What’s In A Name?

Over the course of my life I have had a variety of names. At birth I was given the name Roger Charles Lynn (the middle name being my Dad’s middle name, and his Dad’s first name). Growing up (on those occasions when one of my parents was calling me to come home) I was often WarrenJenniRoger. In college I was a counselor at a couple of Outdoor School camps, and I was Sasquatch. For a few years I was Jojé (Philip’s French Uncle). To many folks in the churches I’ve served I was Pastor Roger (because when people called me Rev. Lynn I would look around for my Dad). In my Dances of Universal Peace community my Sufi name is AmiShanti (sweet nectar of peace). I’ve been a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a partner. But in recent years I have been given a new name which has come to mean a great deal to me. When I first got together with my partner, her grandkids decided that I needed a name (other than grandpa), so I became Sparkle. I didn’t choose it, but I really like it. It’s a delightful honor to be Sparkle as I share life with these wonderful humans. It has even jumped family lines, with two of my youngest daughter’s children also claiming the name for me.

This past week I have been spending my days with an almost seven year old and a one and a half year old, and it is time I wouldn’t trade for anything. There have been laughter and tears, quiet times and rambunctious times, hugs and sweet smiles. Being Sparkle touches something deep and true in me. It helps me get in touch with an important part of who I am. It reminds me that I am loved.

As I’ve mentioned before, my family is filled with wonderful people, and with the exception of my parents and my brother, none of them are biologically related to me. The love and connection I experience when I am Sparkle reminds me that love is vastly more powerful than biology. And for that gift I am forever grateful.

A Day to Remember (or not)

I had an unsettling experience this morning. March 7th is a date with deep significance for me. On that date twelve years ago my life was turned upside down and forever altered when my wife died. Ever since then I have marked the day by consciously and intentionally remembering and reflecting. Some years I’ve spent the day with family and friends. Other years I’ve been alone. Early on the whole day was given over to reflection, while more recently it has been important but less all-encompassing. I usually do at least a bit of writing. And I always reach out to my daughters to let them know I’m thinking about them. Then this morning I realized that yesterday (March 7th) came and went without me remembering. I did think about it a few days ago, but when the day itself arrived it was nowhere to be found in my conscious awareness. Which, as I said, has left me feeling unsettled and a bit sad. A part of my brain is trying to convince me that my forgetfulness means I don’t care about her anymore and her memory is no longer important. The healthier, kinder, gentler parts of my brain remind me that such thinking is, to put it bluntly, nothing more than delusional bullshit. But there it is anyway, niggling at the edges of my awareness. Closer to the truth is that I am human (oh so very human) and sometimes (often) I forget stuff (including important stuff). And even closer to the truth is that the ongoing process of grief is an ever unfolding and ever evolving experience. Veronica’s impact in my life is indelibly etched into the very fabric of my being. I can’t forget her any more than I can forget my breathing. But, just as with my breathing, I am not always going to be actively aware of her presence. She is simply there, having been integrated and infused into the whole of who I am. Sometimes she rises to the surface. Mostly not. But remembering or forgetting in any give moment, or any given day, has no bearing on the larger truth that she will always and forever be a vitally important part of me. And for that most amazing gift I am grateful beyond words.