Essay

Naming

By December 28, 2014 No Comments
Listen To Article

by Marijke Strong

Isaiah 61:10-62:3
And you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of the Lord shall give.

Do you remember how
we used to gather
bugs in a plastic teapot?
Pouring woolly caterpillars and ladybugs
into our cups.

And we would name them
Sarah, Leggy, Mary, Marfa,
and chase and scold them
when they wandered away.
Poor beautiful things.

Every summer morning we practiced
this same ritual
in the early humid light.
It was the first spinning morning
all over again,
all over again.

You know, since then I think I’ve been asked
about a hundred times
how to pronounce my name.
But I don’t mind because
it gives me a chance
to say it out loud.

I try to say it as lovingly as you
speak it to me at night
when you think I can’t hear you.
As tenderly as we chided the wandering ladybugs
and gathered them back
to our mothering hearts.

The familiar feel of it makes me wonder
if every early morning you might practice that old ritual over me,
over the dreaming world.
Tenderly gathering us back and giving us a name
before we wake,
before we wake.

And how (but how!) would I live today
if I knew for sure that had happened.
Well, I’m going to try
and see what difference it would make.

Marijke Strong is the minister for congregational care and community life at Fellowship Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

Marijke Strong

Marijke Strong is the executive secretary for the Regional Synod of Canada (Reformed Church in America), a pastor, a spiritual director, a creative writer, a reader of books, an amateur gardener, and an avid kayaker. She is also a coach and consultant with The Leader’s Journey: Coaching Toward Wholehearted Leadership (www.theleadersjourney.us). The Leader’s Journey offers leadership coaching and organizational consulting for personal emotional intelligence and organizational health.  

Leave a Reply