He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’
Peter answered, ‘You are the Anointed One.’ Mark 8:29
Who are the nameless people in your daily interactions?
Human beings are name-givers.
Everything we encounter
receives its own unique designation.
From Higgs-Boson to the Crab Nebula,
we confirm quantum and cosmic connections
with the gift of a name.
In sacred stories of our beginnings,
name-giving is a primal task;
our personal re-creative power.
Our earliest babbled utterances are names,
as we lay claim
to the critical relationships that shape us.
Like sails billowing in the winds of wonder,
when we explore a universal ocean of connectivity.
The Universe is a continuous web.
Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers. Stanley Kunitz
We plot our positions in life
using the names we confer upon one another
and every thing under the sun.
Awareness of self and everything else
is held together by this
ever-expanding network of descriptors.
As we broaden and deepen our relations,
what was distant and unknowable
comes near and draws us in.
Yet names are doubled-edged;
they can cut as well as connect,
narrowing or widening our field of vision.
Giving a name puts word to love—
or our lack thereof—
re-shaping the supple clay of reality.
We yearn to belong more than to be loved. Jean Vanier
Just as terms of endearment draw life close,
epithets, classifications and categories
bruise or sever our sense of connection.
In our daily dealings, we can use this naming power
to distance, divide and alienate ourselves
from the responsibilities of relationship.
What, how, and whom we name,
determines our depth of integrity (our lived connection to life),
and describes the condition of our heart (our willingness to care).
The fewer collectives we adopt,
the closer we come to integrated living.
The names we choose, use and refuse, indict us all most honestly.
No-one truly belongs in a category
or any other collection;
for alone and together, we are formed in mystery.
Oh how we hunger for intimacy,
even as we fear the risk of living deeply
and the cost of caring dearly!
Somewhere, deep within,
we sense that such connections and cares will change us;
free us from our need to be above and beyond.
In the Realm of Relationships,
Jesus refused title, rejecting office or distinction.
And, whether lawyer or leper, he called his followers by name.
There are no others. Ramana Maharishi
Naming is a first step into re-creation;
one way of expressing loving connection
without ‘they’ or ‘them’.
As we transition from purely transactional
to deeply relational living,
people and things are transformed from objects into subjects.
It all begins with one
to let no-one be anonymous and remain unknown.
So we step into the Reign
by addressing every person and creature
with an acknowledgement of our fundamental connection.
Thus, named and known,
we can restore relationships
wherever fear and hatred have been sown.