I have always longed for a more distinct appellation. A more colorful moniker. A memorable sobriquet. Instead I am named Dave. I share my very original name with 3,553,128 other citizens of this great country according to the website howmanyofme.com. My name is the 7th most common male first name in America. Los Angeles has a population of about 3.8 million so you could populate about 94 percent of LA with Daves and Davids. I looked throughout history and I saw many distinctive names that I considered for my upgraded cognomen. I am envious of the title given to Diogenes. The philosopher was known as Diogenes the Cynic. My wife quickly vetoed “Dave the Sarcastic” since that is one of my gifts that she is trying to downsize.
Some of the names in history were powerful. William the Conquerer and Richard the Lionheart conjure up images of strong and courageous leaders.
Some names would not make the hearer real comfortable.
“I would like you to meet Vlad the Impaler.”
That’s a party ender. Being introduced to Ivan the Terrible or Pedro the Cruel would not make for comfortable small talk either.
Some other names are not so intimidating. It must have been odd to be the King of France and have the title of Charles the Simple. But that was better than his predecessors, Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat. Charles the Bald had a son who became king. His name was Louis the Stammerer. No kidding. It must have been fun to be the king, nervously waiting for your title to be assigned. Since they titled kings by obvious traits I would have been “Dave the Awkward Dancer”. But that is still better than “Dave the Simple”.
There seems to be a lack of creative among the really, really powerful. Alexander, Catherine, Herod, Peter, Frederick, Constantine, Cyrus, King Alfred, Xerxes, Darius, Gustav Adolph, and many others called themselves “the great”. That seemed way too pompous for me. And since I am going for authentic about who I am that title would simply not be honest. Still, “Dave the Occasionally Above Average” lacks the impact I was hoping to find.
My search for a new title was fruitless. But I am thrilled to report that my bride has a new name. First, a bit of background before we unveil Joni’s new designation. One year ago today was D-Day. Diagnosis Day. At just about the time that I am writing this one year ago I received a call from Joni telling me that she had breast cancer. We began a journey that has been difficult and long. But it has also been an amazing testimony to the sustaining strength and comfort that God gives His children when we totally depend on Him. God has taught us so much in the past year. I asked Joni what her biggest lesson from the cancer had been. Her answer was trust. Trust in a God who is trustworthy. Joni wrote these words in the middle of her chemotherapy.
I don't like being sick but God keeps reminding me that He is in charge of my body, the cancer, the treatments and the timing even though I feel so out of control. When I am able to relinquish control of my situation is when He can work. Lord, I thank you for Dave, my earthly rock, and I thank you that you are my true Rock. Psalms 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me.
Joni built her foundation on the solid rock of Jesus and she withstood the storm with courage, grace, and dignity. Recently she underwent the one year scan to see if the cancer had developed anywhere else. The scan was clear.
So Joni has a new title that is better to me than all of the great titles of history. Her new title is “Joni the Survivor”. That has a wonderful ring to it.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com