Monday, February 20, 2012

What do names mean?

Our lovely new Pembantu is named Ami. That's it. Like Madonna. Or Prince. No surname. We're still getting to know one another. Ami is a single Mum. I'm not sure whether 'Dad' is no longer of this world, or is just not in her life. Though Ami has made it clear she has no family other than her daughter.

Surnames are certainly funny things. The day I floated up to my groom I eagerly embedded his name to mine. Though I did question the wisdom or altering my standard 'Davis' for 'Sinn' once we had children, often remarking we should have perhaps gone the other way... Of course many clutch tightly to their original surname, resisting any blending of the names after they walk down that aisle.

And that connection to family. With my sister and I now our own family units, not sharing our family name, is anything lost? One of our boy's middle names is my maiden one. Links to my past. Of course there are many who would rather deny their family name and forget what went before, all the damage behind. Would prefer no connection to that history.

Then there are middle names. Teasing at school because of mine - no, let's not talk about it now - meant careful selection for my boys. My groom telling it was just a name that went on forms, was not how I perceived it. Yet apparently we can get it wrong. We changed one of our boy's middle names when he was two - okay - maybe he was almost three. Yes, I know, embarrassing really. But now it is perfect. And how many times have you continued to call someone the wrong name, because they 'looked like' that name? Our boy looked like a different name. Happy to justify that one.

What of the meanings? Do you believe they reflect in the child? I don't, and yet I look at my 'bold and impetuous' boy, the stubborn 'strong and steadfast' one, the sensitive 'light and merciful' child, and the 'happy one', and I am perplexed. Coincidence, I'm sure...

The Bible tells us we are adopted in to a family, if we choose to be. It doesn't matter what our surname was.  Or if we don't have one. What our past looks like. No one is rejected. There is only one name, which is far above every other name that can be invoked (Ephesians 1:21). Indeed, that the Holy Spirit is a "deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are in God's possession" (Ephesians 1:14). That "...everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered." (Daniel 12:1b)

Whether you are Ami or Madonna, or one of my boys, there's one family to be associated with. Ultimately only one name will endure for an eternity. May it be on my lips more than any other.

Giving thanks:
  • Tears from a boy when his big brother lost a soccer game.
  • Book reading, making for peaceful, extended times in Jakarta traffic.
  • Bandaids on little fingers, with a plan for change.
  • Ten in our car - three adults, seven kids.
  • Valentines from my boys.
  • Thoughtful cards made for friends leaving the country.
  • A fun, and interesting night, with fun and interesting people, at Book Club.
  • Meeting so many new arrivals to our community here. People you want to see again, soon.
  • A night on the balcony with my groom, no assignments in sight.
  • Readings posted for uni. Good and terrifying.


  1. Oh, your last line will linger in my mind all week.. "one name will endure for eternity. May it be on my lips more than any other." YES. That's my prayer, too. Beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Thanks Alicia. I need reminding every day!