I’ve always been intrigued by origins. I want to know what inspires a song and what the story behind it is, how the plot for a novel arises and how it develops, where we come from and why we’re here (which, to a large extent, is what I seek to celebrate in this blog!), and what’s behind a name, be it the name of a person, organisation, place, book – whatever…
And so it was important to me that the name of this blog held meaning that was personal and also encompassed the grace I’ve become so conscious of and am so grateful for, while carrying with it an element of uniqueness.
The creation of a blog was a goal of mine for 2014, and on New Year’s Eve of 2013, as I often try to do, I was reflecting on the past year and considering my goals and plans for the year ahead. My thoughts wandered onto blog names, and I mulled over a few possibilities. “Amazing Grace” was an obvious choice (though perhaps not as unique as I would have liked) but was already taken with a .com domain extension, which is what I was hoping for. I considered a different extension, but concluded that www.amazinggrace.anything was a little too close to “Amazing Race” for my comfort anyway. I also considered “Threads of Grace” because it embodied the idea of tracing lines of grace through generations, but it was also taken. I fiddled around with a few other names, but some were taken and the others didn’t particularly do anything for me.
Eventually, somewhat frustrated, I got up to refill my glass of bubbly and muttered something to the effect of, “Lord, I really need Your help with this. I want a name that will express my gratitude for Your grace to me, in a personal way…” I poured the sparkling wine, and put the bottle back in the fridge. I was just taking a sip, delighting in the enthusiastic fizz, when it came to me: On Grace Row. That’s it! I put my glass down and rushed to check whether www.ongracerow.com was available – it was! Happy dance! Happy dance!
One Name; Three Facets
So, what in the name is so meaningful to me? Well, if someone’s on death row, we know they’ve been sentenced to death, right? And I guess there’s a sense in which we’re all on death row. But what if we’ve been offered and have chosen grace? That’s a life which was headed the wrong direction, which was once on death row, pardoned by grace and completely turned around. To me, “On Grace Row” perfectly expresses this concept, the concept out of which this blog arose, the thought of living a life under grace, or, now, a life “on grace row”.
But wait! That’s not all: many friends and colleagues refer to me as “Row”, so it’s an added bonus that “Row” just happens to be part of the name. Questioning is something I do a lot of. I wrestle with doubts and fears, and, in that frame of mind, I hear myself asking things like, “On what can we base this faith, this hope, this love?” And I hear the voices of people who have walked a road with me say, “On grace, Row.” Then there’s one of the main reasons for this blog: me sharing some of my stories of grace, which could possibly be expressed as “On grace: Row”. The power of punctuation… 😉
So, there you have it – the story of a name that got me super-excited, itself a story of grace and answered prayer!