A while ago my smallgroup watched this NOOMA video. I always have to be careful while watching NOOMA videos because while they really get me thinking about my attitude in life, my application of the things I learn can, well, um…yeah…result in the events that have come to be known as ‘malteser moments’.
Now, for a variety of reasons I keep my ‘full’ and given name off the internet. Yeah, you did know that my real name isn’t Brunette Koala?
But I do think there’s a lot in the names we are given. Names have meaning.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been intrigued by the etymology of names. Years ago, I had decided on Sophie Rhiannon as one of my children’s names (seriously I had my entire life planned out when I was about 14…). That got changed when I discovered that Rhiannon means mythological nymph. As much as I loved the name, I just couldn’t call my child mythological nymph.
But a few years ago, I started to look up the meaning of my name. And I though it was kind of cool.
In my first year of university, there were 5 people that had my name. Because I have 2 middle names, it looks on my birth certificate like my name is Laura Anne. It was just meant to be Laura. They kept getting me mixed up with the other students that had the same first and surnames as me. And so fed up, I said, fine…you know what, just stick a hyphen in there, because I want my middle name to be included on my graduation certificate (for some reason the university only include one middle name) and I’m Laura Anne on bank accounts and things anyway.
Now I’ve always known what Laura meant – it comes from Laurel - which they used as the victory crowns for Olympics and so on.
But I first called myself Laura Anne on my first day in a church voluntarily. Yeah, ok so I used my ‘formal’ name out of fear of being in a church and having to be all formal, proper etc etc etc.
Later, I think there was something beautiful in that because…
Anne means grace.
Likewise, my middle name which I got quite annoyed about people ‘leaving out’, I later discovered means worshipper of God.
Now, I don’t think my parents chose my names based on what they meant. My Mum had just always wanted a girl called Laura, and the middle names were after close relatives. But what well chosen middle names as I am a worshipper of God and have received so much grace.
Likewise, the nickname Koala was chosen for me based on particular characteristics my family associate with me. Hugs, smallness and constant sleepiness.
I get fascinated with the names in the bible and how they are chosen almost prophetically or based on characteristics of the person. Something you find a lot in Africa too.
So what is your name? What does it mean to you?
PS On another note, my surname also could account for my feisty temper.