Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Your Name

When my mom was pregnant with me she thought I'd be a boy. She was going to call me Timothy. A friend of hers sent her a print one day. It was just a little picture, an illustration of an ancient village. Today the village is called Al-Azariye* because Lazarus was raised from the dead there (can you pick out his name in the Arabic name?) The caption of this intriguing little drawing was simply Bethany because that's what the village was called before it became famous for Christ's friends living there. I guess the print struck my mom, and she decided that if her baby turned out to be a girl she'd call her Bethany. I was a girl (still am) and I am Bethany.

In the autumn of 2008 I got to go there, to Bethany. I felt like it was my town. My name was on everything. "Bethany's Souveniers" and "The oldest well in Bethany!" It was what I was named after. It wasn't just a pretty-sounding name to my mom, she really named me directly after this place and after that drawing. I returned home from Jerusalem right before Christmas. My mom had begun painting with watercolors not long before that, and for Christmas she surprised me with a painting she had recently completed; a copy of the print, Bethany.

It hangs in my apartment, and it reminds me of my time there. Al-Azariye looks nothing like this anymore, but it's still beautiful to me because of what happened there and because we share something.

Al-Azariye, as I mentioned, is what Bethany, is now called, so when I was in Jerusalem my friends starting calling me Azariya. When I started taking my Arabic classes I had to choose an Arabic name, and I chose Aziza*, which I thought was a good shortened version of Azariya. Aziza just means Bethany to me... in a strange little way.

*It should also be noted that Aziza in Arabic is about the equivalent of Beula, or some other uncommon, unpleasant name in English. It's what people in Egypt might name a lazy cow or an old car that doesn't work so well. It got me lots of laughs when I was there. (Luckily because they said the name didn't suit me!)

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved your name because I associated it with the city. I love that you were named after it, that's awesome. Also, makes me a little homesick.