Thursday, February 6, 2014

"What's in a name?"

Recently, I have written a lot of drafts and not posts. I get halfway through a post and get distracted by a paint job or just the busyness of life. I think my drafts-and-not-posts have also had a lot to do with the fact that I don't really know what to make of this new phase. I sort of feel like I've just come off the tea-cup ride at Disney, and I still don't quite have my bearings. Not to say that I haven't enjoyed the tea-cups. As a matter of fact, I was probably spinning the wheel with all my might trying to make it a more interesting ride. But with that said, I'm still feeling a bit dizzy.

Or maybe it's the fact that I have been reading a lot of articles out there about blogging and social media that have made me want to be extra careful when considering my motive for blogging. For me, writing in this sphere has always been about telling stories that makes someone else say "me too" or "I'm with ya." I do think that sometimes (like now), I just begin reflecting and try to get somewhere by the end. It's not the kind of writing I was coached to do in grad school, but that's what I kind of love about blogs -  the messy, reflective nature of them.

So, where am I exactly as I write today? I have just moved to a new town and to a new job, and I am back living with my hubby again (full story here). I cannot help but laugh at my ridiculous self as I read back over that list of blessings - job, husband, etc. - and I write knowing that I have been feeling unsettled and fidgety even with all those blessings in tow. The fidgety part is probably just a case of the January/Februarys, but what is the rest? 

After walking through shifting communities a few times now, I have come to recognize a serious craving in my nature. I like to be known. Not just the "Hi, how are you" kind of knowing. I like for people to know my name, to know my history, to really get me, to recognize my worth. I don't think this is an introvert vs.extrovert struggle really. I just find myself saying the same thing on the phone to long-time friends, "I just don't want to do freshman year of college conversations over again."

And maybe this is not one of those moments where all readers are saying, "Yeah, me too. I totally get that feeling." But let me put it this way...

Titanic Exhibit

I will never forget going to the Titanic exhibit when I was 12 years old. I had heard about the unsinkable boat that sank, but at 12, I still wasn't sure what the big deal was - boats and planes crash. But at the beginning of the tour, I was given a passport of a little girl just my age to walk through the story of the Titanic with. I touched the iceberg as this little girl. I saw her living quarters and her toys. And at the very end of the tour, I looked for her name among the survivors. It wasn't there. I was stunned. Mary Burns had not made it. I began to cry for a long lost girl I never knew. Maybe you have been to a similar exhibit where an unfathomable tragedy was made personal with a name. It really begs us to ask Shakespeare's tragic question, "What's in a name?" And I guess too, we see life experiences so differently when we walk through them with someone.

Throughout history and literature, names are repeatedly significant. It's what has people searching for their family trees, and it's what keeps people "name-dropping." It is what's so endearing about nicknames and knowing your best friend's middle name when other people don't. Names hold cultural significance and intimacy. There is really something to knowing someone and being known.

And it is this very fact that makes a God that searches and knows me so very comforting; a God that has "written my name on the palms of His hands." And I guess that's where I've been headed all along tonight; I am working on resting in the comfort of a God who knows me and has plans for me instead of feeling the need to find my identity in being "known." Truth be told though, I think Cheers might have been on to something:

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name. 

Just a little food for thought.


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