Today is what would have been the mama's youngest brother's actually birthday, he was a Leap Year day baby. The mama thought long and hard about some way to make this a special day, and decided that the most special way for her was something Savannah related. So, the mama is posting the speech the she wrote and gave at Savannah's Hebrew naming ceremony in the Fall of 2010.
Genesis 24: 15-20
Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. […] 16 The girl was very beautiful […] She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water from your jar."
18 "Drink, my lord," she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking." 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels.
We have given our daughter the name Rebekah in memory of her uncle, Kenny. At first glance it is not obvious why this name honors Kenny’s memory. First, let me tell you that Kenneth means “handsome.”
Jon and I began to look for names for Savannah that would reflect the meaning of Kenny’s name and honor the person that he was. We decided upon the name Rebekah, a woman who is called beautiful. Upon reading the story of Rebekah we learned that she is not only physically beautiful, but inwardly beautiful. She possessed a servant’s heart, giving water to not only a stranger but to his camels.
Kenny was a beautiful baby. Dare I say the most beautiful of the Fischer children? He had flawless fair skin, clear blue eyes, and gorgeous blonde locks. And, well, Jon and I (perhaps bias) see the same physical beauty in Savannah. Just look at her, beautiful blue eyes, a gorgeous head of hair, perfect little lips, long eye lashes and a smile that lights up a room. But physical beauty, while nice, is not how we want Savannah to know Kenny.
Rather, we hope for our daughter that her name, Rebekah, will evoke a passion, a desire, to strive for a servant’s heart – giving of herself and serving others’ needs, as her uncle Kenny did. This is true and lasting beauty.
Those that knew Kenny may not immediately see him as an example of a servant. Kenny was, hmm, somewhat of a trouble maker. As a child, he was spirited, the fun one, but not one to be pushed around, and always had come back to any comment. He was the kid that graciously played Barbies with his sisters, but would also stick his feet in our faces and swear they smelled like strawberries. As he became a teenager and into high school, his spirited ways would sometimes veer him off the straight and narrow path. Like at church camp where he stole the thumbs off the Jesus statue. And many other stories I won’t rehash here that convinced my parents Kenny was far more likely to end up in jail than in college.
Most would say that Kenny was living for himself, for his own personal happiness, and not living an example of servanthood. At that point, he would not be the person I would choose to honor in naming my child.
After Kenny became sick, he moved back home to live with my parents. During this time, I began to take notice of the constant visits from his friends. Friends, both male and female, from every sort of high school clique (jocks, stoners, popular kids, unpopular kids, band kids, geeky kids, etc.) and friends from church. The house was ever populated (literally all hours of the day) with these friends, friends that wanted to hang-out for hours in a house that had not yet discovered cable television, with a kid who was wheelchair bound. These were truly friends and not mere acquaintances that only visited to be polite.
It was during this time that I discovered his true beauty; that he did have a servant’s heart. It was obvious that during his life, when he was well, he had used his humor, his wit, his kindness and his talents to serve others, his servant hood was not forgotten – his friends became his servant in his time of need. He, while imperfect, was a man of godly character.
Jon and I mean it when we say that we don’t care what Savannah does with her life when it comes to education or career (although we have our ideas of what path she should take), we desire nothing more than for our Savannah to be a good person. That she not be self-serving but rather that she seeks to have a servant’s heart, knowing that even when mistakes are made, like her uncle Kenny, she can still aim to serve the real needs of others.
Therefore, our dear daughter, we will endeavor to teach you to live your life through the examples of your uncle Kenny, and the biblical story of Rebekah, who was described as very beautiful, who put herself through a lot of hard work for no apparent gain. She was a woman of godly character. We pray you to will become a person of godly character.
With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might I thank you, God for the gift of this wonderful child. I thank you for a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery and a speedy recovery.
With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might I pray for the continued health of this child. I pray for her to be strong in mind and body, to grow steadily and sturdily in a home filled with joy. I pray for her to become a person who greets the world with passion, courage, humility, humor and patience.
With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might I pray for God to watch over me and my family. I pray for the ability to love and nurture this child to provide for her and educate her, to understand her and to allow her the freedom to grow.