Storytime: The Power of Naming

“God sets the lonely in families…”

Psalm 68:6a

Last Thanksgiving was pretty much awesome. We traveled south of nowhere or “The Valley” as the Texans call it.

We were spending the holiday with my middle sister and her crazy-ass family.

My best friend Elle, her husband Jay, and baby Z also came along for a wild ride with this family of mine.

My brother-in-law, the biggest redneck you’ll encounter, with the biggest heart ever, is all about a good time. Dan Conner likes to appear to be an incorrigible loud grouch.

When Elle, Jay, and Z walked into my sister’s home, Dan Conner boomed out:

”Welcome Family!”

This may not be seem like much, but I’ve watched my best friend’s family face a situation that is ongoing with no end in sight. A situation that has left their family splintered and heartbroken. Just hearing someone they didn’t know all that well call them family was a healing balm. A soothing source that none of us could’ve anticipated.

Z was a hit with my niece and all my nephews. (One niece and five nephews, now that’s a blog post for another day!) Z especially hit it off with Mr. Sunshine (nephew 4 of the 5). He is pretty much the most compassionate kid I have ever known. I’m not sure if its friendliness or his captivating voice or maybe it’s his rueful grin. I just don’t know, but man, that kid just enjoyed and loved the heck out of Z.

Don’t get me wrong, he is all boy. He will slug the living crap out of his younger brother, but still he is pure joy. Mr. Sunshine has another quality I love, the quality of Naming, just like his redneck dad.

Within a few short hours of our arrival, Mr. Sunshine was calling my friends Aunt Elle and Uncle Jay. And Z was now their newest cousin. Just like that the power of Naming.

Let us be like that.

It is imperative that we Name and validate and breathe life into one another.  Let us celebrate the beauty of messy, large organisms called Family and invite others into it. We never truly know the story of someone until we invite them in and Name them ours.

Don’t underestimate the power of Naming.

Baby Zee with Mr. Sunshine (Photo by Candace Riley)

“To be given a name is an act of intimacy as powerful as any act of love…To name is to love. To be named is to be loved.”

                                                   – Madeleine L’Engle



  1. So true sweet girl! Miss you and our crazy antics! Even memories of being family are a balm to the hurting soul! How we act/embrace others now can impact them much later in life!

  2. I tease about the names people give to their children and the nicknames they give to each other, but this is a beautiful example of what happens when people respond to others from what’s really in their hearts. This Naming is indeed powerful.

      1. Oh Kristen– This is such a SPECIAL story. Made me tear up a little. That was agreat Thanksgiving with ‘FAMILY’. The picture at the end is just a perfect ending to the story. What a lucky grandmother and “GG” to be in a wonderful “named” family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s