I finished a really good book a few weeks ago but I just don’t have time to process and write about it so I’ve stooped to the level of rants and repeats lately so here’s another repeat.
Yesterday in class I distributed some Bibles from my shelf since students had not brought their own to class [imagine that in a Bible college!]. One of the students noted something on the inside cover. “Who are Gari and Cyndy Brandt?” she asked.
I do tell the story of my name in a different class that she had never taken. So, for all the people in the blogosphere who have not taken that class I offer you a brief version. My parents named me Gareth. In my teenage years I went through the usual quest for identity and independence from my parents. As was the custom in those days, short form names like Bob, Stan, Jimmy, etc. were a lot cooler than what parents called you and so it became Gary or sometimes Garry, but very shortly I got a penpal [kind of like a facebook friend if you don’t know what that is] by the name of Sheri. Wouldn’t it be neat to be Gari and Sheri?! And so it was. I even changed my real name to be spelled Garith so the peculiar spelling would make more sense. It stuck till I was in my 30’s.
I was sexually abused during my childhood. To make a long story short, I was finally able to face this reality head on in my 30’s. Through work with a counselor and spiritual director I was able to find healing and release from these painful memories that had been pushed down for so many years. As a symbol of reclaiming my childhood innocence I reclaimed my childhood name, Gareth. With a corresponding geographical move a few years later, it seemed a good time to do that in public. I’m not offended if old friends or family call me Gari, but my name is Gareth. It means “sword bearer” and as my mother says, it was prophetic that I would one day be a preacher. And so it is that I now appropriately work at a Bible college.