Who are you?
As I continue the search to discover my roots, I realize more how unknown we are. Think about it. How many people know your life goals? How many people know the pivotal moments of your life that shaped who you are today? How many people even known your eye color for certain? (I can’t say that I know all of my siblings eye colors for sure…)
I love walking in the cemetery. Though none of my family is buried locally, I love the sense of mortality that I feel when I consider the lives at rest there. Like you and me, these were passionate persons with dreams and goals and fears and faiths and allergies. When they died, close friends and family mourned them for a time, then joined them. With the passing of one, two, maybe three generations, that life is largely forgotten. The stories that families tell at Christmastime find their own graves there in the solace of the cemetery.
Who can call them to remembrance?
Maybe none of us can, entirely. Though, if you are searching out your own roots and stumble upon a name and a person that you cannot make sense of, there are usually some clues to chase after.
I confess, I find myself envious of ancient (or even outdated) naming practices. In the Bible, names meant something. An entire faith revolves around the importance of the name of Jesus–the LORD saves! If we all went through a name change as Abram and Sarai did, perhaps we, too, would have “a story in a name.” How many years have passed? How many generations have forgotten? But here, generations after the fact, in a different land, with a different language, we still know that Abram’s name was changed to Abraham. We still know the significance of that name change, and the countless stars in the sky.
I’m not suggesting that we can all be as infamous in our names as Abram. He is, of course, an exceptional example. He is, perhaps, the pinnacle of all name stories. But certainly there are stories within our own families.
Begin with yourself.
Were you named after someone, or did your parents just choose a name they liked?
Does your name mean anything to you?
Does it reveal anything about your character?
How about your surname (your last name, or family name)–where did it originate?
What does it mean?
What’s in your name?
I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this one.