My Name

May 16th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

I heard an insightful lady once say that she believed the father has the unique role of naming the child. She didn’t mean it’s solely the father’s responsibility/privilege. As we all know, nowadays the father and mother together settle on a name they both like. No, she meant something that goes beyond settling on a name. When I heard her say it, there was this resonance. I remember thinking that the father more than any other calls the child into the world. He says, “Hey, you, this is who you are. What I believe you will become.” By so doing, he strengthens his son, his daughter to face a world of terrifying beauty.

Before my regretful name change, my father gave me a Korean name which means A Star that Shines Over Many. Naming is serious business in the Korean culture. There are certain procedures: patterns to follow, people on which the office of naming is bestowed. My father who was himself fatherless for the majority of his life took it upon himself to name us – me and my brother. He could’ve gone to some expert or followed some prescribed pattern. Instead, he wandered off tradition to give us a piece of his heart. Looking down at a helpless baby – one of millions, born in an obscure, humble part of the world to two ordinary people, he let his heart dream as big as he could and said, “My boy, you’re gonna be like a star that shines over many.”

I go by that name now. And carry with me his call. I want to live – dare to live in a way that honors my father’s inspired call on his son.

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