Monday, September 14, 2009


I was named for my mother.  My mother who was named for her mother.  My mother who doesn't remember her name any longer.  We all lived in the same house for a while--blind grandmother who had actually two variations of her name, depending on which family was speaking to her.  Birth family called her one thing, but her husband apparently didn't like it, so called her something else.  Then morphed it into initials, just as if he was anticipating my blog 80 years ago!  CD is what she ended up being to him--Carol Darling.  Carol.  We all have variations of that name, just like my brother, dad and his dad all have variations of the name Richard, though they didn't all live together, and their nicknames were more distinct than our non-nicknames, because you see, most people think that the nickname for any variation of Carol--Carolee, Carolyn, Caroline--is Carol.

Sometimes, during those years when Mom, Grandmom and I all had the same address, people would call and ask for Carol.  If my mom answered, she'd start talking to them as if every conversation was meant for her.  Sometimes the person on the other end of the phone was calling Grandmom, though not often.  More frequently, it was someone calling me.  And to have my mother not recognize this really, really annoyed me, especially when I was...well, every age.  I remember once when I was in my twenties, back in town after several years away, going to grad school at WSU, when another grad student called our house.  His name was Jed, and he was interesting enough that I didn't hesitate to give him my phone number when he asked for it. He called up and Mom answered, and said, yes, it was she, when he asked if Carol was there.  Then he asked if she wanted to go see a certain movie with him.  Mom, as you might guess even if you had a normal mother, wasn't interested, told him he meant me, then, as she ALWAYS DID, held the phone straight out from her ear and yelled at me that this 'boy' didn't know my name, and had asked her out.  I was horrified, humilated...and always hated that she was so crass as to not cover the phone with her hand when calling for one of us, or being interrupted on the phone.

It also made me really hate the name Carol, and refuse to answer when called that.  I still tell people that it's not my name, but I'll give them one freebie.  After that I will simply assume they're talking to someone else, and go on my merry way.  And, frankly, I've never really appreciated having been named after my mother, though I really do like my name.  Always did like it.  Just wished it wasn't Mom's name as well (or almost her name!).

But I was thinking this morning of names.  Thinking of how, in scripture, they have meaning.  Old Testament names are given because the person IS that quality.  Years ago, I looked up what my name meant--first and middle name--and discovered that my name is a derivative of Charles, which means 'man.' And my middle name, Theresa, means 'one who harvests'.  So put together, my name means 'Man Harvester.'  Seriously.  So incredibly apt, let me tell you.  If you only knew...Ha!

God told Moses His name was "I AM that I AM."  This ontological statement of being is the very essence of God.  He told Moses this--Moses which means to draw out of the water, which he was as a baby and would be again as the one who led his people through the held-back waters on their way into the wilderness.  A name as telling the truth about someone's life.  Like David, the beloved of God.  And Jonathan, true friend.  And Jesus--or Joshua--the deliverer of His people.  As He gave people the dominion over this earth, He gave them the significant job of naming all the creatures.  And we have done so, all through-out time.  But what about when time ends?  What about when God calls us home.  By which name will he call us?  Our human name, given by parents simply because they like the sound of it, or because the family has long had such a name?  Or perhaps, will He call us by our heavenly name, the one that will correlate with a heavenly body?

So I wonder this morning, what the name is that God has for me?  What is the name that is written in His book of life, designating me?  I feel certain that there is one, given by Him, chosen to denote His original, and redeemed, design of my life.  And I'm equally certain that I will know it.  That I will feel at home with such a name, that I will wear it like the skin I was meant to wear, the person I was meant to be.  But maybe, as I think about it, until then, being a harvester of men--or of people--isn't such a bad moniker.  Maybe while I dwell on this earth, if I look at my name and its meaning from His point of view, I will reap the harvest He intended, not crudely, not relationally, but Kingdomly--the harvest of souls; ie, as bringing people to the place where He can welcome them into His Kingdom.  Not such a bad name, after all.

Yet, I admit, I can hardly wait for what He will call me.

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