His name was Roar. Not the monosyllabic English or American “roar,” as in the meaningless voice of chaos. But the Norwegian “Roo-Arr” – a name existing in two distinct parts – which sings “mighty spearman,” conscious of a before and an after, reaching back and then thrusting forward. The name begins and ends with the rolling “r” unique to the Norse, like a wave breaking at the front of the mouth close behind puckered lips – not the rolling “r” familiar to Spanish speakers that plays coyly mid-mouth or the more subtle rolling “r” of the French that lurks in false modesty at the back of the throat.
Roar’s father, Thor (pronounced like “tour”) had been born into the Norway of gifted craftsmen who could work in metal or wood, a Norway of peaceful farmers, fisherman, and fabricators who thought neutrality would keep them out of the generational wars of Europe. Neutrality failed the people of Norway, the years of military occupation broke some, and when peace came, Thor boarded a ship for the promise of America. Thor looked for America to be a sanctuary, a fresh start, a place of health and healing where a skilled man could rise to the level of his expertise and vision. Perhaps he made a mistake not continuing on to the Midwest where he might have found others of his native tongue who had made the same migration. But Thor settled in a working-class town of immigrants who spoke other languages and formed bonds based on the customs and cultures of other countries. The skilled craftsman found work as a janitor, raised his family, and enjoyed peace, health, and solitude. Along came three daughters – Astrid, Ingrid, and Emily – who grew up tall, sturdy, and virtuous and married suitable mates, a baker, a barber, and a miller, like some Scandinavian nursery rhyme. When Roar was born, they gave him a name that meant “skilled warrior” having learned that neutrality was not a winning strategy. They raised him to be strong, honest, and curious and taught him the many skills Thor used in his small backyard shop – mastering metal, fire, and wood. When Roar came of age, Thor bestowed on him the American dollars he had put aside over many years for his education and sent him off in his old pickup truck to learn to speak and write the languages of commerce and law and find his way. Roar studied at the university during the hippy years, where he blended in, though his appearance was more the result of thrift and modesty than intentional fashion. He found Cyndal, a girl who fit him like a spoon, and they talked of a future together. He studied hard and excelled in all things practical and finished his engineering degree in three years.
One of Roar’s professors showed him an ad seeking “a man who could do almost anything.” He told Roar to say, “Abrams sent me.” He put on his only suit, navy blue and two years too tight, he combed his hair and beard, and headed up Route 1 until he came to a sign for Snug Harbor Marina. The name “Abrams” got him in, and the head mechanic asked him over and over again, what’s the difference between this engine and that engine, this part and that part, and finally, pointing to a diesel engine in a fishing boat, “Start it.”
Roar climbed into the engine compartment and after five minutes of caressing, inspecting, and detecting, he climbed out. “Won’t start.”
“Fuel pumps dead.” Roar wiped his hands on a rag from the workbench. “At least one of the fuel lines is faulty. It’ll have to be replaced. They should all be replaced while you’re at it, or they’ll all fail one by one.”
“I’m calling you ‘Roger’. You want the job, Roger?”
“That’s it? You don’t have to talk to anyone else?”
“Why should I. It’s my marina. Sam Fuller.” The two men shook hands firmly.
Roar had landed in a place where people worked hard out of necessity – fisherman, carpenters, mechanics. The people in the resort towns and county seats farther north called them “swamp Yankees” or “swampuhs.” Their families had been here for generations. They seldom traveled more than fifteen miles from where they were born – which was right here. They judged you on whether you knew the value of a dollar and whether you kept your word. It mattered more what you said than how you said it. Their handshakes were firm because their livelihoods depended on strong hands. Roar liked people like Sam Fuller at the marina and the fishermen whose boats he worked on and the tradesmen he in turn depended on in their stores and shops along Route 1. It’s not to say that there weren’t characters – including some unsavory ones – but even they were constrained by the hard facts of life along the seashore. Roar was not a swampuh, but he shared their hard-tack values.
