Home LTS Blog The Game of the Name

 26namesMy general practical nature came to the fore, and I wondered whether we get new names in Heaven. (As opposed to wondering, for example, what on earth I’m making for dinner. I only have so many brain cells, and now you see what occupies them.)

There’s all sorts of evidence through every ancient culture that names are powerful, and even in the Bible you find this. Naming implies ownership. When certain individuals take on a new role, God gives them a new name: Abram becomes Abraham. The angel names we know all mean something (Gabriel is “Strength of God,” for example.)

It wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that on entering Heaven, we receive a new name, and maybe a meaningful one at that. Otherwise I’d hate to be one of 45 million John Smiths in Heaven.

(Maybe we get referred to by number? Our Social Security Numbers in Heaven would have twenty digits, though. I’m not sure that’s a supportable system.)

So I thought, maybe you get into Heaven, there’s a huge party, and at the end of it, God bestows your new name. So I enter it as Jane, and I exit as Enthelbarethabretheliel or something never before said in Heaven.

Angel: What — ?
God: It’s very meaningful and profound. Trust me.
Angel: …okay…

And then, of course, because it’s in the Heavenly language, I break down sobbing because I can’t remember it.

Guardian angel: Don’t be upset. It’s also written right here on your entrance certificate.
Me {sobbing harder}: I can’t read the Heavenly writing!

After that comes the inevitable adjustment period, during which the human tries to get oriented in Heaven.

Me: I need to set up a household, but I can’t afford anything more than $20.
Heavenly Target Manager: Surely you have more Mitzvah credits than that.
Me: I do, but then I’d need to sign the credit card slip, and I can’t write my own name.
Guardian Angel: It’s okay. We’ll put it on my card.
Heavenly Target Manager: You know, we sell tracing paper in aisle three so you can learn to write it…
Guardian Angel: Already in the cart.

So my point is…okay, I had no point. What am I making for dinner again?

Guy on phone: Heaven’s Pizza. Will this be takeout or delivery?
Me: Takeout.
Guy on phone: And who will be picking it up?
Me: …
Guardian angel: Give me the phone.

Jane Lebak talks to angels even when they don't want to talk back. At Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family, http://philangelus.wordpress.com, she blogs about what happens when a distracted daydreamer and a gamer geek raise their four children. She has recently published The Boys Upstairs, a novella about a Catholic priest and his estranged brother, a jaded cop, as they attempt to save three kids.

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