(Today’s story happened in 2004, but it will always be a part of the unfolding story of who I am and who I am becoming)
Would It Be OK?
When Debbie and I started dating, it wasn’t long before I met her granddaughter, Rileigh Breeze. I quickly became known by her as “that ‘nother Randy.” I was known as “that ‘nother Randy” because they had a long time family friend also named Randy. So, when Rileigh Breeze talked about “Randy”, she needed a way to clarify which “Randy” she was talking about. Now to her, it just made sense to call me “that ‘nother Randy” since the first “Randy” had been a part of her life for longer than I had been. One day she was telling her “Auntie” something Randy had said. But she quickly added, “Not Randy Randy, but Grammaw’s Randy. You know, that ‘nother Randy.”
It wasn’t long before I was known in Debbie’s family as “that ‘nother Randy.” And I was OK with that designation. It certainly eased the confusion as to which Randy was being discussed. It made for clarity in communication, and besides, it was a cute and humorous way that Rileigh Breeze had made this distinction between the two Randy’s. Without something to make us distinctive, it would be confusing to know which one was which. (If you think it would be confusing to have two family friends named Randy, how about 3 different people not only sharing the same first name, but also the same last name. Yes, there are at least 3 different people named, you guessed it: Randy Burbank; and yes, we are all cousins. And please, no comments about the “Bob Newhart” show: This is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl.)
Debbie and I had been dating almost a year when I asked her to become my wife and partner in God’s ministry. Not long after we announced to her family that we would be married, Rileigh Breeze was talking with her Grammaw about what this meant and the changes that would occur; the biggest of which would be that Grammaw would move across the state, 2 hours away. As best we can remember, during the conversation, she asked, “Grammaw, would it be OK if I called him Grampaw instead of that `nother Randy?” And the first time she called out, “Hey, Grampaw” I knew something special had happened.
Of course, she melted my heart, but something else happened. Our relationship changed from one of friends, to that of family. Even though there is not a genealogical connection, even though there is no shared DNA between Breeze and myself, she is and will always be one of my granddaughters, and I will always be her Grampaw. The cultural designation would be she is a step-granddaughter, but not in my heart. Debbie and I do not have step-grandchildren, only grandchildren. It was amazing to me the first time I heard Rileigh Breeze call me “Grampaw”. Our relationship changed and took on a lot more depth; and it all happened when she called me by the name: Grampaw.
Moral Of The Story
When God calls us by name, there is, without a doubt, a sound of love in the way He does it. I knew there was a deepening of love between Breeze and myself, but it didn’t hit me until she called me by the name, “Grammpaw”! God is constantly calling to us by name, and I want to encourage you not to be too busy so as to miss that moment. Every time God calls you by name is a sacred and powerful moment that offers to change our relationship with Him with ourselves, and with others.
And why does God call us by name? Because He has said: “For I have ransomed you.” Ransom is an interesting word in the Hebrew language. It means: “to act as a kinsman (family member).” God wants us to know we can experience a family relationship with Him. When I married Breeze’s Grammaw, I was no longer a friend, I was a family member and she acknowledged that with my new name. God wants us to know that we are kin, we are family.