“Her name was Robin Jester. In death, we have a name.”
Recently at our church, my husband was quick to point out that my name had changed from what was printed in the order of the meeting. Admittedly, and somewhat sheepishly, it wasn’t something I had even noticed until he said something. My name has been written a billion times and I see it, I recognize it as meaning me, and I carry on as appropriate.
But all that changed on December 29, 2012, and I have a new name.
There are so many wonderful truths implied by changing your name. The name is a big deal to God. We are told over and over again in the Bible that His Name is a strong tower, His Name is salvation, His Name is I Am, the very basis of existence. He names and renames people as a matter of course throughout History. What’s in a name? Apparently a whole lot, with no apologies to Mr. Shakespeare. Our name means everything and carries with it a great deal of importance, gravitas if you will.
I catch myself at work on the phone with someone, what’s your name? Robin Jester. I mean Wootton. My co-workers will sometimes correct me when they hear it. I catch myself when I am signing something. The Jester part just flows. The Wootton part not so much. At least I spell it right.
This is where the post- modern feminist in me goes, now wait a minute. I’ve been Robin Jester my whole life. Why do I have to change? I am still Robin Jester. I will always be Robin Jester and screw that patriarch male chauvinist ownership crap, I don’t want to stand in line at the stupid Social Security office for some man to take away my identity and a life of building my name recognition. I mean think of all the Google searches that will go awry now.
But then it hits me like it should – square between the eyes. My name is everything. I’ve been given a new name, a new identity, a new measure of grace. It is not something to take lightly. It is weighty and loaded with responsibility. We all know names of notoriety, when we hear them, shaking our heads in disgust or names of great reputation and joy. Just seeing some names makes us smile, while others sink our hearts. The very mention of a name can brighten or darken in turn. And what we do in life creates our connotations. When Rob gave me his name, he was asking me to represent him, to be represented by him, to go forth and conquer for his name sake.
Ok ok maybe that last thing was a bit much. But you know what I mean. It’s not something to be taken lightly. It is a mark of beauty and redemption. It says “You are mine and I am yours.” Sounds familiar, right?
I was born without a name. As far as I know. Somewhere in Korea in some small town, some random woman called me some random Korean name and I got shipped off to some random family. Or not so random. They gave me their family name. They decided to give me the same initials as my adoptive father, and they called me their daughter as if I always was theirs.
And it took. I’ve found all these years later, I am still their daughter and I still have the same legal standing, the social acceptance as a full on family member. I was given a name and an identity, I was made a people who was not a people, and given a God who was not my God.
And I sent in a piece of paper that said my name is now something else. My name has blossomed into a new thing, something it was meant to be all along. I couldn’t feel any stronger about it. I couldn’t feel any more convinced that this is the name I was made for, and it will be my life’s pursuit to bring it honor and respect wherever we may go. And more than this, to make the name mine and to find my greatest joy in it. It’s a good name. It’s my favorite.