriors a sea of Philistines so numerous, the Reubenite couldn’t make out the ground beneath them. This enemy had always been eager to crush them, jumping at every opportune weakness. With teeth and spears bared, the Philistines seemed to barely contain themselves as they waited to be the ones to end the Israelite’s existence. The Reubenite, son of Shiza, glanced at their leader and King, David.

The son of Jesse, he had been a lowly shepherd when he was chosen to be Israel’s next king. David went on to defeat the giant Goliath with only a sling and stones, write beautiful Psalms, and champion the oppressed even while his life was in danger from the current and jealous King of Israel. David was a King who was not afraid to follow his God even when it seemed hopeless and out of place, and lived in faith of the Israelite’s victory.

The Reubenite admired his strength, faith, and courage and so stood beside him, back straight, in the face of death. David reached down and drew the sword from the sheath at his side, and he held it high for a moment, a glimmer of the high afternoon sun reflecting off his weapon. Their company followed his movements without hesitation and when a fearsome bellow erupted from their leader, the Reubenite was the first to follow suit. When David dashed toward the Philistines, sword and shield flashing, the Reubenite was right beside him; his eyes and mind were clear as he barreled forward without hesitation into a field of their victory. His name was Adina.

The most common meaning of this name – my name – is gentle. According to dictionary.com, gentle means “kindly, amiable; moderate; not severe, rough, or violent.” Strange then that a fearsome warrior listed in 1 Chronicles 11:42 who was noted for his bravery, should share that name. A Hebrew family friend theorized it was actually a nickname for this warrior. This seems more sensical to me since other words used to describe my name are noble, delicate, slender, desire, refined, voluptuous, soft, etc. You get the idea. Hebrew in origin, my name comes from various nouns and adjectives of the same language (Eden, Edna, Adin) that mean delight, luxury, and pleasure. That surprised me some, then it had me chuckling.

I’ve always liked my name because it fits me and my Christian heritage. I often receive comments of “Oh, how unique!” or “That’s beautiful!” Though when I go to Starbucks and they write my name on my drink, I can almost guarantee you it’s going to be spelled wrong. I could have been a Katie (pure), a Carissa (beloved, grace), or an Eggbertina. Or even a Brodie (fortification, ditch) or Brainerd if one chromosome had its way.

Okay, Eggbertina and Brainerd weren’t actually in the running but when people asked my mom what the baby’s name would be, she responded with two possibilities: Eggbertina for a girl and Brainerd for a boy. After allowing the poor inquirer to release their nervous laughter, she explained she had just been kidding. When I first heard that, for a split second I had a similar reaction – but just for a split second.

Of all the things I share a name with – an East Asian shrub, a town in Southeastern Ghana, an ancient Hebrew warrior, an American Juice company, an actress, an R&B singer, a 17th-century Italian opera, and an ancient settlement in modern Romania – my favourite is the warrior.

Through interesting etymology, wrong spellings, and soft meanings, it’s the meaning that makes me. Adina was a courageous warrior, but I think he was warmhearted first. Like him, it’s through my kindness that I will be dauntless. I am my name: I am unique, sometimes I am spelled wrong by others, but I am softly steadfast.

 

November 2013

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