Delight’s Definition

“Delight’s Definition” – from Nathaniel Dunigan’s Journal

“Nathanny” [nuh-THAAN-ie]. That’s what my grandma called me as a kid.

And I have often used a proverb to describe who she is:

“It is always springtime in the heart that loves God.”

Devout and in-love, Grandma lives each day—and calls every name—with energy akin to the Power that triggers the bloom of the lily and the fall of the rain.

Springtime’s joy.

No matter her desperate circumstances. Embraced or abandoned. Perfect of forlorn. Her heart celebrates as if it were in a new season of hope.

And she always finds a way to add “ie” to the end of the name of anyone she loves.

It’s summer here at AIDchild—south of the Equator. Our slightly chillier rainy season is drying up, and it’s getting warm.

My thoughts turn towards the springtime-Christmas I am starting to accept as my own. Yes, with sunny days, green grass, and iced tea in the afternoon, I really do feel that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Missing my family back home, I sense another kinship with my kids. These holidays will be spent with our new family. Precious. Wonderful. Special.

Missing those who are not with us.

Celebrating those who are.


Your spirit hears so much more than your name when it is spoken from the heart of one who loves you; someone who has chosen to harvest joy’s garden—even when from the seeds they have sown in sorrow’s depths.

Exceeding great joy. This is what the spirit feels.

The people of Uganda—my new home—speak in a way very similar to Grandma’s. The sound “ie” is often added to words and names. They speak of my “children-IE”. They say they’re going to “town-IE”. They call each other, “Ivan-IE”, “Ronald-IE”, and “David-IE.”

And I always, always think of my grandma.

Such joy.

When another heart claims yours as their own. Their grandson. Their daughter. Their brother. Their lover.

This is delight’s definition.

Exceeding great joy.

Several friends have come for a few weeks at a time to volunteer with me here at AIDchild. The kids instinctively feel their overwhelming love, and assign my friends the new titles: “Mommy” or “Uncle”. (Always saving “Daddy” for me. I like that.)

I’m not sure you can imagine the bond that this creates. The heart-party thrown after these christenings is indescribably precious. The spirit reaping such bounty, again, from joy’s seemingly unfathomable garden. Because another heart not only cares, but embraces you. Desires to be with you. Chooses you.

And loves—so sweetly loves—you.


This is.