God knew me before the world began. Before darkness hovered over the formless void that would become earth, before the protostars exploded in space and the sun and moon found their places in the cosmic universe, before the waters of the earth teemed with living creatures, before the beginning –my name was written in God’s book. Was it while the Spirit hovered over the surface of the deep that He first thought of me? Did he ponder for a moment as he penned my name to remember that my frame would be dust? Knowing my betrayals and self-centeredness, he created me sll. He felt my grief and sadness and knew of the joys that would make me laugh and praise. This majestic king, enthroned in splendor, had a plan for my life before the foundations of the earth.
My name, deliberated over and decided with romanticism and sentiment by my mother, had long ago been written in God’s book. Julie Ette. Unusual. Named after Shakespeare’s famous lover and my Great-Great-Aunt Ette.
Memories of Aunt Ette are eternal in my mind. When I knew her, she was tall and willowy with stooped shoulders. Memories of her laugh and her voice as she told stories and sang on the porch swing lilt through the passage of time.
Aunt Ette and I baked cherry pies together. My tiny fingers pinched the edges of her famous crust next to her arthritic, veined hands gentle with demonstration and affection. Inheritance from her included a red streak of hair that I hear will be the first part to turn white if God allows me to live as long as she did. I wonder if she also had the unexpected spark of temper that I have always associated with that flaming streak.
Certainly she was much more daring and bold than I. Although her father owned most of the town, Aunt Ette found adventure in stealing watermelons from the local farmer even though he would shoot at her while yelling curses from his back porch. She was the first woman to own a car in Minier, IL. After driving it through her barn wall, she drove it all the way to California on dirt roads that wound precariously through jagged-toothed mountains and snaked long and hot through deserts.
God’s plan for Aunt Ette was intertwined with my life, and though she is now in heaven with him singing new yet ancient songs and embarking on fresh adventures, his plan for me on earth is still unfolding. Songs that Aunt Ette sang to me in the contralto voice that he formed introduced my love for music, cherries that he grew filled the pies that she taught me to bake, and the DNA that wound intricately together to form my red streak was planned by him long before all of my hair fell out during the chemo days. He knows if I will live long enough for that streak to turn white like Aunt Ette'’s did. He knows it all.