I looked toward the far horizon and shuttered. Dark cloud loomed to the west promising much needed rain and yet the potential of dreaded destruction. That’s how this land is. Sometimes giving life; sometimes taking it away.
“What’s wrong my husband?”
My wife could always read me. Always knew there was something on my mind no matter how much I sought to conceal it. I motioned with my eyes toward our eldest son and looked for words to express my heart. Ramah followed my gaze and nodded. She too sometimes wondered the same things I did. Even though they most often went unspoken.
“It has been three hundred years my wife and still no clear understanding. No fulfillment. Only wonderment.”
“I know. Many days, as I watch him take the sheep out to graze, I ask why? But I have no answer.”
There was nothing else to say. The same question had been asked a thousand different ways for three hundred years. I can still hear our eldest draw in his first gasp of life and let out his first wail of complaint that night he was born. After patting Ramah on the arm and stroking his hair I walked into the night sand to consider what this boy should be named. A sizable list of ancestors already had formed in my mind but none seemed right. I could find no peace.
“What disturbs you my son?”
I turned, startled that I had so easily allowed someone to slip up on me. The newcomer looked familiar and yet foreign. Someone who didn’t really belong here at all. Before I could stop myself I was answering his question.
“No name seems appropriate for his destiny. I cannot find satisfaction in any I have chosen.”
The stranger took one step closer. All I could see of him was the gentleness and yet resolve of his face. It was uncomfortable standing in front of him so I sat on the sands as he stood over me and looked down.
“When he dies it shall happen.”
“What? That is the name I should give my firstborn son. Why he would live like a dark cloud that frightens all those around him. Why should I give my son such a name?”
“Because, when he dies it shall happen.”
I looked up to protest but the man was gone. Vanished into the blowing sands of the night.
Now here I sat three hundred years later watching the storm clouds gather on the horizon. I have never known why my son was so named. But I have been visited by the stranger many times since. I should say friend because he ceased being a stranger long ago. Ramah asks me from time to time who it is I talk to in the night time and why he comes and goes as he does.
“His ways are not our ways,” is the only answer I can offer.
The storm grew with intensity. Lightning flashes in the distance, the sound of muffled thunder following shortly behind it. In one of the flashes I saw someone on the far hill. He motioned with his arm for me to come to him. But he stood on the fringes of the storm. Could he not come closer? But as always; something drew me to the one who named our son. I walked to him and he smiled.
“Is this the day you will finally tell me the meaning of my son’s name.”
“When he dies it will come?”
“Yes old friend. Can I at last know the meaning?
The man standing before me reached up and removed the hood that had always covered most of his face. Something he had never done before. As he did, the darkness of the storm melted away and a light bright as noon enveloped both of us. He pointed in the direction of the storm, it’s darkness now overwhelmed by the light.
“There is a great storm coming my friend. Your son will serve to remind all that heed who I am. But you will not see that storm. It is time.”
I wanted to know more, needed to know more.
Instead he reached out his hand.“Take a little walk with me Enoch and all your questions will be answered.”
And so I did.
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