Monday, August 1, 2011

The Problem with Names

Asherel goes to a week of camp today. She's never been away from us for so long. She of course will be fine and cannot wait. Our empty nest here will be cavernous, however. I spent the day before the big send-off not feeling great. I often get sick when I return from traveling and we had just returned from a week with my folks. So true to form, I was felled by a minor bug, not feeling well enough to do much more than lie around, but not lousy enough to garner pity. 

So I spent much of the day tackling the Hobbit trilogy while Asherel packed for her great adventure. During our recent trip, I read the Hobbit and then moved on to Lord of the Rings, book one. My Dad and I share a genetic inability to remember names. I thought my brilliant dad was making it up when he would forget close friends' names, and sometimes even his own kids' names... but then I found myself plagued with the same disability.  I can usually cover by clever ploys socially like when we gather with friends and a new face pops in, I urge everyone to introduce themselves. That way I am not embarrassed that I cannot remember my friend's of forty years name. But, the Hobbit trilogy is another story. Now I see why as a child, I didn't understand most of the books. There are more names, and strange names at that, than there are dollars in our government debt. For any of you thinking that reading the Hobbit is a good activity for someone with a massive headache, let me urge you now to just bang yourself over the head with a blunt object for similar calming effect.

So I did the only thing one could do in this situation. I just pretended I knew what was going on, what strange name went with what character, and forged ahead. And after a few chapters, the multitudinous names started to break away like bubbles in a boat's wake, and just a few major characters began to emerge. Now, 100 pages into the book, I am getting the gist of it, and I have the main characters firmly embedded in my feeble memory.

Thus, while Asherel is gone with no cellphone or computer to contact us for 5 whole days, I will settle in with the Hobbit trilogy and try to make sense of Middle Earth. And I won't even try to remember all the tangential names. I will just keep the important names in front of me.

That is the key for me. Don't get distracted by the cacophony of names that clatter all around me. Just focus on the really important ones, the ones that even someone with Name-aplegia can recall.  (Name-aplegia: the little known disease causing paralysis of the tongue when trying to remember names). Even the Bible urges us to whittle away the onslaught of names that threaten to engulf us. There really is only one we need to bring to mind, but we need to keep that One always before us. It is a name so powerful that, "... at the name of Jesus,every knee shall bow."

Still, I hope Asherel will remember my name while she is away.

Psalm 119:54-56

54 Your decrees are the theme of my song
   wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, LORD, I remember your name,
   that I may keep your law.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you're feeling better! I enjoy Tolkien, but I have to admit that for some reason the names in those books just don't embed themselves well into my memory either.