He left Snug Harbor with a job, and rather than heading back the way he came, he turned onto Route 1A and meandered along the coast. He came upon a large sign, “Land for Sale / 4.5 acres,” with a map showing a red spearhead that ran from Route 1A down to the shoreline. He edged his truck into the dirt track behind the sign and pushed into the lot. He passed a patch of primroses and low fruit trees along the road that hid an area of grasses and low, gnarled trees, and another clearing where someone had abandoned a half dozen shipping containers, splintered telephone poles, and miscellaneous refuse, and finally, he came to a high grassy bluff that dropped down a rocky cliff face to a narrow beach. Getting out of the truck, still wearing his blue suit, Roar walked to the border where the high grass gave way to the rocky ledge. To the east, he could see a simple shack with an assortment of flags and railings and signs – a beach club of the sort common to the area. To the west, he could see a long stretch of sandy beach reaching to a colorful Victorian-style house standing on another rocky outcropping. He sat down at the edge of the grass and looked outward over the sea, where wind and waves fetched unimpeded across the curvature of the earth until they reached Bermuda, and the seaside symphony played.
Roar had finished his degree in three years, and he took the funds meant for his fourth year and bought the parcel of land where he had seen his vision. He found a well-used bobcat earth mover, a used gasoline generator, and a patchwork welding kit and had them delivered to his land.
On the first of May, a week before he was to begin working at Snug Harbor Marina, he pulled into his vacant lot and unloaded his pickup – hand tools, clothes, and personal effects. His first night, he pitched a tent and slept the deep, dream-filled sleep of necessity. When he woke, he bathed in the ocean, and he remembered the words of Jacob at Bethel: “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” The second day, he obtained permission to use the employee showers at the marina. Roar drove down to the marina every morning to see what work was lined up, and after applying his hand where he could, he would return to his parcel of land and continue the slow process of creation. By the end of his first thirty days, Roar had measured and sketched and committed his inspiration to paper; and he had submitted all the necessary plans and permit applications to begin working the site.
The month of June was spent preparing the work site, leveling off the bluff and moving dirt around with his bobcat until he found ledge. He augured holes for fifty footings, sunk footing tubes, and mixed and poured concrete by hand, with a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Once footings were poured and cured, he ordered twenty-five sixteen-foot steel I-beams and dragged and nudged them into place and then dragged and nudged his six steel shipping containers into position, two by two, making a large “Z”. The containers sat just far enough back from the edge of the cliff so that no one on the beach below could see them. He drew the containers tightly together with high-strength structural bolts and finally welds. He took up his cutting torch to cut doors, windows, and inner passageways through the steel container walls. And, finally, he moved the earth that he had removed for construction and created a gradual slope that completely hid the building from the north, so that anyone approaching from the direction of the road would see nothing until they were literally on top of it looking out in the direction of Bermuda.
In July, he constructed two electrical generators of his father, Thor’s, design. One, a dual turbine wave generator, contained one turbine free to move as waves rolled in and another free to turn as water went back out. The motion of the two was converted by a clutch and flywheel and sealed tightly against the elements. This unit floated just below the surface of the water and was fixed at a certain distance from the shore beyond the surf break by virtue of marine anchors that allowed it a range of motion. The second unit he built was a vertical columnar windmill standing eighteen feet high and based ten feet off the ground. From these two novel devices, he ran power into the site.
In August, he bartered for drilling services to put in a wellhead and then pumped his own well water to the compound. He went down to the town offices and copied plans for septic systems, drafted them onto plots of his land, and got them approved by the no-nonsense swamp Yankees that ran the town. He then dug out a septic tank and leaching field according to the plans, had a concrete tank delivered and dropped into place, and dug the trench to his compound. By the end of August, he had running water and indoor plumbing.
In September, Roar roughed in all door and window openings and installed exterior doors and windows along the south walls. He was able to schedule inspections and apply for an occupancy permit before the end of the month. Days were getting shorter and evenings cooler, and he welcomed the move from his tent into his house.
But October was cold, and work picked up at the marina, with boats to be put in storage and engines to be winterized. When not working at the marina, he was able to move all his belongings into his storage-container villa so that he could continue working to finish his interior spaces – framing, flooring, insulation, plumbing, electrical, and then drywall throughout the structure. By the end of the first week of December, Roar was able to rest, pleased with his work and the way his vision had becoming a reality. In addition to the wild beauty of the location, there could now be seen the shape and function of his design, a structure to house a family.
From time to time, Roar would sit at the edge of the ledge looking out to sea, at the same spot that he had his first vision. Occasionally, he would see a grey and white dog, apparently stray, loping along looking for something edible, occasionally digging and jumping at crabs, sniffing at what the waves washed up on the sand. Roar would whistle. The dog would stop and look up – and then continue on his way, searching the sand tirelessly. Under his breath, Roar would say, “You are Tanngrisnir – hunger.” Roar began tossing out some bread or lunchmeat. At first the dog would run off and then stealthily circle back to pick up the food. Roar became increasingly aware of the presence and the watchful eyes of the grey. Eventually, the dog approached him, crouching, head low. But if Roar looked directly at him, he stayed perfectly still. If he looked away, the dog crept closer. Roar whistled to the dog. The dog’s ears perked up. Roar whistled again and the dog stood up and started slowly walking closer. Roar held his hand out. The dog loped up to Roar. Cautiously he sniffed at his hand and the piece of sausage he held. He took it and backed away several feet.
