Named and Known.

At church today we found five newborn kittens in a stroller in our Kidstuff storage box.  Just a typical day in the land of mobile churches.

In my head, I like to imagine that the mom-cat was dying, and with her last breath she prayed for guidance on what to do with her young and felt led to trust the church to provide. (That version is better than what probably happened: she very wisely moved her children to a warmer place because of the cold weather and then she came back to find that some mean church workers had snatched them so that they could regain use of their stroller.)

From left to right: Walter, Walternet, Peter, Fauxlivia, Olivia

My friend and I carried them around all morning in a box.  The shelter didn’t open till later in the day, so we just tried to keep them warm.

At some point in the morning I made the decision to name them, and I am not kidding when I tell you that almost every single person who was introduced to the kittens by name had the same response:

  1. “Uh…what?” (this response is irrelevant to this blog post, btw.  People mostly said this because the little babies were all named after characters from the show Fringe and those names can be a tad confusing)
  2. “Don’t name them!  You’ll get attached and you’ll have to keep them!”

It wasn’t until we dropped Walter, Walternet, Peter (who was looking a little worse for wear), Olivia and Fauxlivia off at the shelter that I started to think more about how strange it is that naming equals attachment in our culture.

No one wanted me to name the kittens because I’d be too attached.  What a weird concept.

You know what the VERY first job the VERY first man had?  Naming the animals.

I tell you what – if created everything, I would name everything.  I love naming.  One of the MAIN reasons I got a dog was so that I could name him, (and though I am prone to hyperbole, I am not employing that literary device at this time.)

God, as the Creator, had the privilege to name His creation, but he gave that responsibility – that honor – to mankind.  He wanted us to experience the joy and intimacy of giving a name.

In love, He gave us His name: Yahweh.  A word so sacred to the Israelites that they wouldn’t even say it.

Think about this – Jesus died so that you would be able to know the name of the God of the Universe.

Throughout my life I’ve been given lots of names.  My parents named me Fabienne, (which wasn’t a joke as you may suspect).  My sisters gave me several names (which are too inappropriate to be listed here).  I’ve had boyfriends name me and best friends and coworkers and cousins.

All the names given to me, they steady me; they give me some form of identity.  Names make me feel known.  That’s actually the definition of a name: it is the word by which an object is known.  

We associate ‘naming’ with attachment because a name implies knowing.

And you know what’s neat about that?  This:

To the one who conquers…I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

That’s my destiny: getting handed a rock by God with my name on it.

I’ve been named by a lot of people who loved me a lot.  But out of all those people, none of them knew my insides; none who knew my deepest fears and truest hopes and greatest dreams and most desperate desires.

Only One can name me because only One really knows me.

I can’t wait to hold that white stone in my hand and finally learn, in His fullness – who I am.

Until that day I’ll take courage in the reality that I am named.  Now, today, when the sun is shining and I feel safe – I am named.  Tomorrow, if the clouds come and I feel lost and undone  – the truth will remain the same.  He has named me.

And according to all the people I talked to today, that can only mean one thing:  He has to keep me 🙂

4 thoughts on “Named and Known.

  1. Beautiful thoughts. I feel the same way about naming. I love it. I love saying others’ names. I love saying the name of Jesus. It’s very powerful, and very intimate.

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