Forte is my nickname. It was given to me on the fly after a spontaneous decision to join my sister at the camp she worked at. I guess I felt drawn to it in the same way I felt drawn to camp that summer: it just sounded like the thing to do. It was given to me because I didn’t like anything else the group of other high school volunteers thought up. It was given to me because of my love of singing and of music.
It did not fit me at all.
I had to grow into the name, into its connotations and denotations, into the way it made me feel and the way it made others feel about me. At first it felt like one of the stickers I peel off of apples and stick onto my friends’ foreheads: peeling off almost as soon as pressed on. If I moved wrong it felt as though it might fall off, or maybe a strong personality might take it off as a breeze caught at the wrong angle. I am not sure if the name formed me or I formed myself into it, though perhaps it was a combination of both, but I am sure that I have filled it out nicely. It’s nooks and crannies never fail to show me more of myself and who I am becoming as I love the Lord better.
Sometimes my given name, Peter, feels like this. It sticks less consistently than does Forte and I don’t think it describes me quite as often. I don’t feel like a rock, not especially like any sort of rock on which anything could be built. What might describe me better is something with rough and jagged edges that is handled with less care than is required, therefore cutting deeply and wounding carelessly. People are worth more than that. Right in line with this, my desire for my life is spontaneity, dashing expectation on something hard and sharp so that the Lord might blow me away without the need of a corrective shepherd’s crook. Maybe all this is because the name given to me later I like better and was given to me under just these circumstances.
I am not good at commitment and I am not good at consistency as a general rule of thumb, yet at every turn it seems to me that these are the positive features of a rock.
They are just not me. (Yet?)
These names mirror how I feel about faith as well. I grew up within it, though it feels stuck on the way my names sometimes do. Sometimes it feels infinite and I feel untouchable within it: small and absolutely at peace. Sometimes it feels like a constrictor, not allowing a breath or a word in edgewise. Sometimes I feel larger than it and that it is only a mere facet of my life and nothing more, forgetting just how wonderful it is to have faith be life. Sometimes it feels as though it is the very thing I must be trying to escape from.
Faith is not my forte.
But faith is a gift, and it is a gift I am learning to receive better.
I am not writing any of this for you, I am writing all of this for me. If we find ourselves together and mirrored in one another, both trying to reflect the one in whose image we were made…are we not finding that image in one another? Are we not finding this subject of reflection and seeing him better?
At some point I have to acknowledge that I know the truth and the truth has set me free, that I can base my knowledge on something solid that I already possess. This itself is an act of faith. This is what this website is. I am continuing to learn and to grow, as the old cliche goes, but that is not something I necessarily have to strive for. Learning will happen because I do not know everything and still continue to live.
The Lord is my rock and in him alone am I rooted. I can stand on this. I can base things on this. This is truth that I remember not quite so often as I forget.
Unlike so much of my life thus far, I am no longer afraid to be wrong and I am no longer afraid of correction because the truth is more voracious than any weed and it will make itself known when I act in quiet caution and blase nonchalance.
I trust who is behind the truth, and indeed, is the truth itself. This is how I show it.