What’s in a Name?


In 1969, my father became a Conscientious Objector during the Vietnam War, knowing he was morally unable to kill another human being. As a CO, my dad was required to serve domestically for two years, so we found ourselves–me as a developing being inside my mother’s body, and my young hippie parents–living in a deaconess home for children, which housed those who had been taken away from their own parents for one reason or another. My mom and dad became the house parents for all of the boys.

During this time in Montana, my parents went once to a hunger march, where there were many speakers. One of them was a spunky woman named Rosalie Sorrels. She was a folk singer, friends with Pete Seeger. My parents were touched by what she said, and since mom was 8 months pregnant with me, she went out to relax under a big pine tree. Dreamily, she received the message that I was to be named after the folk singer, and, further, a book cover was shown to her and she saw my name, Sorel Haruf, written on the side of the book. The name was perfectly balanced with r’s in the middle and 5 letters each. My name and indeed, what I achieve with this identity, have always seemed somehow Divinely chosen.

What is the story of your own name, if you care to share it? How is it significant for you? Do you get the sense that people are calling you by your True Name; that they are truly Seeing you?


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