In the first in a series of reflections from members of the MHGS community as MHGS begins the process of changing its name to The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, MACP alumna Elisa Mitchell shares about her own experience bestowing a name.
Outfitted with large books filled with thousands of names, my husband and I called out the possibilities. Each name was met with an immediate veto or put on “the list”. I remember my anxiety of wanting to name our daughter with thoughtfulness, intent, hopefulness, and meaning without confining her to the limits of her name. Caleb, my husband, needed the name to mean something; he wanted us to hope for her life, her humanity, and her story in the naming of her, like the Hebrews did in ages past. We both wanted her name to be something of beauty.
We finally agreed on Malia Lynnae – meaning “wished for child who is soft and beautiful.” Little did we know that this little girl, along with her name, would change us in so many ways and open up our imagination of who she truly is, and who we are. In a brief 15 months she has surpassed the meaning of the name we gave her. She is still longed for and both soft and beautiful, but she is also feisty, fiery, and stubborn. She has already shown us that she will live out of the bounds of a title that we bestowed upon her.
In the future she may have nicknames. She might even want to change her name. Her name will birth many associations that we, along with everyone she meets, will have with the name Malia Lynnae. She will be unique; the only her. And, we will get to watch her own, live into, and transform a beautiful name to fit her even more fully.
I have called the school that has broadened my imagination of God, myself, the world I live in, Mars Hill Graduate School, for the past 5 years. I am sure that I will struggle to call it The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. My associations will soon be connected to a new name, but not a new place. A new title, but the same faces. A new logo, but the same unsettling, beautiful stories that have changed my life. For a name is grand, yet much more resides within.