Space For Our Names

Last weekend, Ian and I had a really wonderful opportunity to travel to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a few days. It was a needed gift to change up our routines, do some hiking, explore new areas, and see some beautiful fall colors.

One thing I try to do occasionally, especially in times of stress, is make some space to simply notice things. From time to time, it’s good to just let the surroundings speak to us.

This weekend, I noticed one thing that will stay with me for a long time:

On Friday, we walked into a café in Munising, Michigan. It’s called Falling Rock Café and Bookstore. As soon as we stepped in the door, I was moved by a particular sight – a huge number of mugs hanging on hooks. Each mug was labeled with a person’s name. Four whole walls of mugs and names.

All the mugs represented the regulars from the community in Munising.

There were rows and rows of first and last names. Some labels used relational titles like “Rev. _____” and “Coach _____.” I saw many Indigenous names. I saw some names in quotes, a nickname inserted between a person’s first and last name. All of these people could pull their own mugs down from the wall and order coffee.

This was all so touching. These mugs were a symbol of welcome. These mugs were a symbol of being known and valued.

I teared up a bit as I stood there looking at these long lines of mugs.

We all have a deep, human longing to be known and welcomed just like this. We need to know that we belong in our communities – that there is space for us.

Space for who we are. Space for our very names.

Renee Roederer

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