Spelling Matters

01/08/2019 21:30

I tried to send a message to an acquaintance, but I couldn’t find her text messages on my phone. I then checked my contact list, but her name seemed to have disappeared from there as well. Hmmm. A bit later … I picked up my phone to send an sms to another friend, but her name was not in my phone either. Had all my contacts been erased? A few minutes of focused reflection brought me the answer. I’d apparently spelt their names wrong—using an ‘a’ when I should have typed an ‘e’. I’d looked for “Marilyn” when my acquaintance’s name was “Merilyn”. Silly me.
Is spelling important? Of course, it is. You and I know that. Do you spell names correctly? But no, I’m not talking of the letters of the alphabet anymore. I’d like to think I spell another’s name right when I show her respect. When I listen to her. I spell her name correctly by not making hasty judgements. By hearing what she doesn’t say. I spell her name the way it should be spelt by trying to understand her point of view. By being kind.
Take today for instance. While doing my grocery shopping, I passed by a certain check-out lady. She glared at me, then turned the other way. Rejection streamed in, creating a sad pool in my heart. A few years ago, I’d made friends with this lady seeking to bless her, because her life was difficult. At first all went well and we’d meet often to catch up. But one Christmas, I sent her a gift of $20 in her Christmas card to buy herself a present. Who would have known that such an act could be so badly misconstrued? She didn’t want me as a friend any more. I don’t think she knew how to spell my name—she didn’t know my heart. Perhaps I didn't know how to spell her name either?
But there were also other interactions today, first with an older lady who regularly serves me at the meat counter. She never fails to flash a bright smile at me. She treats me as if I were royalty. Today, her kindness made my heart sing. The next encounter I had was with another young checkout girl who chatted to me as if I was an old friend. I was glad to discover that she is a Christian and that she worships at my church. What a small world! A fountain of joy bubbled up in my heart as we talked. Both these ladies spelt my name aright.
It happened last week as well. I was on my way to the city, and when I reached my bus stand, I spotted a young lad standing there. When the bus arrived, I moved aside so that he could get onto the bus—after all, he’d reached the halt first. But … he signalled me to go first. I was warmed by his kind gesture.
Once inside the bus, I took my seat and got out my prayer diary and my mp3 player. Feeling hot inside the heated bus, I left the two items on the seat beside me while I removed my jacket. A moment later, now cooler and less encumbered, I looked for them. The prayer diary was where I’d left it but not my mp3 player. I peered here and I peered there, but all to no avail. It wasn’t near my feet. Could it have fallen behind me? I turned my head, and was glad to see it lying on the ground behind—it would have dropped through a gap in my seat.
I couldn’t reach it—contorting my body didn’t help and manoeuvring my arm through the small space wasn’t a good idea. Not feeling too safe to walk in a moving bus, I hesitated, but a lady seated two rows behind me, moved immediately to the seat behind. It wasn’t easy for her to reach my mp3 player, but after exerting some effort, she retrieved it for me. For the second time that day I was moved by the kindness of a stranger.
I thanked her profusely and prayed much blessing over her in my heart. That lady spelt my name correctly. She spoke words of life over me by her actions. In fact, both people I encountered last week and the two life giving folk at the shops today spelt my name perfectly—by being gracious and kind.

The strange thing is that … not one of the four knew my name!


Whose name will you spell correctly today?

Be kind and compassionate to one another.

forgiving each other, just as God in Christ

forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32