Sometimes, we’re cautious about introducing ourselves to strangers, because we realize that we’re giving them an important part of ourselves. And whenever we call another person by name, we give them that same gift that we treasure for ourselves – the gift of significance, of being known.
However, as I get older, names seem to be receding from the tip of my tongue. (I prefer to believe that at my age there’s more information to search through in the upstairs files.) To counter that trend, I try to keep my wife close by in hopes that she will recall the identity or other half of the name that eludes me. Sometimes the magic works. Name tags are also helpful at meetings and family reunions – except I forget to take mine off and wear it into Walmart.
On the other hand, when we find ourselves struggling to learn and remember each other’s names, perhaps we should view our effort as a sign of caring and love, rather than a cause for embarrassment. After all, it’s the way of our Lord - the Good Shepherd who “calls his sheep (us) by name.”
John Paul Carter’s “Notes From the Journey” is a regular feature of Viewpoints.