18 May 2016

weighted stillness [selah kiri talstra]

basket baby [selah kiri]

selah kiri talstra

សិលា គីរី
born may 5, 2016
3.4 kg [7 lbs 8 oz]

Dear Selah,

Like your brother and your sister, we thought a long time about choosing the right name for you. We wanted a name that is both full and waiting to be filled. Full with a richness of meaning as our gift to you, but also, empty enough for you to fill and define how you will, and return the gift to us as we learn what it will come to mean.

The primary inspiration for your name is drawn from music; from the music of ancient peoples, whose songs moved from culture, to tradition, to sacred scriptures, to the stack of books and papers beside our dining room table. Scattered through the chapters of the book of psalms of our bible in this messy pile, your name is found. A note of Selah, marks the breaks between the stanzas of these songs. Nobody knows for sure what these repeated notes mean, but our best guess is that they are a musical rest note, a call to silence and reflection.

We know the power of music to connect ourselves to bigger things and each other. The beautiful irony captured by the greatest musicians is that knowing what to play is often less important than knowing what not to play. It is the parts you don’t hear that make great music so compelling. It is the valleys that make the mountains captivating. It is in silence that we often hear the most.

Your middle name is Khmer; the language of the country your family lived in before you were born. Kiri means mountains. A mountain is a symbol of strength, the substance of our planet. Mountains embody permanence & steadiness & echo the faithfulness of God. As the ancient writer of psalm 125 put it

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.

In Cambodia, we escaped the stifling heat by traveling to the rural mountainous provinces of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. These were places of retreat. To us, Kiri symbolizes stillness and coolness. Our family traveled again, further to Terrace in northern BC, where we waited for you, a place surrounded by mountains on all sides. With lush mossy forests steeped in cool humid air, blanketed in snow in winter, brushed through with mist in fall, bursting with life in spring. We wanted to give you a name that connects you to a place, to call home. As deep as these mountains’ tectonic feet, know that you too are rooted here at this point on this earth in the vast expanse of space.

So, Selah Kiri, we offer this contrasting name to you. May you become a woman of humility and of presence. May the music of your life be framed by the space to let your song hang in the air. May your name bless you as you grow. And in return may we be blessed by you as your name takes the shape you fill it with.

Mama and Papa