Today I read a blog post my my friend C. Ash Dotson which is titled What is in a name? I found it to be a short, very thought provoking, and spiritually directive read.
In it he reflects upon the meaning behind a name. I appreciated his article because, as I consider who I am in God, I know that my being loved by God is at the core of who I am; where my rootedness is to be discovered. I also know this truth about my life: The more I come to know about the love of God in Jesus the more God fills my heart with love for all that has life. This also is part of who I am in God; an expression of my authentic self.
I also know that I am called to lead a life of advocacy on behalf of people, animals, wildlife and wild spaces who have been marginalized, forgotten, undervalued, despised and rejected. To be a voice for the voiceless. This is one of the primary ways that I partner with God and others to allow the changes that God is making within me to find expression in my living.
If I were to put a name to this identity...well...I kind of like the one I have. Rich, because while I may not be a millionaire, I often feel like one; but not in the sense of being financially or even materialistically wealthy. I feel rich having been given the gift of a special awareness of the beauty and diversity of wildlife and wild spaces. From the songs of birds to the beauty of landscapes even the tiniest insect; all of these and so much more makes me feel like the richest person in the world that I get to experience and live into community with these!
My middle name is Paul, and I like that because like the Apostle Paul whom we read about in Acts of the Apostles and who wrote a bunch of letters to the early church, I too am one who is sent to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and of the Kingdom of God.
And my last name, Hanlon; I like that too because my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brothers which whom I share that name and ancestry have helped to empower me to become who I am today.
I invite you to give C. Ash Dotson's blog a read for yourself, to consider who you are in God, and what name you might assign to that identity.
Here is the link: https://ashdotson.org/f/what-is-in-a-name