I am absolutely terrible with names. I must repeat a name five or six times in my head to remember it; and even then; I often force myself to create some kind of mental image or it’s lost, often forever.
I take solace in the fact I inherited this inability. My daddy was notorious. He had an entire repertoire of made up names such that he never really had to remember anyone’s name. He had son and buddy and junior, sis and darling and honey. He was a master and people loved him for it. It created a kinship, this renaming of names. I learned from the master.
Yet there are times, rare times, where a name means so much to me, I hang on to it as if the kinship came with the invitation.
I walked into the most beautiful store the other day, literally thousands of square feet of sheer beauty. I had to stand for a bit and just take it all in. I love beauty. I love creativity. I love seeing people and things that display something greater than themselves. The fulfillment of dreams and God just showing off.
I walked to a small counter. I fingered some beautiful pieces absolutely sure I wanted to live in this little bit of heaven. I had thought my aim was shopping but really it was inhaling.
The gal behind the counter was warm and friendly. She courteously greeted me, and I noted her superb training. I did retail back in the day and I always appreciate a well-trained sales person. I engaged. She asked if she could help but she seemed to get the fact that I was admiring more than shopping. She then took a left turn. She could have easily left me. I was happy in the silence, but she pursued and asked why I was in town. I explained I was headed to a teaching; hoping to learn things about God and the Holy Spirit and passion and purpose.
She disarmed me.
She gave me her name as if we were to be friends. Her name, my grandmothers name which roughly translates to “according to Paul.” I had found a kindred spirit; I would not forget this name.
I imagined that she, working amongst beautiful things and beautiful people, she had found her passion. But like me, she journeys. Looking, seeking and listening. The shepherd reminds us we will know Him by His voice. Yet, so many dozens of voices clamor for our attention daily.
The difference; the differentiator, the thing that separates Him from all the rest, is He has jotted a name, our names in His book.
My friend and I shared that. I could sense the Spirit standing with us as we both battle weary, shared our hopes.
We want to do what He would have us do, see what He would have us see, speak only those things that glorify and honor Him. Neither of us needed a stage, rather an assurance we are on the path He has paved.
We want to know at the finish line we arrive not only out of breath but also completely out of things to do for Him.
We want to content not with what we see in the mirror, but the image of Christ reflected about us.
We want to put aside what the world says is essential for what is eternal.
We want to know that when He says our names He smiles.