The third century Babylonian myth masters say it like this: “There are three names in a person’s life. The name his mother and father called him, the name his friends call him, and the name he owns himself.” The choice of words here is important. We are called by names–that is to say names are the chorus of our calling.

First, there are the names on our birth certificates usually given to us by our parents. Then, there are all sorts of names given to us by our community. These may start with the affectionate or not so affectionate baby names we are called by our parents. They include the nicknames given by brothers, sisters, extended family or friends. Included in this category are also the cruel and jeering names of childhood that sometimes leave scars for life. Finally, there are the names that we choose for ourselves, sometimes leaving behind an old name and choosing a new one which better reflects who we have become as life unfolded.

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