What’s in a name?
Does a name have meaning?
My parents named me after a brook in the bible. 1 Kings 17:3 or 5 depending on the version you’re using. Elijah sat by the brook Cherith and the ravens fed him. Because at the time King Ahab was seeking Elijah to kill him for being a believer, spreading the word of God, etc. As the story goes God told Elijah where to go, where he would be hidden from the wrath of the King, where he would be safe. My parents believed they had given me a totally unique name.
The next day my father came across a missionary tract he flipped through it, then on the last page was an excerpt from a missionary working in South Africa named Cherith Till. Ironically, my father was born and raised until he was 16 in South Africa.
So, not so unique after all? Or, it that God’s way of saying we’re all connected after all?
I’ve looked up the meaning of my name several times. I’ve never been especially poud, or protective, or worried about my name and it’s pronounciation. Growing up kids never had a problem with my name or saying it correctly the first time. It was always adults who struggled with it. A C-H and a T-H all in one word seemed to confuse people. I could almost see their brain working. Do I say the C-H or the T-H? Cherish, Cheryl, Susan, Sheri, all kinds of versions of my name would I here repeated back to me. Normally I would correct them a few times and then stop if they still couldn’t get it. It’s a hard name to pronouce. I understand. It goes against the standard Americanized versions of easy names. Nothing wrong with easy names to pronouce, or American names, I just don’t have one. So, I never wanted to make a person feel bad if they were unable to get it.
Example: Junior softball.
My mom trying to get me out of the house, she signed me up for softball. I didn’t ask to, I didn’t want to. However, after moving from California where I practically lived outdoors to Oregon the weather made it more difficult to enjoy being outside. I forgot about the day I was supposed to be ready to go to softball practice. When my ride showed up I was in my room playing with my make-up kit. You know the kind for kids made out of wax? Do you know wax make-up is hard to wash off? My coach was actually my ride, and I went to my first practice with a badly made up face.
My coach could not for the life if him say my name. The hard C-H and the T-H was just too difficult. He said how about I call you Sheriff. Uh-ok. Fine. Whatever. I know my name even if you don’t or can’t say it correctly. It’s just never been a point of contention.
I like my name. I think it’s a fine name.
Years later, here I am in Florida. Here I am still in Florida. I wanted to move. I wanted to leave. I was tired of being here for so long. I wanted to be somewhere else and see somewhere else.
I was going to move away change my name almost as a way of shedding this oppressive life here. I had other reasons for wanting to change my name. How difficult is it to search for the name Cherith and find me? Not that hard.
Do you know that it’s snowed in Florida before? It snowed and it stuck on the ground. Florida was wrapped in a blanket of white for a few hours. I was 18 years old working at a big retail store that is no longer in business. Not a single person was in the store because Floridians hardly know how to drive when it rains let alone while its snowing. Looking out into the early night watching the snow fall under the street lights. Cleaning the jewelery counter – again, and again.
It was a beautiful scene I play in my head. I’ve always loved watching it snow. How it changes the scenery which is usually dull and gray barren of greenery into a prestine landscape.
The story continues…