“The gatekeeper opens the gate for [the shepherd], and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3, NRSV)
Christ calls us by name, trying to lead us the the green pastures of abundant life to flourish; to have a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment; to know and be known, accept and be accepted. Christ calls out our name, hoping for us to listen.
When I was in High School, I had the audacity to take time and read the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. My mother was a counselor and the DSM was lying around the house. I was bored one day, so I picked it up. It wasn’t the most thrilling read I’ve ever partaken in, but I was able to piece enough information together to get myself into trouble.
See, I noticed one particular thing: a lot of mental disorders begin to manifest themselves during adolescence, around the ages of 16+. This just happened to be about the same time I read the information. Not good in the wandering mind of a teenage boy.
I thought I was beginning to show signs of a mental disorder because whenever I would go out into public places, I would hear my name being called. It happened again and again, “Will…” “Will…” “Will…” Over and over and over.
I thought I was going crazy! I didn’t realize that you know, “will” is kind of a common word to be spoken and it also sounded a lot like “well” like, “well, he was really…” I didn’t end up being crazy after all.
However, I did get a bit confused because there were times when people were actually talking to me. I was conditioned to hear all these different voices say my name and I wasn’t able to actually hear when someone was speaking directly to me, often for a very good reason! I would just float on and on and on…until someone would shout in my ear and wake me up out of my self-imposed stupor.
Christ calls us by name, shaking us out of the daze we allow ourselves to be put in.
Thanks be to God.