When I was born, my parents named me Rose Pauline Mugure.
But then I really admired my Father, who used only his “home” name.
My late Dad was a civil servant, in the days when seniority meant a big office, a secretary (or two), several telephone numbers and a private line – a “direct line”, it was called back then.
And as kids, we were only allowed to call Dad on this line when things were really, really thick – like the house was on fire or something. But whenever we did, I remember Dad would pick the phone and simply say:
“Muiruri wa Kabugua”
No “Hello”, no “Can I help you?”. Just his name. And he would pronounce it exactly as it should be done in Kikuyu – no anglicized version for him.
I really admired Dad’s pride in his name, and naturally began to question my English names.
So when I got to my teens I began the process of dropping them, and by the time I got married and started a family, I was no longer using either Rose or Pauline.
I did everything necessary to drop these names – drew up the legal documents, the government gazettement, changed my national ID, passport, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, bank accounts, everything!
But then I gave my life to Christ.
And one day I decided to ask the Lord what He might have called me, had He given me a name Himself.
“Pauline”, came the prompt reply.
So, much to my chagrin, I began the process of informally re-acquiring the name, beginning with my family.
Nervous, I called my elder sister, a Pastor.
“If the Lord has said so, do it”, she said.
Then I called my younger sister:
“Pauline?! Tee hee hee.. hahahaha… Sasa Pauline?”
Not much sympathy there. Couldn’t blame her though – I had made such a big fuss of dropping the name, most of our lives.
Then I gathered the courage to tell my husband.
“Sawa, if you’re sure it’s God speaking,” he said, my ever-supportive BFF.
So I went back to the Lord, trying to understand why He had called me this name.
“The root of the name is Paul” He explained.
And by reflecting on the life of Paul in the Bible, I was able to understand why the Lord had chosen this name for me.
But I still didn’t like it. So I decided to negotiate.
“Lord, would you mind so much if I shortened it?”
And when I didn’t hear “yay” or “nay”, I came up with my own version of it and finally accepted it as my new name.
As soon as I did this, brethren, the Lord began to speak to me about an assignment He had for me.
I was to begin writing.
He instructed me on what I would write, who it was for, the source of my material – everything – right down to my personal style.
And so I became Paulie Mugure Mugo, a Christian writer.
Who would have thought?
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.
Before you were born I sanctified you..”