Naming means a great deal to me. I remember that the best part of having dolls as a girl was that I got to name them. Every time I took up an instrument I named it. There is some power, some deep meaning that is conveyed in naming.
When I think about my name I’m moved to a number of memories and emotion. I hated that when I told people my name as a kid they always thought I was saying “Nancy” instead of “Angie.” It’s a disadvantage of mixing an introvert with a tendency to mumble.
I never went by Angela as a kid, it was always Angie. I was named for both of my grandmothers..Angela on my dad’s side, Jean on my mom’s side. I liked this, I liked being connected to them this way. For some reason, though, it never felt that I had my own name, it was hard to be named for someone still living, still around.
My next name came at Confirmation. When Catholics are “confirmed” around the age of 13 or so, we get to choose a confirmation name. This was really exciting to me. I LOVED this idea. It was, however, a “marion” year, meaning that each of the girls were expected to somehow honor the Virgin Mary at confirmation. It was not a requirement, really, but I was a rule follower and my family affirmed this so…I chose Marie. To this day I so wish I had chosen another name. Not that I don’t like to honor the Theotokos, I just wish I had come to it on my own. I felt a bit coerced, frankly.
Now, as I consider Chrismation I’ve been talking to the priest about choosing a new name. This discussion came by way of talking about “deadlines.” Deadlines help me, a lot. I need some outside accountability to get things done so I was hoping there was some sort of timeline according to the tradition which would tell me when I ought to be making things official so to speak. Apparently, there isn’t, go figure. As we discussed this lack of deadline or even my need for a deadline I asked about the naming. I have thought about this, quite a lot actually, taking a new name. It came to me at the first Vespers service as I followed along. Every few minutes the word, “Sophia” came up. In Greek, Sophia means “wisdom.” Wisdom echoes in me already. It’s familiar. It’s a name that was given to me by some friends a few years ago when we began The Wise Woman. I wanted to be named Vulnerable but they all looked at me, people who knew me well, people who knew how important naming was to me. “Your name is Wisdom,” they said. When they said it I realized that it was mine, I recognized it immediately even as I felt humbled by it. It’s big name, I try to wear it with humility and honor. I think I do alright.
So, I know that I will be Sophia. I know also that her feast day is Sept 17th.
And I’m praying about this, praying for wisdom…about September…and about whether the fall might bring a lifeline if I set a deadline…