Until today, these words would only call to mind to a long-forgotten newspaper column or a quirky song by one your Pop’s favorite songwriters. But thanks to you, those words have a new point of reference – a little girl that has stolen my heart, as you have and will many others. Abby, they have named you. And dear you are. Dear Abby, indeed. I like the sound of that.
Speaking of sounds I like, the renderings of a beautifully crafted guitar in the hands of a soulful artist are among the sweetest I know. I am hopeful that you will come to feel that way too. The best of these players are in the habit of giving their most beloved instruments names. Layla, Lucille, and Trigger easily come to mind, and I’ll introduce you to them soon enough. Your Gram may not appreciate it, but I’m sure we will. You see, before my Lisa came along, the first great love of my life was an Ibanez Artist that I bought when I was just eighteen. I still have her. And I’ve always called her Abby. Imagine that. Back then she was the most beautiful thing I could imagine holding in my hands. Not anymore. Other, greater loves have come to in that place – and now one is there who shares the name. Dear Abby.
Your Pop the Picker is also Pop the Pastor. And so it also falls to me to unpack the biblical significance of that dear name. Abigail is a little-known lady from the book of First Samuel. Scripture tells us that she was beautiful and intelligent. This Abigail was also a brave risk-taker, generous in spirit, and discerning of people’s true hearts. And she was not afraid to see and tell the truth, even when it was uncomfortable to do so. She used all these attributes to make peace and protect others. And for it all, she was ultimately honored and blessed. My hope, my prayer, and my expectation is that you will embody these gifts and traits in ways that are true to who God has uniquely designed you to be. May you fit the name that so fits you, Dear Abby.
Your name in Hebrew means “My Father is Joy.” You are a child of joy sure enough. We saw that joy on the face of your father Jordan as he stood over you at birth. And it was there when you were first placed in your sweet mother Anna’s arms. Her tears of joy overtook her ability to utter the “I love you” she so wanted to say. But we all knew and shared the words and feelings she was reaching for and suspected, that somehow, you did too.
In time, you will know the story of the long, anxious, and uncertain road your parents traveled to bring you into this world. There’s so much for you to know about the families, the friends, and the faith that will give shape to the wonderful person you are destined to be. But till then, just know this: you are loved. Not for what you will do, look like, and be. But just for being who you are. In God’s family, and in this one, you get loved just for showing up. And Dear Abby, you are a child of ours and a child of God. And we are all so, so glad that you are here.