“What’s your name?” It’s most often the first question we’re asked at the start of each new school year, at a party, when meeting someone for the first time, at church, or in a new job. “What’s your name” is more than just a request for your given name and surname. Often, it’s a solicitation for your story. Where are you from? Who are your kin? Where do you belong? Our name anchors us to our identity.
In his book No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda tells his own remarkable story of being one of the very last Japanese-born soldiers to surrender in World War II. Onoda was trained as an intelligence officer and deployed to Lubang Island in the Philippines on December 26, 1944. His orders were to carry out guerilla activities and to hamper the enemy’s efforts in every way possible.
How many of us first heard the story of David and Goliath and imagined some massive muscle-bound giant squaring off against a scrawny little kid with a slingshot dangling limply from his fingers? A sort of pitting off between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and that wimpy kid-version of King Arthur (“Wart”) in Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. A completely mismatched battle, right?
Battles are so daily, aren’t they? Battles for health. Battles for our families. For our faith. Battles for others’ souls. For our mental health. Our finances. Our longings! We’re often bombarded with distractions and opposition to our needs and longings day in and day out. Some days, the battles leave us wringing out the emotional sweat of our souls. And we flop into bed at the end of the day thinking, “How am I going to get through another battle tomorrow?”
How often, when we need help, do we think to ourselves, “I just need to suck it up and do it. I should be able to figure this out. I must succeed on my own. I have to hold back the darkness and be strong. I don’t want to burden someone else with my stuff.” We deny ourselves the gift that vulnerability brings us: connection with God and others.
When our children were very young, we began a daily practice around our dinner table called High/Lows, where we each shared what our High for the day was, and what our Low was. The Highs were those things that brought us joy or made us smile, made us feel energized, empowered, and happy.