From that time on, he never left the property without Roar. Roar never called him by name. He would just give a long whistle and the dog would come to his side. Two short bursts would send him out as if to scout or patrol, and he would run out and then work his way back as if herding whatever might be in the field. Otherwise, the dog would sit alongside Roar and look whichever direction Roar was looking, facing the way Roar faced, glancing over frequently to catch any change in his focus.
As if months were days, Roar moved from start to completion turning his vision into reality. Within his home, he had dispelled darkness, provided water, established a new ceiling, mastered the plants and trees, and even brought in a living creature. And it was good and he was satisfied.
In January, with one room – the living room – finished except for paint, Roar brought Cyndal down to see his handywork. Showing her what he had done so far and explaining what he had yet to do, he prepared dinner in his roughed-in kitchen and laid out a table made of sawhorses and a sheet of plywood. He asked Cyndal to join him in his adventure as his wife. She enthusiastically agreed, giving Roar a big kiss. The dog sat up and gave a whimper. “What’s your dog’s name?”
Roar stared at the dog, who looked back at him intently. “Tanngrisnir, the grey wolf of Odin. The name means ‘hunger.’”
Cyndal said, “I don’t think he’s Tansgransnar anymore – whatever you said. He needs a new name. . . Aeolus?” She gave a pained smile. “It means ‘agile’ or ‘keeper of the winds.’”
Roar looked puzzled, “Aeolus, sure, Aeolus.”
The next May, Cyndal graduated with her degree in botany, and they were married in June. When Roar brought her home for the first time, Aeolus greeted her as if they had been separated at birth. Cyndal made sure Aeolus was fed each morning. Cyndal saw to it that he was made an honest family dog in the eyes of the town. She took him to the vet for his shots. He soon had his own place in Roar’s container compound.
By this time, Roar had finished the structural and functional parts of the house. Now, Cyndal applied the finishing touches of paint and furnishings. By September, the house was basically finished: good-sized living room, dining room, kitchen, four bedrooms and two baths. Roar had landscaped much of the compound. Cyndal laid out and planned a vegetable garden to put in the following spring. That Labor Day her thoughts naturally turned to starting a family.
Over the next seven years, things changed, as they always do. At first Roar and Cyndal went up to Route 1 for groceries, sundries, and necessities. As the shore continued to draw more upscale visitors and then residents, it attracted the kind of people that bought vacation homes rather than year-round homes, the kind of people who bought cottages along the shore only to knock them down and build luxury homes. As the population became more upscale, more and more businesses opened along Route 1A catering to that more upscale clientele. The beach club expanded hours, amenities, and membership. The old Victorian to the west was bought and sold. The Warrens turned it over to the Dinwiddies for a lot of money, and the Dinwiddies behaved much like the Masons had before them. The neighbors made like good neighbors. Roar maintained and upgraded his house, and Roar, Cyndal, and Aeolus kept very much to themselves. Roar and Cyndal continued to do their shopping up north of Route 1, patronizing the swampuhs.
Meanwhile, word spread more and more about the capable man that worked at the marina, and Sam Fuller’s business prospered. In addition to fisherman and small boat owners, the marina started handling a larger pleasure-boat clientele – yacht owners. Where, in the past, work over the winter consisted mainly of winter maintenance and overhauling of fishing vessels, Snug Harbor Marina obtained a growing volume of work contracts for repair and refitting of premium yachts. After several years of seeing Roar laboring, like Laban to Jacob, Sam Fuller said to Roar, “The Marina is growing, and you’re the main reason. On top of your current pay, I’m going to pay you a commission on the work you do.” Fuller smiled slyly. “You will be a happy man.” And professionally, he was a happy man. But after seven years, Cyndal and Roar focused more and more on starting a family – a yearning that went unsatisfied. Roar’s eighth summer at the shore began with the discordant undertone of hope deferred.
One day that June, Sam Fuller pulled Roar aside, looking serious. “Roger,” Sam seemed to catch his breath. “I’m going to have to step back.” He looked at Roar, seeming unsure how much to say.
