i was born in the Philippine Islands. Mom said i was to be called Carolyn. My sister couldn't quite get her pronunciation right on the hard "C" -- so she called me Arlyn. When my family immigrated to California, for my Dad was in the US Navy, Arlyn was Americanized to Arlene. Even today, that name has stuck...i'm Arlene to my family and close relatives.
BUT -- !!! i was baptized (both my parents are Catholic) with the first name Merlina. In secondary school, i got my first lesson of THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS! Imagine my chagrin when i reported in to my 8th grade class, a girl, Filipina also, called out, "Hey! that's my name! (It's a small world indeed!!! for this Merlina came from the same island, same province, just the next small town after mine!) Our teacher was fair -- or maybe she just didn't want to deal with any dramas -- she had us answer to roll call by our nicknames: Arlene for me and Lynn for the other one...hahaha!!! (We actually became best friends in high school...even co-captained the school's drill team.)
So to the world out there, i was Merlina...at school, at work, to strangers/acquaintances.
THEN -- !!! i became a New Age thinker, backpacker/world traveler, massage therapist. Merlina got shortened to Merlin. GET IT? My business card was -- "Merlin, with the Magic Touch." It was a catchy name alright...even hid my gender...i could have been either or!
THEN -- !!! i got saved! CHRIST became my new life. i wanted to minimize the big ME in MErlin...for my ego was great INDEED!!! -- and instead, magnify my Beloved LORD. To reinforce my desire to subdue the ME in me, i started signing my name in small letters, no caps. Then, in a seminar sponsored by my church, we had to write our names on cards...i wrote merlin in small caps as usual, then SPIRIT led me to cross the "me" out of merlin.
SO -- !!! i became (at least in my heart) "rlin". The final transformation of my name, which matched the deep transformation of the "me" that i am, happened just last month, April 2009. i took out, cut out (killed!!!) even that small "i".
FINALLY -- !!! here i am...rln! really love, live, laugh now!
The exclamation point is how i live my life today -- with joyful zest, with focused urgency on my Beloved LORD JESUS, with the "umph!" of the HOLY SPIRIT.
...and because i'm excited INDEED!
(P.S. -- My daughter saw Arlyn as rln! Imagine my Mom calling me in her Tagalog accent -- she's a bit deaf, so she's a bit loud -- "Arlyn!" sounds like rln!)