I was having coffee with a dear friend recently and she asked me what my girls names mean. We had a fascinating conversation about names and how they become an intrinsic part of who you are and how you live. (We also ate scones with peach jam and contemplated the lost joy of a good Sunday roast! x).
Before each of the girls were born and we were going through the whole naming process, meanings became really important to us. I know that for some people it is fairly irrelevant. But we both believed that naming a child was a collaborative effort with God. While we didn’t have any great flash of lightening moment and a burning bush (struck by the lightening!!) spoke and proceeded to tell us what to name our girls, we did believe that God was involved. Names are powerful and they become part of who we are and how we define ourselves. So we wanted names that we felt were strong and would help the girls appreciate who they were and how we, and God, saw them.
Between the two girls we have grace, beauty, purity and one of the most beautiful places we have ever been! Absolute bias aside, we see grace, beauty and purity in our girls and pray that their lives will defined by these elements.
Fredrick Buechner puts it like this: ‘Buechner is my name. It is pronounced Beekner. If somebody mispronounces my name in some foolish way, I have the feeling that what’s foolish is me. If somebody forgets it, I feel that it’s I who am forgotten. I can’t imagine myself with any other name – Held, say, or Merrill, or Hlavacek. If my name were different, I would be different. When I tell you my name, I have given you a hold over me that you didn’t have before. If you call it out, I stop, look, and listen whether I want to or not. In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that his name is Yahweh and God hasn’t had a peaceful moment since‘.
My name is a direct translation of the Greek word katharos (καθαρός) meaning pure. I have a friend who only ever calls me katharos – and I love it. There is something deeply personal about it and it also a very real reminder of who I am.
I hope I’m not overstating it, but I do believe there is something significant in our names. I hope so, espcially for my pure, beatiful, gracious girls.