My eyebrows frowned with disdain, and not because I was “so over” being the only teenager in the oncology waiting room.
With no say or input of my own, I’d been put on a plane and flown to a world-renowned cancer center to have the country’s leading experts review my rare colon cancer case. Missing my friends at school was enough for me to hate the situation.
When the nurse holding a file folder appeared from behind the wooden door and read off a list of numbers that matched my wristband — her way of asking me to follow her — I’d had enough.
“They don’t even know my name here. I want to go home.”
I ended up staying and attended all appointments, but the experience left a bad taste in my mouth and still stings decades later. She couldn’t even call me Danielle.
Scripture says over and over that there are treasures hidden in darkness and that if we don’t give up, we will find light. Although my younger self would disagree, this includes scary, cancer ward experiences when people refer to patients by numbers.
While I didn’t love my experience at the big cancer hospital, it showed me how much I long to be called by my name.
In our culture, we tend to forget names, put numbers on our backs or create online handles masking our legal names. It feels like our true identities are of lesser importance at times. However being referred to by our name has, and always will be, fundamental to the experience of being known.
What we’re being called, and who’s calling us that, will always show our level of vulnerability and state of the relationship. It will always reveal who we’ve let in – and to what level. Nurses, followers, teammates and acquaintances may not remember or call us by our given names and that’s OK (in some cases).
But we must strive to surround ourselves with a close few who do know us — starting with the Lord — who will always look past the number or Twitter handle and be there summoning us by name.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3
What are some of names you go by? Who calls you what? In your most vulnerable and known state, how are you referred to? When you connect with the Lord, what is He calling you?