I am Charis and I love my name. I always have. It is a beautiful word. Charis. Greek word for grace. It has meaning and connection. My father is a linquist and was studying Greek when I was born, so I was graciously named Charis. His mother’s name was Grace. While I am not my grandmother’s literal namesake, my name maintains a link to my heritage as well as reflects the focus of my father’s life calling. I like that duality.
I love my name. I always have, but other people are confused by it. Charis has become Charisse, Char-is, Chair-is, Charles, Candice, Chris, Karen… I used to think I was being gracious by overlooking the stumbled pronunciations. I didn’t want to embarrass others. It wasn’t their fault that my name was unique and unfamiliar. Somewhere in my journey through grace I’ve stopped doing that. I correct people – gently, politely. I am Charis, after all – not any of those other names.
I am Charis. I love my name. I always have. It is more than a name, however. It challenges me to let it define more than my personal identity; it is a call to a way of thinking and of being in life. One cannot be named something so beautiful and gracious as Charis and then be an angry, bitter, impatient person. One cannot be elegantly named Grace and then live ungraciously.
I love my name. I always have. I pray that when my physical existence comes to a close, people who knew me will say, “She lived up to her name. She lived graciously.” If I can reflect even a tiny portion of God’s vast and amazing grace in my life… what a humbling endeavor.