Naming has been important since the beginning of time. To be called by name is to be recognized as a life worth knowing…a person worth the respect of my full attention. Our names tell a story ..some longer than others.. but it is our story, no matter how short or long.
One of the most beautiful practices emerging with the team and the people of La Toma is the intentional learning of names…of calling each other by name. We started with nametags in the classrooms but it soon moved to the construction site. All day long I hear the practices of espanol with children teaching us words. And today I heard children calling us each by name..practicing our names as we have practiced theirs…all of us longing to know one another well enough…
The first time I heard the words of the prophet Isaiah put to music I was in the funeral of a friend who had died of AIDS. With the simplicity and humbleness of a beautiful voice and guitar, these words were shared in song.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you
I have called you by name, you are mine
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you.
When you pass through the rivers
they will not sweep over you.
I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43)
It was so beautiful I have never been able to forget the words or melody. Today as I was on the work site I heard it once again. It was playing in my spirit but all you could really “hear” was the sound of the children calling us each by name as we walked by putting our tools away at day’s end. Thanks to B.J. Elder for teaching the children our names. Thanks to all of you who are praying and calling us by name each day.