Jamie Jenkins: Being Anonymous Can Be a Good Thing

When my phone rang the other day caller ID indicated the person on the other end of the line was Anonymous. Since I do not know anyone by that name the call went unanswered.

There are many reasons why one might prefer to be anonymous. Occasionally a news story will quote someone without identifying the source with reference to "a person close to the situation but not authorized" to speak on the matter. People will sometimes choose to conceal their identity when they expect unpleasant consequences because of their words or deeds.

Big trades in professional sports will often feature a well recognized "star" and "an unnamed player" in the deal. I suspect that the athlete who is not a household name would prefer to be identified rather than just viewed as a relatively unimportant commodity in the transaction. It is one thing if a person desires to keep a low profile but it could be humiliating to be faceless or unknown in some situations. Every individual is worthy of being named and not to be devalued and relegated to obscurity.

However, being anonymous should not always be viewed negatively. Anonymity might be desired because a person is embarrassed or feels others will "look down" on them because of some behavior or circumstance. It is easy to understand why organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous choose to keep their membership private.

There are other reasons when remaining anonymous is a good thing. When Kyle Carr was 7 years old he told his mother that one day he was going to the Olympics. In 2006, he broke his ankle right before the Olympic trials. In 2010, he missed the team by 1/100 of a second. Then twenty years later his dream was realized when he qualified as a speed skater on the U.S. Olympic Team in Sochi.

Since Kyle just qualified two weeks ago, his family started scrambling to try to get his mother to the Olympics which begin February 7. The time was short, visa and travel restrictions, and the cost involved made it seem unlikely, if not impossible. One of the Atlanta television stations helped to publicize the effort to raise funds so this young athlete's mother could get to Russia and see her son skate in the Olympics.

One week ago the fund topped $6,000 but about $10,000 was needed. Then an Atlanta businessman who wanted to be anonymous stepped forward to say he would pay the difference. Kyle's mom is going to Sochi.

There are times when being anonymous is a good thing.

When we do good to others, there is no need to call attention to it. We don't need to "hire a trumpeter to go in front of us" to make sure that people admire us. We are told that the reward is much greater when our charity is done in secret (Matthew 6:2-4).

There are times when being anonymous is a good thing. By the way, does anyone know the name of The Good Samaritan?

Taken with permission from Jamie's blog, Thoughts for Thursday.