Then there is the vocal tone of usage of the nickname and circumstances in which it is used that also gives us an indication of the user's meaning.
Time has taught that most people need familiarity with each other, an equality that is respectful. Yes I recognize the bully usage as well, but let's focus on the positive for today.
Over the last month and a half work life has been lightened by 2 new employees that find joy in giving me nicknames. So the playful engagements have caused me to think.
What event in the earth's history caused people to gravitate to familiar references compared to the formal references? One of the first moments I can think of is Abram and Sarai's name changes made by Jehovah to Abraham & Sarah. The "h" is evidence of God's breath, of new being, both of existence with purpose & eternal covering. God's grace-name, the breath of life.
How about a young maiden known to most the world as Esther (Hadassah her Hebrew name). Her name change brought about a historical event that saved the Jewish nation from annihilation.
Then I think of Jesus (Yeshua) pronouncing Simon as Peter (Patar). Patar became the pronouncement of purpose. In Hebrew, from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, patar has many images, "a fissure, i.e. (concretely) firstling (as opening the matrix) -- firstling, openeth, such as open." Now imagine Simon's shock and awe of Jesus' nickname for him. This name carries weight, responsibility (Jesus, his Rabbi, just called Simon the first). Not just Rock as we tend to interpret Peter, but Jesus' next in leadership. Wow!
So the next time someone gives you a new nickname, or uses one you've heard forever, Listen. Hear what the word means to them through their pronouncement over you.
The musical accompaniment for today is from Jim Croce, with I Got A Name.
If you're interested, you can find Andrew Budek-Schmeisser's books on Amazon.