We call her Jubi, or Jubi Sue, or sometimes Jubes. But her name is Jubilee, and she loves her name.
The other day her daddy wrote “Jubi” on her paper cup and she was not happy.
“Where are the rest of the letters, Daddy?” she asked with a frown. “My name has an l and two ees.”
We always knew our first daughter would be named Jubilee. Even before we knew she’d be adopted, though the meaning is fitting for adoption, referring to the Year of Jubilee in the Bible when everybody is given a clean slate and a second chance.
In our case, actually, the name is especially fitting. Jubilee is the first daughter in many generations of women not to be raised by an alcoholic father. The cycle has been broken! Jubilee!
We hope our daughter will always love her name. We hope, too, that she will think on her former name – Yong Yu Hong – with sober pride. “Yong” was the surname of her orphanage director, given to every child who came through the home. “Yu Hong” was given to her by someone at some point, but she was called, affectionately, “Hong Hong” by her more recent caretakers. Living in China as we do, we have let her keep the pet name “Hong Hong” for use in Chinese-speaking circles, and it fits her well.
Names are a big deal. I have written a novel, for example, and have just started the publication process. The reason I’d like it published is to reach others with the message of God’s love. But I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be neat to see my name in print. It feels good to be known.
That’s why it hurts when an acquaintance forgets your name, or a good friend spells your name wrong on an invitation.
And it’s just one of the many reasons why orphans have such vacant expressions in pictures. Nobody knows them! Many will never be known. Many will never be given a well-thought-out name by a set of doting parents.
And my book – which I’ve worked on for the better part of two years and into which I’ve poured my heart and soul – may never get published.
But thankfully for all of us, there is One who knows us intimately, who made each of us carefully and has never taken his eyes from us. He knows our names. He knows how to spell them. He has read my book and I bet he loves it.
And one day, I will come before him and I will see my name in print in the book of life. I will hear my name rolling off God’s tongue and I will shudder with joy at the sound.