morning thoughts

how can i possibly give to you a name? you, who have opened me beyond my previous names for myself. you, who have healed me of all naming.
sometimes i wonder why, why we were given the charge to name, or is this just one more old testament trick of the patriarchs, the wounded desire of man to control credited to the will of god….
i have heard is said that when we name a thing, it creates relationship with that thing. so it is that the nameless suffering are too easy to ignore. so it is that the judgments we carry about a labeled group of people dissipate when we have a name to make the idea human. so it is that death row inmate becomes joe. so it is that animal becomes pet, a member of the family, in relationship, rather than a fear or food source… the nourishment that it provides changing from one type to another with the changing of the name.
so yes, i see how relationship is forged through naming, for better or for worse, we determine the value of a thing by the names we give to it. and somehow the power of determining that relationship, that worth, lies on the lips and the tongue, in the heart and the mind, of the one who does the naming….the one with the power to name. i wonder, does our naming of a thing make it so?
is a tree still a tree? after it is named, can we ever truly know it for what it is, or is all future knowing somehow filtered, limited by the name we have chosen to call it. am i ever again invited to relish its intricate beauty, to see it for what it is. can i ever again see the child as child emerging from the womb, once i know him as billy. do i ever again see the bird, or do i see the image that is drawn in my mind when i hear the name for it. is the spirit of a thing somehow enslaved, its true capacity to relate to us constricted by this word that comes between us? can it ever speak its truth to me again?
no, i shall not name you, for to do so is to steal from you that which is yours alone to speak. i shall not label nor de-fine you, for to do so is to attempt to capture that of you which should be free. to do so is to tell those who pass this way behind me what it is that they must see, and so to steal from them the richness that is you. and i do not wish to possess you for myself…..for to possess you is to diminish you. it is like picking up a pebble for my pocket, proclaiming it as earth, exclaiming it as mine.

so it is that i, lover of words that i am, refuse to give a word to you. so that i can set you free, let you be yourself. for this is how you taught me to be free, by simply seeing me without requiring me to be anything but what i am.

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