Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Name Game

Note: I started out writing a post then it turned to a conglomeration of thoughts, sort of like a stream of conscious writing. Be warned. It might not all flow or fit together perfectly.

I get to know a lot of kids working at an elementary school that has hundreds upon hundreds of students. I've been at this school for awhile. This year marks the fourth year of my employment, I think. Anyway, I've filled so many different positions/roles that I've worked with tons of students. Every once and a while, a child will come up and say "Hi Erica!" after I exchange a hello, the inevitable question follows "Do you remember my name?" At this point working there, I usually don't remember the student. It sounds terrible, but there are hundreds of them. I spend hardly any time with many of them, but still, every time this happens a part of me desperately searches deep into the rusty storage files of names. Most times the question is posed, I feel the child imploring "Do you really know me?" The child is usually so searching that I feel like he/she can see right into my insides for that connection.

It is such a very present and real, almost tangible need to have people "know" me. Family, friends, and even strangers share those connections at times. I think such connections are part of what make us human.

It is easy to see people as objects sometimes. When such views/attitudes arise, those "knowing" connections are lost and the possibility for such is blocked. No wonder the first great commandment is to love the Lord your God. When we truly do, we cannot see people as objects.

Just the other night I was sitting at the counter with family members and a conversation about Christmas presents was being had. Though the recipient of the gift was right in the room with us, much unspoken conversation went on. It was almost eery (but not in a spooky way) to be able to converse so much with such little spoken word. There has to be those deeper connections for that to happen.

Sometimes there are longing feelings of loneliness or feelings of joy that even the most intimate of friends and family cannot "know". At times when I feel that way, I am drawn to prayer. At those times when I feel a longing to be "known", I am turned in/to a process of coming to know our Father in Heaven. The focus turns from me needing to be known to actively communing seeking rather to know instead of being known. This scripture comes to mind:

I'm not saying it isn't good to have the need of being known. It is natural and a good thing but maybe that need to be known is best met by seeking to know? Hm. I read this today and was grateful for the guidance of how to better "know" the Savior. It's all so misty in my mind so if you don't get it, well, I don't have the firmest grasp either. I'm still trying to understand the connections.

Back to names. I've been having random thoughts that aren't yet solidly formed but they all deal with names. First, as a baby born of parents who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a name and blessing is given officially at church. Names are important. A name is the label of you, the representation of who you are. Second, when we are baptized, we covenant "that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son". Interesting. The Son is known by many names. When we make that covenant, we covenant willingness to take upon us those names? Well, they all refer to Him and are representative of aspects of his being as a whole, but it's interesting to consider those names that we are willing to represent. From there, the journey continues to other times and places that names are dealt with, but I'll just leave it at that.

In connection with wanting to be "known". There is also wanting to be heard vs. listening. Chew on that.

All of these thoughts are random and a bit messy but there you go. There is so much to learn and so little time!

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