…IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST by Dorris Murdock Blough

I recently read an article that I find worthy of posting. I have added it below.

 

Brethren Life and Thought 32 no 2 Spr 1987, p 111-112. Issue Record: ATLA0000179382

 

… IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST

DORRIS MURDOCK BLOUGH

The divorce was only a matter of time. The pain, the frustration, sense of failure … it was all there. But there was nothing else to be done about the relationship … Jim had made that very clear. No more counseling with Dr. Brown … no more painful confrontations …

He had moved out, and that day he was coming back so they could divide their possessions, those collected items of shared experiences. The records, the momentoes from travels, the rocking chairs …

Jim and Jean moved through the house, tense and terse, keeping the conversation strictly on an arms-length basis. He had made that footstool in high school… it should be his, of course. That old book belonged to his Uncle Jim… that cream pitcher to his mother… And the piano, originally a gift from his parents would go to Chérie, their daughter. Jean had spent many pleasant hours playing the piano … but…

In “their” bedroom Jean stood looking at the beautiful handmade dresser. .. crafted in 1856 for another Mrs. Smith, Jim’s great grandmother. Sometimes when Jean dusted it, she had felt close to that other Mrs. Smith in whose name and lineage she followed. But, of course, the dresser would stay in the family… anything that had come from Jim’s family would stay with him …

Thirty-three years of marriage, and nothing belonged to her. Suddenly she could not go on. “Let’s do this another time. I . . . it’s much too hot right now.”

He left very soon.

Jean dropped into the big arm chair in the front room and let her feelings wash over her. As she had done since the beginning of this experience, some months before, she allowed herself to be submerged in the feelings, the emotion of the moment. Fear, anger, pain… all of them. She had discovered that by immersing herself in them, they passed more quickly, and by not denying the deepest level of feeling, she could take from it the gift of learning. And though terribly painful, over and over she had gained new insights into herself and her world.

From Henri Nouwen she had learned to go to her “desert” and there to meet Jesus Christ, the God that was within her. She went to that desert now, letting the thoughts flow without an attempt to organize or impede them.

Talking aloud seemed to help her think.

“For thirty-three years I have been on loan from the McKay family to the Smith family. I have given birth to four children with the name of Smith.

 

Brethren Life and Thought

 

111

 

“Jim does not want to continue the relationship… I have been Mrs. James Smith for thirty-three years. As of the time Jim moved out, Mrs. James Smith ceased to exist. But I WAS Mrs. James Smith for thirty-three years. If Mrs. James Smith does not exist, then I do not exist!

“I cannot go back to being McKay… that was too long ago. I gave up my family thirty-three years ago to become Smith.

“… At this moment I have no name… no family… no roots… no financial base of security… no emotional support system that comes from family. I have no past and therefore no future … because the future comes out of the past.

“And so … at this moment… I am nobody! NOBODY!”

She gave herself to her tears and felt swept into the terrible darkness of nothingness, of being NOBODY.

Finally her sobs lessened, and again she spoke aloud.

“Who am I? If I am not the person I have been for thirty-three years… then who am I?

“… Mrs. Jean Smith … Jean McKay Smith … Jean Smith MpKay…

“… to what name shall I answer … to what name shall I respond?

“… In whose name shall I do the work I have to do?… in the name of Jean Smith … in the name of Jesus Christ…”

Abruptly her tears stopped… she sat up straight. “… In the name of Jesus Christ…” she said again.

And suddenly she knew the answer… the answer to who she was … and, for the first time in her fifty-four years, she knew why the Christian says, “… in the name of Jesus Christ.”

She spoke now with a strong voice. “There comes the time when, because of broken relationships, we discover that we are ‘nobody’… we have no identity … no name of our own… and in our lostness and our aloneness we discover that to do something in the name of Jesus Christ is to take on the image of Christ… special… unique.

“To accept the ‘name of Christ’ as my own gives me identity and personhood.

“I am Jean Christ…!”

She wept again, copious tear, but now of joy. She had a name, her own special unique name… one that no one on this earth… nor death… no, not even death, could take away.

She was no longer “Nobody”!

 

112

 

Volume XXXII, Spring 1987

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