There are bodies in unmarked graves and we may never know their name, but they still had one, once upon a time.
We attach so much importance to a name. I remember when I was pregnant with our first baby. At that time, it was necessary to choose a name for both genders, because no one knew whether they were having a boy or a girl until the birth actually happened. My husband wanted a particular girl's name but I absolutely refused the choice. Why? Because I knew a girl with that name in elementary school and she was one of the "mean girls" before that was even a term. I would have thought of her each time I said my baby's name. I chose Kirby for a boy, but my husband said he would always see his son as a vacuum cleaner. The search went on and we eventually found a name on which we could agree.
My parents' generation nearly always used a relative's name, at least for the second name if not the first. The middle name chosen for me and MANY of my girl cousins was Louise: my grandmother's name. My nephew and his wife recently had their first babies, twin girls. They chose the names of identical twin great-great aunts on my father's side of the family. There are many, many factors which influence our name choices.
We also like our names to be pronounced correctly. My cousin's name was Kathleen. She would get irate (when she was a child) if people would insert an 'a' in the middle, pronouncing it Kath-a-leen. My daughter's name is Kalisha. I can't count how many people want to make it Alisha. My son was named Kirk, but I threatened to write it on his forehead because 75% of the people wanted to call him Curt.
My name is not heard too often, so when I am shopping and hear "Gloria" from another aisle, I am nearly always certain it is someone looking for me. (It never is)
My daughter told me they had boarded up the windows on the house. They had assembled blankets, battery-operated lights and radio, drinking water and non-perishable food and put them all in a 'middle of the house closet.' Then she told me something I have never forgotten.
"I took a permanent marker and wrote Joey's name and your phone number on his bare back, in case we would be separated or injured in the storm. I'm not sure he could tell anyone his name if they found him wandering."
I can't even tell you how I felt at that moment. Scared for them, proud of her logical thinking, and realizing what it means to have someone know your name, whether it is an emergency or not and whether you know your own name or not.
Before my father died, he had Alzheimer's for several years. He was in a nursing home and literally did not know his name. He wouldn't even look up when you called him by name, but he still had a name and we used it when we talked to him.
Obviously, names are important even after death or we wouldn't inscribe them on tombstones. While I was in Savannah, I visited a cemetery that had the stones in disarray. They had been moved during the Civil War and after the war, no one knew which graves they went to, so they left them propped against the cemetery fence. Regardless of whether they were in the right places or not, they still had names on them and those names belonged to someone.
I started thinking about the importance of names when Kalisha and I went to the Indianapolis Colts' training camp a few weeks ago. She, and a lot of others, stood at the fence for hours, in the rain, on the chance they might secure an autograph from one of the players. Not just any player; but hopefully, one of the well-known individuals. When practice ended and some of the players started toward the fence, there was a crush of people not unlike the pictures of fans wanting Elvis' autograph a long time ago. I was a bit concerned she might be crushed between the throngs and the fence.
We discussed names and how some names are worth more than others, in the world's view. But every person and name is important to God.
This is the chorus to one of my favorite songs:
He Knows My Name
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call
Music and lyrics by Tommy walker
It is comforting to me to know He will know my name even if I am blown about by life's storms, lost, my name is obliterated from a headstone, or when I no longer know it myself.