Lately, I’ve been studying faces. I asked God if He would help me love people better and I think this is part of His answer. I see a face on a run, around the corner of an aisle, or through a passing window and my eyes open on them…those souls hiding behind skin with eyes…peeking. Attached to every face is a name and I wonder…
It’s like the rare, the ancient, excotic and right chipped cracked to the base. Is it lovely protected by a window, this art untouchable? Is it worth a breath of beautiful without its description? A pair of hands at the end of a soul story spinning, shaping, squashing, restarting the creation. If we know where it came from, do we breathe out wonder? Do we see its worth?
I’ve heard it said of me, “you’re a bit of an old soul.” In many ways this is true. I’ve been sure I was born into the wrong era, possibly the wrong century until God carved Acts 17:26 on my heart and steadied my time-travel wanderings. And if you look at the names of my children, this would be true, for Hannah goes back thousands of years, while Kylee and Carter hundreds. The heritage runs richer than I ever cared to study when I slapped a tag on each of them. I named them because I liked the sound of their names…and other old-soulish reasons. Hannah was suddenly changed from the chosen “Ashley” one week before I, present in fullness of all of her bearing down and split, emptied out and gave her my grandmother’s name. I loved old. Her name gave her that in everything new. Kylee I chose because I met a woman named Kylee and instantly knew that would be her name. I had never heard anything so beautiful. It was Irish, and it was a way of keeping at least a root of the haunting Gaelic in us. Then there was Carter. One full pregnant and old soul day, grandma said all southern strong, “I wish one of you girls would name your baby boy “Carter” after my daddy!” When Grandma meant it, drips of southern ran down every word. I needed no further convincing, cuz I love grandma, southern, and the name Carter.
Some people agonize over naming their flesh and cells and bones and strands of color split up in chromosomes. Like my sister who couldn’t bear to give my niece a name until it was the perfect one. For one week she was just “she,” nothing more, nothing less. Grandma’s southern came wrapped in a stringed tornado at the end of a real telephone on a cord each day of that nameless week, “When are ya gonna name that baba?” She finally decided to go all Swahili on us and chose Aziza. We just call her Z. Pretty sure this root has to be grafted in.
And then when it gets right down to the deepest of it. When you know there is more to it then hormone-wild emotion, or the standard or blessing of a name, you wonder if you named them because He chose through our freedom, our flaws, our crazy, our wishing…did He whisper a name and we knew it belonged to that one? Cuz it wouldn’t be right on the other one. It fits this one. Like when 1500 pounds of metal wrapped itself around bark and the only thing that held in her sloshed brains was skull. Chaplain calls and says, “come now, not much time.” Time grows and doctor says only one other has ever woke up from this. Eyes open empty, they pass through you like a lost ghost, and doctor stomps out your raging hope fire and says, “this may be it.” Then God pours out favor upon favor and everything lifeless in skin attached to tubes breathes and moves and talks and walks and writes four years of English in college. And you say, this is her name, for Hannah means grace and favor of God.
And after God dumps an ocean of favor out on one, Kylee retreats and grows small, for she is narrow, like a channel finding it’s way through fog thick and winding…..And I have to shrink to get inside of her again. And I get small….navigating my way back to her and we flow together into the new spring reflecting glorious and its fresh here, but we had to take the narrow way. The mystery of the Gaelic one…still makes me be less, her way is hard…for it requires I go to her bare, stripped….don’t pack too much…she just wants me. And her narrowness points to Holy, for His way is narrow…and we sacrifice ourselves, because He did, to get there.
And then in between Asics bouncing on pavement running with Holy…I chuckle that Carter means “cart driver, cart-loader” and God says, He leads in worship and many are burdened….In His fingers fashioned for stringed instruments and His chords of minor lifts, He loads up weights and troubles and drives them off in a song to the One who daily bears our burdens.
And I think, You knew all that when I just liked the way they sounded…