Roar stared blankly. “What do you mean?”
“I’m going to have to step back from running the business. I’m bringing my son in to run the marina.” Sam looked pained. “My son, Jason, will be coming in to learn the business.” He watched Roar’s face. “Doctor’s orders.”
Jason Fuller started the next Monday and that afternoon he pulled Roar into his office.
“Roj! Have a seat.” Jason Fuller wore a blue oxford shirt with sharp creased sleeves and a starched collar. “My father speaks very highly of your work. He thinks you’re a big part of his success.”
“Thank you.” Roar responded. “That’s very kind.”
Jason smiled to himself. “I agree.” He looked at Roar. His smile seemed to slip away. He picked up a baseball from a stand on his desk – his father’s desk – and leaned back in his chair, tossing the ball it into the air and catching it again. He talked as if to the ceiling. “You know what this business really needs, Roger? We need to really push on sales.” He looked back at Roar. “What you do is important, no doubt about that. We need someone doing . . . that stuff. But we also need someone bringing in the customers and the cha-ching,” he said, bringing the ball forward in the direction of Roar’s chin as if pitching. “Making sure customers are opening their wallets. Wide.” He looked at Roar with a growing smile of self-satisfaction. “And that’s not you. Not by a long shot.” He leaned forward and put his elbows down on the desk, staring at Roar. “So, you see what we have to do. I’m bringing in a sales manager – who will manage you and the other guys in the shop.”
“Don’t most places usually have sales and service, like separate departments?”
“Good point. His title should really be Sales and Service Manager. He’ll be the sales arm and he’ll manage you service guys.” Jason Fuller looked blankly at Roar. “The main thing is, we need a sales mentality in here. To really add the value here. You just keep your head down and do your work. I’m extending an offer to a candidate tonight. I expect he’ll be in place within two weeks. Got it?”
“I guess so.” A saying of his father’s came to mind: “A man raised in hard times learns to earn. A man raised in easy times learns to spend.”
Three teenage girls, wearing nothing but bikinis, sunglasses, and sunscreen, emerged from the beach club and wandered along the beach and headed into the sun. The girls chattered and giggled. They ignored the staked red and blue markers. Suddenly, a grey and white guardian appeared in front of them, crouching, growling almost inaudibly, making a sound that could be felt more than heard. As they continued to chatter and wander, he stood his ground and growled louder and louder until they become aware of his presence in their path. “Mandy, where’d that dog come from?” Her voice rose toward the end of the question.
“I think that might be a coyote, Alexis, or a wolf even.” Her voice also rose as she reached the end of each phrase.
Starting to back up, the first two stepped behind the third. “Brittany, you do kickboxing studio. Chase away that coyote-dog thing.”
“I only do kickboxing workouts. I don’t really kick or box anything.” Brittany had pulled her sunglasses down to get a better look at the dog. She starting to back up as well. “If it moves, I can’t do anything with it,” she said, holding up her palms.
A loud whistle came from the rocky hillside. The dog took off like a bolt toward the source of the whistle. A shaggy head appeared above them on the bluff. “Those red and blue markers are the end of the club property! Please pay attention to them!”
Turning around the three girls looked at each other and laughed.
“Lot of help you were, Brittany!” The first girl punched the third one in the shoulder. She continued, “That was weird. Is that the hermit that people talk about who lives alone in a cave?” She laughed. “And never showers.”
“That was weird.”
“Totally weird.” Shaking their heads, they head back toward the beach club.
That summer, similar encounters became common for Roar. Word spread of the hermit that lived alone in the cave above the beach.
Jason Fuller called Roar into his office. Roar could see through the blinds into the office. Two men stood now hands on hips, now folded across their chests, posturing like two rutting mountain goats about to butt heads. Roar’s head grew light and his gut grew heavy as he crossed the shop area to the management offices. “Roger!” Jason bellowed, “I want you to meet your new boss, Tucker Baldwin.” He turned to the new man. “Tucker, this is Roger, one of our best service techs.” Turning back to Roar, “Tucker will be giving you your direction from here on out. As far as you’re concerned, what he says goes.” And turning back to the new man, “Tuck-man, you want to say anything to Roj before he heads back to the salt mines?”
Tucker Baldwin, Sales and Service Manager, looked at Roar as if feeling the need to say something appropriate, something authoritative. “Yeah, from now on, you’ll need to run your work orders by me, before we sign off on anything.” His voice rose in pitch toward the end of each phrase or sentence. “We’re gonna wanna make sure we’re going full boat, so to speak. Eh?”
