Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Viva la Vida: What's in a Name?

I was 19 years old, and working as a Merchandiser in the New Orleans metropolitan area. On this particular day, I was servicing a grocery store in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, when a lady employee of the grocery store approached me.

"Somebody told me you're name is Vogt. Is that right?" I stopped for a moment to affirm that her "source" was correct. She began to probe a bit more, asking if my father had been a policeman. I was hoping that this poor woman didn't have a questionable past. "Yes, and so was my grandfather and my great grandfather." I replied. After a few more questions, we established that it was my grandfather she was inquiring about. And when I mentioned the name of the only partner of his that I was aware of, I saw her face light up.

She smiled really big, revealing a couple of missing teeth, thrust her arm up and then down while simultaneously stomping her foot on the ground, "I knew it! I knew it! Vogt and Viguerie! Vogt and Viguerie! We never had to worry about the neighborhood with those two around!"

I was already accustomed to hearing good things connected to my paternal surname, as I had been told repeatedly by those who knew my father (most of them police officers themselves) of his unsurpassed honesty and integrity.

While I have asked my own children to respect their last name, I really don't recall my father making the same request. I learned more through examples. There are many times during my life that I have made certain decisions for the better simply because of the pride I had in my last name...or fear for what I thought might happen if I did something to tarnish it. Oh, I have not lived a saintly life and have made many choices which do not "live up" to such high praises, but I'm sure that I would have turned out much worse without these "lessons".

There's a lesson here for Christians too. We bear the name of Jesus everywhere we go. We've not always done a great job of living up to the Name, have we? But yet, the truths of Love, Mercy, Justice, and everything that is of God still remain in the Name. Let's work harder to be better witnesses to others in the Name of Jesus, keeping in mind that it is the Name above all names.

Today, March 19, is the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. My grandfather passed away 31 years ago today. To this day, his was the longest funeral procession I have ever personally witnessed; a testament to the name.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Viva la Vida (Live Life) is a running series of posts about my life experiences, meant to help me reflect on the "why's?" of who I am becoming through my ongoing conversion. It won't be chronological or all-inclusive, and I'll be careful not to indict anyone else (too much).

Related posts:
A Glimpse
Tribute to a man I never knew

No comments:

Post a Comment