I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! We sure did!
We had a weekend full of friends and family. Some of them we were expecting to see and some of them were a total surprise. As I went through the weekend I found it interesting to think about the relationship I have with each person we ran into and their name...yes their name.
On Saturday morning our little family got up and headed out the door to the Ladybird Lake Hike and Bike for a 10 mile run. While on the run we saw a girl who had attended our church while she was in high school and was good friends with my sister-in-law. We have not seen this girl since my sister-in-law got married 5 years ago. Because of the amount of time that had passed since I last saw this girl, and because I was running and when I run I do not have a lot of extra breath, I did not call this girl by name. I just waved as we passed each other on the loop twice.
After our run we met up with dear friends of ours for a little play date at Zilker Park. Not only did I call them by name, but I asked about how things were going in specific areas of their life. I shared a train ride, some playtime, and a meal with them. During the course of these activities our conversation passed naturally from serious subjects to the mundane. We loved knowing and being known by our friends.
When we were leaving the park my husband recognized a family that is a friend of a friend. We remembered their last name, but could not quite recall their first names. We had, once upon a time, shared a race experience and a meal with them. We had enjoyed our time with them and wanted to say hello, so I did go up and call them by their last name, admit my forgetfulness on their first names. We exchange a few friendly words and then went on about our day.
As we were walking into lunch I saw a co-worker who had moved away last year. She had her first child just a few months before I had Little Britches. I had not seen her since we said good bye at work over a year ago. In my pure surprise and delight I called out her name, though there was a tree between us that made it hard for us to see each other at first. I was so excited to quickly catch up on the major things going on in her life, including expecting her second son. So fun!
Later Saturday evening we had a cook out with my husband's side of the family. During the course of our time there I called everyone by name. I found out what milestone my niece and nephews were hitting. I learned about my brother-in-law's opinion of cyclist and saw my husband's passion for sharing the road on display. No one was looking to see if you were wearing your best dress, using your best manners, or even picking up after yourself.
Sunday afternoon found us picking up my sister and heading to San Antonio to see my side of the family. We again, sat with those we love and who love us and shared some of our lives together. We would call out someone's name and ask a question, trying to squeeze in 3 months of conversation into 3 hours. Everyone was a part of the conversation. My two year old niece had something to add and it was valued as much as my 80 year old grandmother's opinion. There was about half an hour when everyone in the house was standing by or sitting next to another family member, looking in their eyes and talking. I felt so comfortable there. When my family gathers there is always at least one who is not "family" by blood or marriage, but simply family because our family circle is always open to those who need a crazy group of people to come around them and love them. Sunday was no exception. Our newest "family" member has not been around long, so I am still getting to know her, but I love her already because of what she has meant to other members of my family.
My sister came home with us and spent the night with us. She hung around on Labor Day and even came with me as I had lunch with a friend I haven't seen in over a year! When we arrived at the restaurant I called out my friend's name and her kids' names because I was surprised at how much pre-teens and teens change in just a year's time. They are really grown up. Still the sweet and well-mannered children I know, but now they are certainly young adults.
All this catching up got me to thinking about how the first thing you get to know about someone is their name, but as you get to know the person better and better their name carries a meaning or a memory for you. Your name is what you use to identify them, but the memories you have built with them is what brings a feeling of fondness to mind as you say or think about their name.
So of all the people I spent time with this weekend which situation most reflect the way I am with God or the way you are with God? Do you know his name, but it's been awhile since you've seen him so you just kind of give him a passing nod? Do you enjoy him as you would enjoy a play date and lunch with friends? Does he bring a smile to your face? Is he family? The kind of family you can be yourself around? Can you talk to him- really look into his heart and talk to him? Can you listen to him? Can you know him and be known by him? Is he a friend of a friend and you really don't know anything about him at all? Is he a friend you love but haven't caught up with in a long time? Do you try to do 3 months worth of God time in one sitting because you have been out of touch?
I don't know where you are. I don't really even know exactly where I am, but I know that when we know someone, really know them their name brings something to mind. So I think I am going to sit and think about God's name and what it brings to mind. Then I am going to pray that I have the privilege to know him more- to know him by name.
Also it makes me think a little about my name, what do people think of when they think of my name. It just makes you curious, doesn't it?