Roar nodded wearily, “Yeah.”
As Roar headed out of the office, Tucker Baldwin, Sales and Service Manager, gave him a click of his tongue and an index finger six-shooter as positive reinforcement.
“Hey, Kyle,” Ashley said, “Wanna go see if we can catch a look at the hermit dude?”
“What?!” Kyle asked with apparent disbelief. “There’s no hermit living in a cave. That’s just a myth, like the mothman.”
“No, really. Just down the beach aways. We heard him. And saw his dog.”
The group of four teens walked down the beach toward Roar’s compound. Walking slightly faster than the girls, Kyle spotted the conduit running out to the wave generator. Kyle followed the conduit out to where the surf was up to his waist and shielded his eyes with his hand, trying to make out the square metal box surrounded by Styrofoam floats that rode the sea just beyond the wave break. “What is that?”
“That’s probably the hermit’s treasure!” Ashley shouted over the sound of the waves. “What else would a hermit have hidden in the water where no one else would find it?” She gave a shiver. “He’s so creepy!”
Suddenly several loud barks rang out behind the teens. They froze.
A loud whistle cut through the sea wind. The dog shot off almost silently.
Roar’s voice called out from the top of the bluff. “Get away from there! The club property ends at the red and blue markers!”
The teens start slowly moving in the direction of the beach club, heads down. As if afraid to move too suddenly or look behind them, the teens start talking in low tones. “What was that?”
“That was creepy.”
Tucker Baldwin called from the door of the Sales and Service Manager’s office, “Roj-man! Need to talk!” He waved Roar into his office.
When Roar reached the office, Tucker Baldwin was sitting behind the desk. He looked up from a handful of papers. “Sit down, sit down.” He paused while Roar took a seat. “I wanted to talk to you about a few things. Granted, this first month will be a learning time for you guys. I won’t take any deductions until at least the end of the first 30 days.”
“Yes. I’ll explain. When you don’t follow the proper procedures, you cost the company money. This month, I’ll just point those things out. Next month, I’ll deduct it from your pay. But don’t worry. Most of it is just learning procedures. First of all, any time you draw up a work order for more than one line item, you need my sign off. I’ll tell you if we need to add anything to it. I’ll tell you if it’s properly priced. I’ll tell you if you’re allowed to offer any discounts off it.” He looked straight at Roar pointing a pink, manicured finger. “And discounts are only for those cases where the customer doesn’t agree to it right away. Got it?”
“Ok, sure,” Roar nodded looking at the floor.
“Second of all, you need to understand there’s a time-value of work. OK? There’s quality, time, and price. Someone wants it done fast, premium price. Someone wants it done with quality, premium price. If someone wants it done cheap, they gotta wait. And nobody likes to wait, so most of them will pay. Even if it means you take a couple days off and then come back in to do it. Got it? Take a couple of these work orders you did last month. You got each one done in less than a day. You could have billed over twenty hours on each of these jobs and you didn’t. You could have found other items to include. Are you seein’ what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah, but each of those were fishermen, fishing boats. If they miss days in season, that’s money out of their pockets. They’ll never get that back.”
“That’s money out of our pockets. So, they gotta learn to pay whatever it takes. You gotta smarten up.”
When Roar arrived home that evening, he saw no one. Listening, he heard a quiet whimpering. Following what had by now become a familiar sound, he moved through the house until he saw first Aeolus lying in the bathroom doorway with his head on Cyndal’s bare feet, and then Cyndal, quietly crying, sitting on the toilet holding a pregnancy test. She cried the futile tears of the tired, the cried-out.
Roar’s parents paid them a visit over Labor Day weekend marking the end of another summer. Roar and Thor sat outside as the summer sun got ready to set. Thor was completely grey and carried a two- or three-day growth of beard. Roar talked about trouble with neighbors, trouble with the job, but most of all trouble with starting his own family.
Roar addressed his father, “Papa, you retired this past June. Are you enjoying it, being retired? Are you driving Mama crazy?” Roar saw his father as frail for the first time.
“I am. Enjoying retirement that is. I may be driving your mother crazy. I don’t know. She hasn’t let on, if I am.”
Suddenly Aeolus’ clear bark rang out directly below. Roar stood to see down to the beach. On the beach below, again a familiar group of teenagers with perhaps a couple of additions were attempting to proceed along the beach from the east only to be frozen in their tracks by an all-seeing grey shadow with flashing fangs and ghostly eyes.
