What’s in a name? Immortal words. I smell not like a rose, and yet I have a name. Daniel. Given to me by my parents when forced into this world, and I stand always behind it. It epitomizes who I am in the minds of those who consider me. I am, for the most part, unknowing of the details of that representation. Am I liked or reviled? I know this. Am I honest or deceitful? I think I know this. But if these questions are on a scale in the mind of another, I know not where I fall. My name is mine, but it does not belong to me; it belongs to those who know or meet me.
Daniel comes from Hebrew and means “God is my judge.” I learned this at a young age. I do not know now whether learning this fact affected my conscience or I was just very appropriately named. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I don’t do bad things. Everybody does, it’s normal to. But it’s not normal to agonize over minor failings, like the killing of a spider (I do not agonize over the death of stink-bugs, I pleasure in this. But now I agonize over this just realized pleasure). Often, minor failings result in feelings of guilt, internally expressed apologies to the spider, and internal apologies and rationalization to God.
This is not an essay on the nature of God, or a declaration of which god I subscribe to. I will say that I tend to prefer a god(s) who (which) don’t fill my inbox with spam. I can also say with some certainty that my version of God is unique and in all likelihood informed by many traditions. When I talk in my head with God, I look up. I can’t help this. But sometimes Cedar gives me a guilt-inducing look which makes me suspect that he is God’s secret spy-camera. God is my Judge, and a voyeur. Actually, I see it a bit differently: God is my Captor.