I Almost Deserved It

I love my name.

It comes from a disturbing story in Greek mythology. Well, the full Daphne and Apollo myth is a mess, but Laura, Laurie, Laurel, and Lauren type names all come from the Laurel tree that the Greeks made crowns of leaves from to award champions. Diane is derivative of the goddess of the hunt, so that’s cool too. I had a good laugh this morning when Lissy read me the second entry for my name on Urban Dictionary: “A person who cares for other but don’t think others care for her. She is loved by many people and still doesn’t believe it. She is shy around people she doesn’t know but outgoing around her friends. Usually apologizing for things she doesn’t do but is a very forgiving person. She’s not afraid to speak the truth but she doesn’t wanna hurt other people’s feelings. Very beautiful inside and out.”

“Who wrote this entry about me?” I shouted. Then my right leg started spasming wildly again. It still is. Honestly, it hurts a lot. It’s super annoying. I almost deserve it. Okay, really not, but —

“There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

Honestly, honestly, that’s one of my favorite opening lines in all of literature. Straight up, it’s number one. Eustace is my favorite character in all of Narnia for one reason: his undragoning. That’s my favorite scene in the whole series. Maybe in all fiction. It’s beautiful. And Eustace is forever transformed as a person after, so when he accompanies Jill to Narnia in the next book, he’s understandably irritated with her mistakes, but he forgives her. That hit me like a ton of bricks this morning as a series of events unfolded that are not interesting enough to recount to you in this post.

Here’s what I want to reflect on, though, Eustace and Jill blundered about Narnia when they both first showed up, bringing their own imperfections and wreaking hurt on those around them. After unique and powerful encounters with Aslan, they were forever changed and actively worked to love others where they were at. I’m actively working to love others where they are at because of my own unique encounter with Aslan.

Last Tuesday, I had a really beautiful conversation with my friend Hannah about how we both want to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how we need to have conversations with other Jesus oriented people in order to discern the prompting of the Lord. That sentence is loaded with Christianese, but let me do my best to translate: I want to love God and love others better, and I can’t do that on my own. I need other people committed to loving God to help me to grow.

This morning two alumni dedicated to loving God showed up at my house and read a portion of Jeremiah with me and reflected on how we can learn from the lessons recorded in those chapters. My foot was spasming painfully most of the time, but my heart was filled as I listened to these young women think about how they can choose to obey God instead of being a jerkface. That’s actually how Eustace and Jill and our names on Urban Dictionary came up.

My parents deliberately didn’t name me after anyone. They gave me my own name to grow into without any shadow hanging over me. While I used to be a little sad I didn’t have any cool story behind my name other than that my parents thought it sounded nice, I’ve come to love that my name is my own. It means me. I’m a strong, independent woman. I also broke my back nearly eight years ago. I didn’t deserve the disability any more than I deserve the pretty name my parents picked for me. Eustace almost deserved his name, and he’s quite a jerk at the start of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but the moment of his undragoning reveals a lot about human redemption, and I’m happy to say that as I continue to grow into my name, it’s associated with an undragoned, redeemed Jesus loving woman.

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