Roar yelled down from the bluff, “The red and blue markers are the end of the beach club property. This is private property. Leave or I’ll call the police.”
Teens started backing away. Some seemed pleased to have had the thrill of seeing the hermit who lives in a cave. Some seemed genuinely scared by the hell hound on the sands and the voice thundering from on high. One stood his ground and yelled back up at Roar.
“I know who you are!”
“Kyle, quit it, you’re gonna get us in trouble,” one of the girls said in a low voice.
“I don’t care if you know who I am! You’re trespassing!” Roar called down.
“My father signs your paychecks! You call the police on me and there goes your job!”
“Kyle, come on, don’t be a dick.” One of the girls tugged on his arm. “Even a hermit has some right to privacy.” She began laughing as she delivered the line, and the others joined in.
Kyle started to take another step in the direction of the focus of his fascination, Roar’s wave generator. Aeolus froze him in his tracks with an audible growl. He began to walk backward. “Call off your dog and we’ll leave!”
Roar gave a long whistle and immediately Aeolus darted from the beach and reappeared beside Roar and Thor. Roar returned to his seat. “You see what I mean. The kids on the beach, the jerk I’m working for now. It’s all just so stupid and pointless, but the one thing that means something.” He pointed back toward the house where Roar’s mother and Cyndal were sitting in the living room deep in discussion.
Thor smiled. “So, you’ve become a grumpy old man telling kids to get off your lawn. So what? At least your lawn is a sandy beach at the seashore. You want to talk about stupid and pointless, I spent thirty years cleaning up kids’ puke and unclogging their toilets and sweeping up their cigarette butts. You do what you do, because you believe what you believe. And what you believe has to be tied to something outside you, something greater than you. When you consider something outside yourself, you become a better man. I spent thirty years becoming a better man. Imagine what a gem I must have started out as!” Thor smiled. “When you trust in someone outside yourself, someone deserving of your trust, that’s when you become free to let things happen in their right time. Your sisters have seven kids between them – and nine pregnancies. They’ve had every experience, easy, difficult, . . . impossible . . . stillborn . . . but it requires that you truly trust and know what you’re trusting in. And giving up is not the same thing. And not trusting just leads to sickness in your soul.”
“That’s easy for you to say.”
“Yes, it is.” Thor smiled. “But just think about why you came here and what you’ve done here. And then carry that forward.” The men rose from their chairs. Thor put his hands on Roar’s shoulders. “And one more thing before we go: May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer. May you ever be intoxicated with her love. There’s more, but I forgot it. Your mother and I love you both.” The men hugged. “Your sisters and their husbands . . . I’d say they probably love you.” Thor smiled and turned to go. “I hope we’ll get all of you together for Thanksgiving this year.” Thor stopped and put his arm around his son. “You know, sometimes men think they are wrestling with God when all they’re doing is clinging to his leg like a five-year-old asking over and over again, ‘Is it my time, yet? Is it my time, yet? Is it my time, yet?’ And the good Lord just keeps walking, dragging them along, saying ‘I’m going as fast as I can!’” The Norwegian god of thunder smiled.
It may have been the words of wisdom from the elders. It may have been some other correction of attitude. It may have been just the right time. But a two weeks later, Cyndal emerged from the bathroom with a big smile and a positive pregnancy test. A few weeks later, her doctor confirmed that a child was to be expected in June. All distractions seemed inconsequential after that. The holiday season was a season of announcements for Roar and Cyndal with many stories told of his sisters’ births and babies. And time passed sometimes slowly, sometimes tediously, but always with blessed purpose as a unique miracle took place and a child was wonderfully and fearfully formed in Cyndal’s belly.
Roar and Cyndal strove for many years until the allotted time came to pass. And then in a fluorescent waiting room a white-clad nurse approached Roar as he stood alone in the room. She reached out taking his forearm and turning his wrist to see his hospital security bracelet. “And what is your name?”
“Roar,” he said nervously, as the nurse read it on his wrist. She motioned for him to follow her.
“I’m happy to tell you that you have a new name. Because today you have become – Daddy – to a healthy little girl.” She opened the door to the birthing recover room where Cyndal reclined with a pink bundle in her arms. Roar’s knees buckled momentarily. Recovering, he leaned over to kiss his wife and then peered with wonder into the pink bundle. He looked into the face of the child, nodding his head, “What will you be called?” He sang a soft, impromptu lullaby,
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.
Roar recognized the face of God, and his life had been spared.