01 December 2009

Call Me Cordelia

If you are familiar with Maud Montgomery's 
Anne of Green Gables, 
you will recognize that line.  

After discovering that the Cuthbert's didn't want a girl, but rather a boy, Anne Shirley was asked her name. She replied, "Will you please call me Cordelia?" 
 After which, was a discussion about whether or not that was her name. 
Finally, she reluctantly agreed that they could call her by her real name, Anne, but only if they spelled it with an 'e'.

Cordelia was a "perfectly elegant" name and Anne, was a mere orphan whom nobody wanted. Cordelia was wonderful in Anne's imagination, while Anne, herself, was just plain unromantic 'Anne Shirley'.  
Anyone who has read the books, or seen the movies, knows that there is nothing plain at all about Anne Shirley. 

Still, it was how she felt about herself at the time.  

However, Cordelia, I have read, comes from the Latin and it means 'heart'. 
 Of which Anne's character has an abundance.

Sometimes, a person wants another name. 

 All of my children have gone through phases where they wanted to change their names. 
Sometimes, they change the nicknames we have for them or sometimes they begin introducing themselves to other people by their middle names.  Often, they will use their full given name as a sign of maturity and, sometimes, they have even used the equivalent of their names in another language. 

They are searching for a new, unique identity. 

Not the one given to them by Mom and Dad, 
but their very own. 
The one that describes who they want to be,
 or who they feel that they are.  

A name that shows another part of themselves, that shakes off the sameness of every day...

that lifts a cloud that has lingered too long.

This idea of being "called" another name that is not your own is actually biblical. We see it over and over again in Scripture.  

Lazarus had a sister who was "called" Mary. 

Mary, whose root is mara-which means bitter. Don't miss that one because she is the one who sat at Jesus' feet which was the "better choice".  

There was John, also called Mark, whom we call John Mark or just plain Mark.  

There was Joseph who was called Barnabas because that means "encourager". 

Saul who was called Paul.  

James and John were called the Sons of Thunder- does that name describe them or their father?  

Simon who was called Peter.

 Levi became Matthew. 

Even in the Old Testament,
 God changed names of people. 

Abram became Abraham. 
Sarai became Sarah. 
Jacob became Israel.

In the genealogy of Jesus in the book of Matthew, it reads "...Jesus, who is called the Christ." 
matthew 1:16

And in the book of Acts, we read that "...the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." acts 11:26

In Revelation, we are told that Jesus has a name that nobody knows yet. 

Isn't that wonderful? 

He has a name that has never been defiled by the mouth of Man. 

You are probably called other names besides the one you were given at birth. 
Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Sis, Bubba...

While looking at old family photos I came across one that was labelled 
"Aunt Sister".  
Everyone in the family called her Sister and then it was Aunt Sister...
I thought that was rather odd, but names become part of you.

Your name becomes your identity.....
or your identity becomes your name.......
it depends.....

Lately, I've been thinking I'd rather be called something else...not because I dislike my name but because being me can get tiresome. 
Especially, when difficulties arise and I'd rather not deal with them, or I wish I were a better "me" who knows how to deal with them. 

I know that there is a name that Jesus has for me..a new name, the Bible says.....
and nobody will know it but me.
 revelation 2:17
That's exciting to think about....the perfected me, with the perfect name..

...but until then, 
 I can't seem to think of anything that seems to me to be "perfectly elegant" and I'd be afraid to be "called" something that fits my personality or my mood this week....

so, I'll just use one that's already been suggested......

"could you please call me Cordelia?"

Oh, and by the way, there really is a Cordelia in my family tree, so I actually have a claim to use it, don't you think? 

Here she is, (on the left)... don't you love the hat?

photos: sunsets on the north shore of PEI, smoky mountainsTN, family archives (c) deborah richardson


  1. Love this! You know a mom in our group goes by Frankie because of he meaning of her first name Mary.

    When I looked up what our Lydia's name means it said strife. BUT when I read about the Lydia of Acts...there is no strife but a woman who believes, leads, and called the shots when inviting those fellas to her house! I love her boldness although when Lydia was I toddler, I wondered what I was thinking wanting a bold Lydia? Instead of strife, we have joy!!!

  2. Loved your blog. My real name is Debra, which I never cared for. I would have preferred Deborah like yours. Everyone just calls me Deb which is just fine. BTW, I love Ann of Green Gables. I have the movie. Never get tired of watching it.

    1. I never minded Deborah until third grade, when there were two of us...a Debra and me. The teacher declared that we could not be Debbie S and Debbie T, but I was to be Deborah.....I didn't like it, just because it was arbitrary. The only person allowed to call me deb is my husband....(smile).....I could never write fiction because I would never be able to decide on a name..and I love the Anne books, movies and PEI.

  3. I really enjoyed your post! Excited about my new name:)

    1. Isn't it fun to think about? I love the study of the Names of God....and each one gives us a deeper understanding and relationship with Him....I mean, just the fact that He knows us by name....and calls the stars by name...it is mind-boggling.

  4. Names are important aren't they...if we signed a check by another name than that which is on our account, it wouldn't get paid. I'm happy to wear the name of Christ - nothing more, nothing less.

    1. Yes, Andrew. That phrase "wear the name of Christ"...I have used that often....to my kids and to teens I have instructed. It is important to remember that if we wear His name, it came at a price. There was a covenant...I took my husband's name when we married. It is a sign of belonging...gosh, so much to think about once we get started on pondering the naming of things....and people.....

  5. Love Anne. She was always good for a laugh. Very clever the way you tied her into your post. I was aware of some of the name changes in the bible but you have alerted me to others. I read a novel once where the characters looked up the meaning of people's name to encourage them to live up to its meaning. Maybe people are looking for something attached directly to them to live up to.

    1. I think that you are right, Mary. People want to have meaning in their lives...and having a name with a special meaning or for a special reason or a person can do that. On the flip side of that, names can have negative influences and people change them. I must say that choosing a name for our children was not a simple task for us. Thank you for your kind words...and names, meanings and changes are too numerous to list from the Bible if you start looking.....