Just say my name… please…

How many times a day do you see your name written? On a note… on a document… on an email… on a list of sponsors…  How many times a day do you hear your name?  From your spouse… co-workers… friends… family… How many times?  What do you feel when you see and hear your name?  Do you feel acknowledged, recognized, familiar, loved?  What do you feel when your spouse whispers your name in a chuckle?  What about when a friend calls for you by name?  How about when your name is in bold letters on that certificate you worked so hard for… do you feel accomplished?

I would like to take a minute of your time to tell you about someone I met today. A man that has gone through troubles in his life like many of his friends.  Some time ago, this man looked in the mirror and saw something… A stranger.  He didn’t know who he was anymore.  He had lost his family in almost every sense.

I have to be honest. I was surprised to hear him say he had spent the whole first half of his life, knowing who he was.  He had dreams and enjoyed doing things for other people.  He loved watching his kids grow and admired his wife. People knew who he was.  He was the neighbor people appreciated, the dad of the hitter on the baseball team, husband, father, friend. He was part of the same community for years and had many friends.

What seemed overnight, he no longer saw himself. He lost touch. He lost his dreams. Slowly, one by one, people forgot his name… People… forgot him. He became the part time employee, the single guy next door, the drunk, the tweak.  He became ‘that’, instead of ‘who’.  You would think this would be a tragedy, but his life being in such distress… it didn’t really matter. Until one day… something was different.  He looked all around him and realized no one knew his name and he was all alone.  Habits continued… depression set in… confusion took over… helplessness prevailed.

Then, about 7 months ago, he knew… something… had to change.  Placing his hand on his own reflection, hiding his face from himself, just wasn’t working anymore. He needed to be human again.  He needed people to know he was alive, to remind HIM he was alive.  He needed it… now.  Somehow, he visited a soup kitchen that offered a program to help him get on his feet. A program that allowed him to, not only fill his belly, but to fill the void in his heart.

Like most homeless men and women, who have been robbed of their identity in some shape or form, there is no one around to remind them WHO they are.  There is no one to say their name because no one even knows it. The truth is, people avoid even making eye contact with them, for fear of being begged for money or that gnawing feeling that tells us we don’t live in a perfect world. Knowing this, I usually like to say hello and ask people how they are doing, even when I can’t help them.  You would be amazed at how many people in terrible times of their lives are still able to have a ‘good’ day, and they are more than happy to share that fact if just asked.

If they smile, they are a fraud… if they are forlorn, they are guilty… if they are passive, they are ungrateful…  If this is your mentality, YOU may be one step away from not knowing YOUR name.  Scary, isn’t it?

Anyway, tonight, I met a man.  David.  Just say that name. David… He had a story in his eyes that was hard and cold and painful… softened by the lines around his eyes that said he was no longer that man that didn’t know who he was.  He is now the man that wants people to know him again. His heartache is wrapped in the love of the Lord.  He knows where he wants to go, and will never forget where he came from.  He is David… the man who wants to succeed.  David… the man who is mending his relationships with his children.  David.

The most captivating moment of the evening for me was when they were trying to find people who wanted the last cups of lemonade and apple juice and somebody saw David raise his hand and shouted, “David will take it!”  It immediately took hold of his whole posture.  He stood taller, and he had a smile of familiarity, of acknowledgement, of friendship… of LOVE.  It made my heart soar to see his lines around his eyes crease even more as he broke into a huge grin. It dawned on me right then.  This man isn’t a day older than my dad. Funny how he seemed so much older when our conversation had begun.

I was reminded of something, meeting David tonight.  I was reminded that no matter how many people I know, and how many people know my name, there is only One who really knows me, and it is solely through His grace that anyone knows me at all.  I was one step away from this man once and I was saved.

So, the next time you see your name on a document, note or letter.  The next time you hear your name leave the lips of a loved one… say a sweet prayer of praise that someone knows your name and know that it is not because of how great you are, but how great God is.  And the next time you pass someone who looks as if they have no name… introduce yourself.  Ask them how they are doing. Who knows… Maybe all they need to be reminded of who they are is to hear their very own name spoken back to them. Maybe they will be YOUR reminder!

Loving is not easy, though one thinks it easy enough.
Because love is not weak, but very tough.
You must first acknowledge you are loved to the core,
And that your life, is your life no more.
Before you can tell who you are, and play the game,
You must first ask the Creator,

“Lord… what is my name?
May you all find who you are while you still know your names…

And love openly, those who don’t.

~~~ Angie ~~~

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