by Dan Jones
While on a recent mission trip, I noticed that my Dominican brothers and sisters were referring to me as "Dan Jones."
Not just "Dan," but the whole name. Dan Jones.
And it tended to all blend together into one word.
Now, it is true that in their culture, pretty much no one has a one-syllable nickname. When I first told them my name was "Dan," the look on their faces was if they were waiting for the punchline. I explained that it was the same name in the Old Testament as the prophet Daniel. This was an acceptable answer, and they began calling me "Daniyel."
That lasted for maybe a couple of hours.
I even noticed that my fellow team members were calling me by full name, even when I hadn't done anything wrong.
I had some time to ponder this as I was painting the metal steps on the outside of the Altar of God Community Church and it came to me as to why this was so.
It is because of my lovely wife, but it is all my fault.
You see, I suffer from a common condition among men which I am choosing to call, "Intense Concentration Hearing Impairment" or ICHI.
When I am doing something which requires intense concentration, say reading the back of a cereal box while eating breakfast, my brain is able to disconnect my auditory nerves so as to be able to devote my full and absolute attention to important and earth-changing questions such as discerning what part of the ingredients in Grape Nuts are actually derived from grapes.
This is an extremely valuable trait, as many times it has allowed me to ascertain the answers to questions I would have never been able to figure out, had I been born with a "normal" human brain.
For example, the answer to the Grape Nuts questions is: "None."
Now, should someone (in this example, my previously mentioned lovely and treasured wife) require my attention during such an important study of packaged cereal ingredients because the furnace is making a noise like fully-loaded Peterbuilt applying the Jake Brake on a 45-degree incline, there is a totally understandable delay during the time it takes for my brain to reconnect my auditory nerves to my ears.
As a result, prying my attention away from said cereal box requires MLW to use the following technique:
"Dan... Dan... DAN JONES!"
To which I will respond with, "Huh?"
This is such a frequent occurrence that she has learned to skip the time-wasting and redundant use of my unaccompanied first name and now exclusively uses my full name when she deems it necessary.
"Dan Jones, are you really going to wear socks with sandals?"
To which I find myself responding: "The Dominican Republic does not want to see Dan Jones's naked feet."
And, of course, other people in the general vicinity also quickly learn that this is the only effective way to garner my attention, which has now understandably lead to an entire island nation referring to me as Danjones.
One of our team members on the mission trip named "Rachel" (whom the Dominicans refer to as "Raquel") brought a large number of puppets to use in skits for the children, one of which looked like an elderly gentleman with white hair, a mustache, and glasses --and which my team members (without any hesitation or consultation on my part) instantly named "Dan Jones."
And, because Rachel is a generous and loving dear Christian woman, she taught our Dominican brothers and sisters how to use and care for the puppets.
And then she agreed to leave many of the puppets there for them to use, including Dan Jones.
And Dan Jones is happy and blessed that Dan Jones has taken up permanent residence in the country and with the people he has grown to love.
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)