March 8th, 2003

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Names

Who can give a man this, his own name? God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is.

—George MacDonald


Deep down, always struggled with my name. Always. At 18, began to use my middle name, an effort to forge a fresh identity. Though that was the time it stuck, it wasn't the first time I'd given myself another name. And there are still names that are truer and deeper to me than the one used to sign my checks. When I talk to myself, I hear them.

Probably written about this before, but my favorite promise of the Bible is given by Christ Himself in Revelation 2:17:
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."
At the end, from among the multitude, He will call me out. Many of us have a hard time imagining this; still others of us can picture only some bizarre fear-born vision of having our every move and thought— particularly the shameful ones— displayed on a large screen for all to see (I struggle with both misconceptions and more). But no. That's not it.

He will give me my name, my true name.

In the Bible (as now, though we forget), names mean something. They say something about who a person is. God changes people's names (Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul) as He changes their identities. He named His Son before He was born, as well as His herald, John (whose father Zechariah's speech was only returned to him upon his declaration, in writing, "His name is John"). Our names are our stories. Back in college, Dr. Estess taught us about how God gave Adam "the power of naming things— the power to pluck the fruit from the tree and to say...mango." Stuck with me ever since.

He will give me my name on a white stone. In ancient days, jurors voted for a verdict by placing a stone into a bag: black for guilty, white for innocent. As one who has trusted Jesus with my life, my name is written on His innocence, His righteousness, and given to me.

At the very end, He will meet me and give me my name, the name He alone has known from the beginning. And when I look back at the path behind me, and look at the writing on the white stone before me, my story will finally make sense.

A man needs a much bigger orbit than a woman. He needs a mission, a life purpose, and he needs to know his name. Only then is he fit for a woman, for only then does he have something to invite her into.

—John Eldredge, Wild at Heart


I pray that, as I live here, He will give me a sense of my name, that even though I will not fully know it until the end, that I will learn to live it now, in trust of the Namer. If God sees fit for me to marry, I pray that I will bring with me my name, so that I will not seek it from she who cannot give it, so that I may instead invite her into her own name, as well as sharing mine with her.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful
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The rest

At Victrola, watched a long-haired, bespectacled young woman practicing chess alone, studying a book of strategy, moving her pawn with great deliberation. What's so attractive about this?

Mulling over seeing Rosie Thomas and Damien Jurado at Graceland tonight. Certain it'll be good, and I'd be with friends (John and Nate), yet also feel a crunch of time, a longing for margin. Play it by ear, so to speak. Connor also wants to get together tonight, but thinking tomorrow would be better for me. Maybe we could catch Sole Moxie (another Nate's band) at The Central. When did I get this social and hip? Must be the record label.

Snowed here yesterday. Unexpected, but not the end of the world— sometimes it snows in April.

Life without television continues to be quieter and more focused.

I notice patterns, even if I don't say anything. Sometimes it just isn't time for me to speak.
  • Current Music
    King of Convenience, "Until You Understand"
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Choosing loneliness

Was a poor steward of time today, resulting in my staying home rather than going out. Actually, time alone isn't to blame. Feeling too lonely to be with people, though I know that makes no sense. I'll regret it tomorrow, when John and Nate tell me about the show, yet can't bring myself to go and feel this alone amid a crowd. Somehow it seems more manageable remaining physically alone. Maybe making a mistake, again.

The loneliness isn't permanent; it just hits hard sometimes, and all I can do is put my arms up and take the punches like a boxer against the ropes. Perhaps retreat isn't the answer, but there's plenty of time with others ahead tomorrow, and I fear running on empty.

Or that's all rubbish, and I'm just plain afraid.

There may be a long walk in my future tonight.
  • Current Music
    Phil Keaggy, "Symphonic Dance"