May 27, 2021

1:00 p.m. on the South Lawn of First United Methodist Church of Loveland, 533 N Grant Avenue, Loveland. Bring your chair.  In case of rain: under the pavilion at the Loveland Fairgrounds, 700 South Railroad Avenue.   Call or text Clay Carter for further information: (970) 616-9686.

Telling My Name

In one of Agatha Christie’s novels, Miss Marple, a senior-citizen amateur sleuth, was surprised and puzzled at how distressed she was at the death of an aunt.  She finally realized the reason: “She was the last person who remembered me as a child.” 

The older we get, the more likely it is that we have been gradually separated from people who knew us in early stages of life. If we have children, they remember us when we were much younger, but does that parenting role encompass our full identity as we see ourselves? Have our children come to know who we are since they are no longer children and we are no longer parenting small children?  We may find new friends in new locations and new friends as we stack up stages of life, but we may feel that the understanding that comes with shared history cannot be duplicated. We may develop a feeling of being out of touch with important elements of our heritage, elements that are vital to our sense of identity and worth.  We may think that our new friends can never see the full picture of who we are, no matter how many old photos we show them and how many stories we tell.

In ancient times and many cultures, a person’s name indicated the person’s true character.  That’s why in some cultures permanent names were given only after a person’s character could be discerned accurately enough to have the name that fit the person. 

This is why in some cultures a person’s true name was kept secret, for anyone who knew your name had power over you.  That is, they knew your true nature.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,
         and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same,
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
                                             Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo

The yearning to be around people who have known us a long time may actually be a desire to be known for our true selves. The reality is that we can become known, we can find new people who will accept our disclosures of our true selves. People who have come to know us as we mature may actually know us better than the friends of childhood; we are no longer who we were then. It is simply a matter of telling our truth.

Thought-Starters for Sharing

  1. Who knows me best?  Who knows my true name, my true self?
  2. Who listens to me?
  3. Are there people with whom I can be myself?
  4. What kinds of interactions make me feel that I am being known for real?
  5. What kinds of activities make me feel most myself?
  6. What part of my life would I like to be most prominent in the way people see me?
  7. What parts of my life and self am I proud of, but which most of the people around me don’t know about?
  8. How can I find people and activities that fit who I really am?
  9. What can I do that reveals my true self, my values, what I care about?
  10. Do I have new friends who know the real me?
  11. Who do I want to become?  How is this self different?

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