Every day I read a poem. Some are good. Some are meh. And then, there is one that speaks to my heart. The poem below, entitled Farnaz, is one of the occasional joys. Written by the Iranian-American poet, Farnaz Fatemi, author of Sister Tongue, this poem seems to capture a young girls entire life in three visceral stanzas.
The reason I am sharing it here is because it got me thinking of my own story, and my own name. It made me wonder how I might write it in poetic form. As I thought through it, I was reminded that God actually knows my story better than I do. And it's mostly due to the truth that God knows my name. God knows my name. It makes me feel important. That makes me feel invincible. Like I can do anything. God knows my name, knows my story. And that makes me feel alive.
I was always told our names mean something. My name, Ian, is a Gaelic word for John. And John, so I've been told, means "A gift from God." While it sounds wildly impressive, I think that definition could apply to any name, because it applies to everyone. You might not think your name to be special, or have purpose or meaning in the great vastness of the universe. But God might disagree.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine" (Isaiah 43:1). That is a powerful promise from the one who has fashioned each and every one of us in the imago dei, God's divine image.
Copyright © 2022 by The Kent State University Press. From the forthcoming book Sister Tongue, by Farnaz Fatemi (September 2022). Published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”