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The Beauty of Naming

Naming things has been on my mind a lot lately. My sister’s due to have a baby anytime and of course “What are you naming her?” is a most common question. It reminds me of naming my own children and how fun and difficult it was. Truth is I love names and name meanings. I think it’s so cool. In ancient times and in mythology the meaning of a persons name was really important. When I’m writing I’m continually on the hunt for a name that encapsulates that character. A clue to the reader about their intentions and personality.

This week I was looking for a couple of names for some characters. Especially an important one. A young man who is also a sailor. I texted my friend Bethany, an artist and fellow writer and someone who knows a ton about celtic mythology (this character has a celtic background).

“I need a name” I said “He’s about 17 and a sailor. I might like to incorporate a name from Firefly as an homage to Joss Whedon.” (that probably sounds like gibberish to most of you but I was quite sure she would get it)

She immediately texts back several wonderful possibilities one of which ended up being perfect.

“I love names and their meanings.” she texted back a bit later.

“ME TOO!” I text back in all caps.

I love it when you discover something about a person that speaks right to your own spirit as this new information did.

“Except mine.” she continued. “‘House of Figs’ *sadness*”

“OMGoodness! Mine means ‘Father of Kings’ *awkward*”

We both share a digital laugh over our weird and lame name meanings.

“Maybe we should come up with new meanings? :)” she continues…

Here’s the thing. I actually love my name. I love the way it sounds when my husband calls me “Jess” or when he mockingly scolds me for buying too many book t-shirts and uses my entire name. I love to hear my name said by my parents. My name is “Jessie” named after my Dad’s best friend and I like that story. I feel like I am Jessie. But yeah, the meaning is sort of lame. To me Jessie is not “Father of Kings” (nothing against the biblical Jesse) it’s more like silliness, and tears, and words, and imagination all rolled into one. It’s the one who bakes out of love, and tickles her children, and really likes vintage fashion. I am the daughter  of Steve and Denise and my name was a gift from them. I am also a daughter of God and Jessie feels so much more then “father of kings”.

My friend Bethany is wonderfully complex. She’s so sweet and kind, one of the nicest people I know. She’s also incredibly artistic and the book she is writing is one that I would gladly buy and binge-read in one or two sittings. She’s shy, and pretty. Bethany is a beautiful name because when I hear it or see it, it’s her. My dear sweet friend.

I felt inspired, I texted her back. “Your name isn’t ‘house of figs’ your name is ‘God’s paintbrush'” and I meant it. That’s what I think the magic behind her name is.

She texted back, “For Jessie, that means ‘Scribe of hearts'”

I started to cry. How could she look into me and see something so beautiful? How could she know that if I could choose any meaning, if God was to come and tell me what my true heavenly name was himself, I would choose exactly that?

It sort of takes my breath away. I am not saying that I am “Scribe of hearts” or at least not all the time. But I feel like that is what I’m supposed to be, that as I make my way through this life and into perfect eternity I will truly become “Scribe of hearts” It feels spiritual and magical to me. It makes me think about how we live in a broken world and are a broken people. Maybe you don’t love your name. Maybe it doesn’t feel like a gift but a curse, a reminder of a hard and sad life? Search out God’s name for you. Because, He has a beautiful perfect name that is you to your very core. Maybe it will be hard to believe, and embrace but It is more true and speaks of who you are more honestly then any of your brokenness.

Hello readers, my name is Jessie, and I am Scribe of Hearts.

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8 thoughts on “The Beauty of Naming

  1. I LOVE THIS!! What a beautiful reflection on our little text conversation. When you write, you are able to dissect your characters’ souls and give us a glimpse into their hearts. And that’s all we need, as readers. We’re supposed to take it from there and paint the person into our minds. But you, the scribe, give us the heart.

  2. This was so beautiful Jessie. And that is a perfect name for you. My name means Godess of Wine??? I will have to search out Gods perfect name for me.

  3. Thank you! As the birth of my yet unnamed son draws closer, I’ve been scouring baby name books and websites for the “perfect” one. A great sounding name has a strange or even awful meaning, and awkward names have wonderful meanings…I’m finding little in between. This is encouraging though, perhaps my little one needs a name all to himself:-)

  4. This is so filled with Grace! Never have liked my name I will investigate its meaning and pray about my name from the spiritual….God space! Love you!

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