I have always been in a weird position regarding my name. At times I feel that my name is so unique that it makes me special among people, but sometimes I wish I don’t even have a name at all. Zeril Jan is a rather feminine name for a boy and my mom would always tell me that my looks were based on the Child Jesus. Of course, I made the assumption that since it was the case of being molded in the figure of the divine, I believed I’ve held an aura of grace that even mortal women can’t have which is why my parents didn’t bother with the masculinity or femininity of my name. It should be noted, too, that I should’ve been Eril John had my older sister have a different name. My parents wanted us siblings to all have the same initials, ZJ, so I became Zeril Jan.
The Greeks had a meaning for my name. Well, at least the name from which it is derived. Cyril (derived from Kyrios) which was the basis for the first of my first name meant “lord.” And then there’s my other name Jan with roots on the Hebrew Yohanan, Yohannes in Latin, and finally the modern John. It means “God is gracious”. So you can put these two names together, and you get “The Lord God is gracious.” But God’s grace isn’t infinite. My life is made of suffering, of being hidden, of being alone. All throughout my life I have asked God why I had to bear this cross and why He hasn’t taken this cup of suffering from me yet. I have cried and cried tears enough to match the Great Flood, and my blood had been shed countless of times. I trudge onward without looking back as Jesus did through his path to Golgotha.
The people that I often encounter had never been able to pronounce my name as if it was rolling off their tongue. Jeril, Cyril, Jyril, and countless more, but I really don’t mind. It makes it much more interesting because people know me by different names, different identities, and different personalities. The change of name makes it all the more apparent that who I am is not fixed, but dynamic and ever-changing.
There are moments where I wished people gave pronouncing names much more with grace since names are often believed to hold some holy and sacred meaning to the person who bears it. I like my name a little bit better when I pronounce it. It gives me the sense that I have a place in the world, and that I have an identity within the name itself.
Although people know me by many names, some endearing and some very formal like Ze, Zen, Sen, Zeril, Jan, Yan. In the distant future I might gain many more names, but I would always be Zeril Jan. The boy with dimples carved by the hands of God’s cherubims, and a face which mirrors that of the Holy Infant. God had been gracious indeed as he placed me upon the world that oftentimes pricks at my heart, but which I have learned to love.