Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Yesterday evening Allison and I stole about an hour and rode the bike over to see the iris lady. That's not really her name. If so, it would probably be Lady Iris instead of The Iris Lady. But I'm pretty sure her name is not Iris at all. Allison just calls her that because she grows irises. I'll call her that too. Her name is probably Margaret or Phyllis - maybe Jean.
The irises, however, have definite, specific names. There were hundreds of different kinds. Most were in bloom and had a 1" PVC pipe stuck in the ground beside it with its name written on it. Some were one color like the dark "black lightning". Some were multi-colored and intricately patterned while others had gradients of the same colors. They all smelled unique. Given enough time in the garden, I'm sure that each iris could have been identified by name simply by smell. Some smelled like candy (various varieties of hard candy and taffy), some smelled weedy, some powdery. All unique.
I asked Allison if Lady Iris had named these hundreds of varieties, meaning had she developed them. Each name seemed to accurately describe the look and character of the flower to whom it was given. I imagined the breeder/developer sitting, conversing with the flower, taking in its colors and scent, and then naming it according to the feeling she got from such an encounter. Surely these clever, accurate names had not been haphazardly assigned.
I have a name that once was descriptive. It has become haphazardly assigned, assumed, and associated. People who do not bear it, disdain it, because it is no longer associated with the giver of the name. I want a new name. I don't want to just assume it. I want the developer to re-create me so that I have to be renamed to accurately describe me. Could I one day be called, "cares for others", "defends the fatherless", "pleads for the widow", "acts like Jesus," "Incarnational," "seeks Justice", "loves mercy", "walks humbly".
Develop me so that I no longer take Your name in vain simply by calling myself by it.
Lady Iris was very pleased with her flowers. Some of them weren't quite ready yet.

Isaiah 43:1