Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's All In A Name

I was the middle child of five -- a brother and sister older, and a brother and sister younger - right smack-dab in the middle. What do they say about middle children???? We are peace makers, good listeners, see both sides, hate turmoil, get lost in the crowd, make good baby sitters, etc., etc. We have nothing that we can call our own --- it’s either handed down to us or it’s taken from us and given to the next one down. We share bedrooms. We are either being taken care of or taking care of someone else. All of these things describe ME. And a little of all these things are still there.

I look at pictures of the 5 of us and I think of a litter of puppies. A few bigger, a few smaller, but you just knew we belonged together in the same doghouse, in the same backyard, on the same street. There on the couch sit three girls with the same haircut, the same dresses, the same shoes, and the same socks. Everything the same --- except the sizes. The up side? I knew I belonged somewhere. The down side? I was just number three.

It even spilled over into my name. I hated my name, and I still do. Typing it here is even hard --- CORNELIA. There. I did it, but didn’t like it one bit. For one thing, it isn’t one of the modern, feminine, trendy names like girls had back in the 50’s. My friends were named Candy, Susan, Nancy, Judy, and other “normal” things. Secondly, I was once again just one of three. Both grandmothers on either side were “Cornelia” so it wasn’t even an original pick. The worst thing of all was when I looked up the meaning of my name. My interpretation was, “Old Maid.” The book said, “Maiden of God,” but since I was single and not liking it, I took this as my predestined confirmation of my marital status in life.

Such big problems for a 5 year old facing kindergarten, aren’t they? Yet, I can still remember worrying about what they would call me --- Cora or Cornelia????? Both were terrible, but please, NOT Cornelia! My poor grandmother was so hurt by this. She could NOT understand why I didn’t cherish the fact that I was her namesake. I cringed every time she brought it up.

Little wonder, then, that I was less than thrilled later in life when I found out that my name was forever carved on Christ’s hand. I stewed about that for a long time. Then it all turned to guilt: How in the world did my name become such a big, important issue??? ME, of all people, thinking that my name meant anything to anyone at all!! Most of the time, I was called everything BUT my name. My parents had to go through the list of all 5 to get the right one. But usually, I was called, “Sneaky Pete”, “Pony”, “Stallion," "bean pole," "corn stalk” and the crowning name of them all, “Dirty, Rotten, Lousy, Stinkin’, good for nothing Bum.” It’s amazing how, as I type those words, I can feel the knife turn in the heart of the little child in me. As adults, we laugh now about those name-calling times. But isn’t it true that what we are called defines who we are? There was a period of time that I thought perhaps it was one of these nicknames that was carved on Christ’s hand.
Maybe it was true --- that I was all of these things.

I HATE name calling. Call it what you will --- I call it down-right bullying, belittling, heart-breaking, tear-jerking, rot. And when I look into the puddles forming hot in the eyes of a child who has just been “renamed” like this, I feel it burn in my own.

Someday, I will meet Him. And He will reach out His hands to receive me. And I will quickly look to see what is carved there -- Cora or Cornelia? I’ll settle for either of those. But then, surprise of all surprises, He will bend down and whisper in my ear so only I can hear --- A NEW NAME! Something just between me and Him. And there I’ll be, dressed in white --- my very own robe all trimmed in gold -- His hand holding mine. And in my other hand? A stone. I turn it over carefully, and YES, it’s true. There, carved perfectly just for me is my new name. It just makes me wonder. . . . . . . What DID He see when I sat on that couch and posed for the picture? What DID He call me?????


Maryann said...

He probably calls you his beloved. He was there when you were formed "for you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb" Psalm 139:13
He is familiar with all your ways Psalm 139:3G I think that is what is so hardnfor me to grasp, he knows me yet still loves me. Amazing.
I had to chuckle at that picture, I think I have a similiar one with the five of us and yes the girls all had same dresses, same shoes and same haircuts. ONly difference was I was the oldest. BY the way I love your name

nancy huggins said...

You are right about names Cora and I like your least you can have a nick name..I bet some of my boys hate their names..Daniel John (I think he likes his) Ronald William..James Ingram...Troy Donald..Tyrone Donald..Mark Douglas (what is a mark..just a spec or dirt on the wall or rug) Lonnie Mace...(He goes by Lon) and then Scott Joseph (named after a song.
I am happy that Nellie likes her name (after my GM that I thought the world of0 Nellie was due on my GM Birthday and was actually born on that day..Nellie..Ann (after my Mom) and Marie (after a very dear friend)
Think about my name..I was doomed at birth about that and I did get teased a lot (Nanny Goat)...did not like it when I was young...maybe I should do a blog post about the names..some of it is kind of funny.
Sorry to blabber on and on BUT...I Love your name and do not have another friend with that name..that makes you special..There are dozens of Nancy's :)

GrammaGrits said...

I still just want a sister, but at 58 with my mom almost 90, I just don't think it's gonna happen - ha, ha!

I hate name calling, too, and the pain it brings to kids.

Kristin Bridgman said...

I wrote a post about the white stone and our new names:)
I think your full name sounds like a flower, very feminine.
I was also called bean pole and endured some verbal abuse growing up. But that is healed from both sides, hallelujah!!!
You could have the weirdest name on earth and we would still love you Cora, beloved Cora, you are loved! :)

Patty Sumner said...

Cora, Oh the wonders of our childhood and how they follow us through adulthood especially our names and the names we were called. What a great thought that one day we will all be one big happy family with our Father God and our big Brother Jesus. That makes you my sister (wonderful)! He sees us as clothed in white and beautiful. Isn't that amazing? How great is our God? Blessings to you and even though all we can do now is read what each of us have to day we will be at the greatest family reunion ever experienced! Blessings Sister!

dsblanchard said...


He called you "Mine". That's all I want to hear, "Child, you are Mine!"

When by his grace, I will look on His face
Will through the ages be glory for me.

When I think of the name Cornelia, I think of Corrie ten Boom. That is good company, Cora!

Loving you from up north,

Denise said...

Oh girl...... HE named you, and saw you when you were in your mothers womb. HE chose the color of your eyes and the color of your hair. HE chose the shape of your cheek bones and the curves of your lips..... Cora.... a beautiful name..... You were perfectly formed and crafted by the God of the universe........ You are the apple of HIS eye and HE calls you HIS beloved........ :)

Jennifer said...

You have a beautiful way with words, Cora. Made me cry, the part about name-calling and our new names in heaven. Lovely post :)

Dani said...

I always rather liked my name but it was hard growing up in the 50's when all the other girls were Debby, Sandy, Susan, Linda, etc...and here I was Danielle....none of my teachers knew how to pronounce it...I got called Denelle, and even once a teacher called me DaniYellie.....I was denelle the banana peel, also from rude boys so for a long time, I settled on Dani..and of course, the rude boys again called me Dani I couldn't win...
My mother really hated her name..Gladys..the rude boys called her Happy Bottom ,there are always rude boys, aren't there?

WhiteStone said...

Ah! You've discovered Revelation 2:17! That's where I picked my "blog name" of WhiteStone. I know, of course, that WhiteStone will not be the name given me, but I'm using that as a sub right now. Bless you!

I liken our "new name" to how the Native Americans sometimes name their children with a descriptive name, something that describes their attributes...Running Deer, for instance. But our "new name" will definite who we are in entirety, in our own individuality, indicative of all our life and the ways God has blessed us...a "new name" that is unique to each of us because we are unique in God's eyes one from another.