ARCHIVE LIBRARY

RETURN TO THE “WHO DAT” NATION

By Lev Yeled Ohevi (AKA Ron Cook)

A few years ago, I wrote for you here under my “bellybutton” name, Ron Cook. That’s the name I was given at birth by Julius and Margie (my biological parents). I used that name for seventy years. It is a good name. But three years ago, I went into the waters of baptism and was given a Hebrew name which represents what my Hebrew friends see in me. Lev is “Heart.” Yeled is, “Of a child,” and Ohevi means, “a friend from God.” Ron Cook is who I was (and remain legally), but Lev Yeled is who I am in the eyes of those friends and family that love me. I cherish that name …

I have been almost five years away from writing. There are many stories I want to tell. There has been much that has happened in the world. Look into the eyes of the children in the picture. Stone is four, and Odyssey is six. They don’t really know what the world is up to … They only see the joy of existence. How do we preserve that world for them? How do we keep the world a place of joy and hope so that they do not lose that innocent joy and love for life (or “joie de vie,” as we say in Louisiana) that they have now? Over the next precious moments we get to spend together, I want to cast some light on how we, as the “Who Dat” nation, chose to look at our lives … how we chose to keep the “joie de vie” alive for ourselves and all those we love and even the stranger we meet on the street (that was me in Louisiana).

For the last five years I have lived in a community of believers. We were mostly separate from the ongoing life of the “world.” I did not have a phone, a car, or regular interaction with the world. No movies, no television. My life was in the community. This was good in many ways. I did not interact with the daily quirkiness of the world. I still saw my family but on a more limited basis. I only became aware of some of the more remarkable events in the world in pieces. They did not affect the community as much as it did the rest of the world. We still carried on our regular activities, had training for our children, and continued to interact, but in a more careful way. I must say we were impacted by the Boulder Marshal Road fire which occurred in our area and burned the house I was in first before it consumed the other one-thousand eighty homes in its path.

I have recently left the Intentional Community and moved back to a small town deep in the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Stone and Odyssey live here with their parents. It is peaceful here. Life is full of community. Everyone knows everyone else.

Tonight, I visited a local hangout where festive music was performed. Everyone danced and smiled. Across the street was a Dance Party where Aja, Anastacia, and Alicia freely moved to the music along with many others. Festivals are frequent here. People celebrate the sweet little life they love here. They work hard at many useful jobs that often support community life. They celebrate the “joie de vie” that they have moved here to pursue.

Many people know what their name means. They live it out. Alicia means “truth.” Miriam means “most wanted.” Aja means “of God.” Anastacia means “resurrection.” Some of these names were given to them by their baby-boomer parents (like my wife and I named our children Meghan Joy, Gabriel Demetrius, Xanthe Alexis, and Brie Juliann). Names are important things to hang on a person. Some of the children keep their given names. Others change them. After all, we have talked in the past how a name is just something we assign to a face … but a face is a real thing. If the name describes the person, how much more likely are we to know it?

Lev, meaning “heart” in Hebrew, is a quite common first name among the Hebrew culture. But in Hebrew there are no nicknames used. Casandra, which means “shining on men,” is not Cassie in the Hebrew and Greek. Cassandra is Stone and Odyssey’s mother. She is the proper Cassandra to me. This is how I will call her. Some of my Hebrew friends call me Lev or Lev Yeled. No one calls me Levie or Yel for short. My nickname in the world was Kookie (from Cook), but I thought that was cool. It made as much sense as Ron (or Ronnie which only my mother and grandmother could call me). Our names are given not just as a label to slap on us as a child, but as a first word that requires our immediate attention to our parents so that we may honor them by responding to what they say to us.

Maybe we’ll end there for now …

Thank you for this conversation. Let’s pick it up again next month.
Thank you, Daniel and Susan, for your encouragement.

Go love a child today…

Respect them…

Honor them…

Be honorable yourself.

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