What’s in a name? Growing up I didn’t really like my name, at least, that’s what I remember. I didn’t have what I considered to be a cool name and of all things, I actually wanted something that was more common, more asian, and wasn’t so unusual to me (I never knew anyone or ever heard the name Jedd till I was older). I was tired of hearing people rhyme Jedd with unimaginable words like bed and dead. Tired of listening to my Orthodontist sing the “Let me tell you about a story about a man name Jed” song (which I never knew anything about the Beverly Hillbillies at the time and yes, he did sing that song every time he tightened my braces). Familiar faces, people that looked like me (yes, Asian people) were not named Jedd. People would be quite shocked in some cases to meet me and learn that my name was Jedd, expecting someone different (yet my other Asian friends were named Brent, Aaron, Heather, and Jennifer just to name a few). I admit, there were times when I wondered why. Even in high school I thought if I could choose a name for myself I’d much rather be something like a Tony (Yes, I don’t know where I got this from) or my Hawaiian middle name of Kaeo (hoping I was from Hawaiian lineage somewhere). But Jedd?
I watched the movie “The Namesake” tonight with Michelle and it got me thinking about my name and all the things that have happened in my life that have brought me to this point. While I thought my name Jedd had come from “Return of the Jedi” which ironically came out the same year I was born, I have come to learn that my parents picked Jedd from the Biblical name of Jedidiah, beloved of the Lord. I tell people that my parents shortened my name because they thought I wouldn’t be able to spell Jedidiah growing up and that they felt the spelling of Jedd looked a lot better then Jed with one D (of course, I could just be telling a crazy story, I’ll have to check with my mom). So Jedd I was, but I never really embraced my name until later.
Reflecting on life now and what has happened, I can only say that the name fits. I am truly blessed. Everyday God reminds me that He loves me as proof by the people in my life such as my wife, my family, and my friends. I am humbled to think that my name has come from a marriage of two very different and wonderful individuals. I think of the ways in which they have sacrificed their lives for me, the ways in which I caused chaos to them, and the ways they have let me know that they love and care about me no matter how many times I’ve screwed up.
Like many things in life, my name is nothing and everything at the same time. We often hear our names called, read our names in email, even hear strangers say our names like they know us (thank you unsolicited phone callers). We don’t have time in our busy lives to really think about our name’s meaning, the rich cultural history behind it, but more importantly, the story of how we came to be. I see and use my name everyday, but rarely do I think about what my name means. We treat our names like they are nothing. But whether you like the sound of it, the spelling, the way it rolls of your tongue, your name is you, it is everything. It is the collective whole of experiences both past and present that make you, you. It is a way that you are known in this world, unique in that people know you because of your name (and also people don’t know you because of your name).
I am forever grateful to my parents. I am continuing to discovering what it means to be Jedd with two D’s and I am blessed to have my name and not Tony (which is a great name for someone else).