United States

as in Presbyterian Church in America
Ambivert or something
Band nerd + Drum major
Planet Earth nerd
etc, etc

Message to Readers

first of all, i did next to no research before this... it basically consisted of me finding this town on google maps and looking at some pictures.

all in a name

September 16, 2020



i’m not named for anything special
my name does not mean strong or gracious or beautiful or whatever yours does
perhaps when you explored name meaning projects in your kindergarten classes you discovered you shared a name with someone of importance whose memory lives on forever, or perhaps you found your name empowering, a title that sang of who you were and who you would become
not me
i am the house of poverty of affliction of figs
i’m named for a tiny village in palestine just beyond jerusalem
you would not even recognize it by the name it is called today
unless you’ve gone to israel and traveled to it on a tour of the holy land
i haven’t
i don’t even know how to pronounce it and i won’t try
i’ll butcher it my tongue tearing its title to pieces shredding its history
it is easy to feel unconnected to my namesake, so far away
it’s across the atlantic, beyond the mediterranean sea, shrouded in the shadows of timeworn landmarks, and i’ve never even left the east coast
when i look at pictures on google maps, realizing it still exists and hasn’t been torn away by the savage claws of time, i see a place so unlike what i’ve always pictured
now the landscape is dotted by neon lettering and sure signs of a new era
two thousand years is a long time for change to weave its slinking body into the wood
my namesake is foreign to me and i’m foreign to it
but the village holds a much more ancient persuasion
i call it by its old name and mine: bethany
here the characters of my childhood walked along the streets
i wonder if i’ll see their shadows reflected in mirrors if i ever visit
what would i discover if i tore away the streetlamps and the cement and the signs and the symbols of the modern age, if i reduced this place to what it once was
perhaps in the cracked stone i would find pieces of myself, of a history i’ve always known, maybe i’d recognize these age-old streets and remember how my name fits in between the bricks, how i fit into these desert hills
life has a funny way of bending itself here
i imagine the barren hills quiet themselves at certain times of the day, to remind the world of all the things that have happened in this little town
somewhere along these streets a man died and his two sisters mourned for four days, until another came who called himself the resurrection and the life, who called the dead man out of his grave
“lazarus, come out!”
i trace red letters until my fingers bleed, searching for signs of me in the passages written millenia ago, perhaps i’ll discover the connections formed between me and this little village, but i find no ropes tying me to my namesake
instead the only strings i find tie me to the holy city, jerusalem, a few miles down the road, where somewhere on a hill a man was crucified for the sins of the world and for mine and rose three days later as the lamb who conquered death
i wear lazarus and bethany across my chest like a badge of honor
i’ve never found myself in israel’s history, but if there’s one thing i know it’s that lazarus will not be the last one to be called from his grave
i pull forgotten history from my bookshelves and try to find myself in it; little do i realize that my history is sealed on my forehead and in these words i find beneath my fingernails


See History
  • September 16, 2020 - 8:55am (Now Viewing)

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  • beth r.

    this is amazing!
    oh and also, i saw @anne blackwood's comment... my name's Bethany, too! (although I go by Beth lol)

    about 1 year ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Wow, this is so beautiful, Bethany! (I actually love your name btw)

    about 1 year ago
  • Rohan’s Defender (Semi-Active)

    WOW!!! LOVE! This is amazing!!! THIS IS SUCH A GORGEOUS PIECE! My name is Eden :)

    about 1 year ago