People closest to me would know that I grew up with the nickname Pache. It was a morphed version of “Fache”, which was coined by my dad after annoyingly mixing “Fatima” and “Michelle” together. That came up because at five, I grew fond of the name Michelle after hearing the Beatles sang their song with the same title. I loved that song so much that I wanted to change my name to Michelle. Pache had another version: "Che", an abbreviation. 

I was named Ma. Fatima by my parents. Although an Arabic name which means "the shining one" and popularly known as Mohammad's daughter's name, my parents gave me the name Fatima because of a more Catholic reason. According to my mom, weeks before I was born, my dad dreamt of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who at one time appeared to three shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. Hence, the title Our Lady of Fatima. Being devout Catholics, they named me in her honor. Interestingly though, I stumbled upon an article in the internet that Fatima Zahra, daughter of Mohammad and Mary, mother of Jesus are likened to each other by the members of their respective faiths.  "Ma." was an abbreviated form of Maria, Spanish for Mary. 

In grade school, my classmates would call me Fatty no matter how thin I was, as it was conveniently the first two syllables of my name Fatima. But when I reached high school, a classmate started calling me Faith. Apparently, her cousin named Fatima was fondly called Faith in their family. Then, that name got stuck. 

I read and heard how a name affects the character of a person—precisely why elders would be very meticulous in giving names to newborns. We can recall how in fairy tales would the fairy godmothers hover around their godchild and giggly suggest names that reflect virtues which they feel would be something the kid would possess as he/she grows up. In the Catholic tradition, it was suggested that children would be named after saints so as they grow, they can learn to emulate their namesake. But with the evolution of more modern names, we somehow lose this tradition.

The Bible was also filled of etymologies and meanings of names. More interestingly though, was the changing of names when God ordains certain people for specific tasks. Jacob was renamed to Israel when he wrestled with God; Simon was renamed to Peter (meaning "rock") when Jesus entrusted to him the Church; and Saul, a prime critic of the Christians during the Early Christianity bore the name of a King in the Old Testament was changed to Paul (meaning "little") when he became Christian. Then, he learned the value of humility. The name change somehow suggest an entirely, huge change in the person. As if a new person was created and the old was gone.

In a conversation with a friend, I realized that perhaps, God allowed my nickname "Faith" to stick to remind me that I must bear the true meaning of my name. Through the years, I realized that I lack the ability to trust my talents, skills, choices--ultimately myself. This distrust led to a long line of stories of mistrust to people, poor judgment as to who to trust and fear of simply letting go. My friend, rightly put it: "You just got to embrace faith, Faith." More than faith as synonymous to trust, I knew it also meant I got to embrace the whole of who I am. No pretenses. No conditions. No expectations.

And perhaps, when I become successful in doing that, I will emerge to be that better and more brilliant person that God intended me to be. ♥ 

1 comment:

sterndal said...


i think Fatima is a lovely name

my Muslim friend's name is also Fatima

but spells "Fatimah"

happy blogging