Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's in a Name?

In “Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare penned a statement that is often repeated:
“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

Used to identify us more frequently than any other differentiator, our name carries with it a variety of characteristics, opinions, behaviors, attitudes and activities that have been attached to it based on prior experience or perceived reasoning. It’s not required that these attributes are always appropriately designated, but it stands to reason that if the majority of people who interact with you regularly say the same thing about you when your name comes up, there is probably more than a hint of truth in their perception of who you are.

And so, most people have a vested interest in what kind of attitude or information is attached to their name. Living in this digital information age, it is common to Google your own name to see what the popular search engine returns. Here are a couple of result from Googling my own name:

If you were to search for “Jeremy”, you will find the first result to be that of a popular song Pearl Jam, which is simply titled “Jeremy”. In this song, as well as the video that launched it to popularity, the storyline follows a disturbed and ostracized boy who ends up killing himself in front of his class. Hence, for a time, whenever I would be introduced to someone, I would inevitably her the line “Jeremy spoke in class today…” Thankfully, this song does not in any way reflect my life.

If you were to search for “Jeremy Walker”, you will find the top resulting web page to be that of a film publicist. While I think such a job could be attainable, I do not find it a desirable occupation, nor do I have the necessary talents or qualifications for it. This query will also return numerous websites and images of a guy named Jeremy Walker who is, to the best of my limited knowledge, a male model and possibly also a gay porn star. Obviously, this is not the lifestyle path of my choice, nor do I have physique to warrant anyone taking photos of me without a shirt on. Wowsers!

Searching for “Jeremy * Walker” (with the * representing either my middle initial or complete middle name) returns what appear to be some fairly innocuous results. There’s something comforting about knowing that this representation of your name is not readily attached to the image of a naked man posing for the camera. I take solace in this fact and hope that means there are better things to come from the Jeremy * Walkers of this world.

So, according to Google, there could be a lot tied up in my name that has nothing to do with me. This is the case for everyone. How we perceive them might be totally wrong. What we have heard about them through other people could be a complete misrepresentation of who they really are. Instead of jumping to immediate conclusions based on initial interactions and predetermined prejudices, we should be willing to give them a chance to forge their own name in whatever way they desire.

I, for one, am hopeful that I will be granted that opportunity in the future…

Here’s hoping that I strive daily to live up to my name, which is derived from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah (יִרְמְיָהוּ), which means “Yahweh has lifted” or “God’s chosen”.

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