Saturday, August 15, 2015

Coaaach!!! Reeeeeev!!!!!!!!! and why honorifics are important.

I've recently moved to the B team at rowing because I need once and for all to rehab my shoulder and wrist properly, lose some weight, adjust my attitude, and get back to the high level of athleticism that I ask of myself and that my team asks of me. I am grateful for their invitation.  My new coach Marc is known around the boathouse to be quite the philosopher and he did it again Wednesday, talking to us about chess and rowing and climbing and how a high bar of expectation demands that we endeavor not to make preventable blunders while at the same time forgiving ourselves (and forgiving others) when these blunders happen. No one WANTS to blunder, but as they say, Stuff Happens!

I am also putting myself under the care of Coach, who has helped me rehab before and will help me again. And this is where the honorific comes in. As human beings are want to do, I love to ponder the connections I find in various parts of my life....and especially in my rowing life and in my spiritual life. So as I was riding the stationary bike at O'Dark Hundred this morning, I thought about why I call him Coach on a regular basis.  And why do I sometimes call my coaches Coach and other times by their first names? I pedaled and pondered and prayed and it came to me...because there is something I want to deeply honor in myself and in that other person outside of myself, Coach. I want to show respect, honor, and obedience. Yep, obedience. Obedience as a spiritual discipline and as a hallmark of monastic life is a very important spiritual understanding. I cherish it deeply. It means that I am dependent on others, not alone in the universe.

I am also so fortunate to be the interim Rector at a great Episcopal Church in Danville, which is variously known as St. Timothy's, St. Tim's (my favorite) and Timmy's.  As I am arriving at St. Tim's, the question comes up, as always, "how would you like to be addressed?"  Suffice it to say that I say, as I always have, that I prefer Stacey, will answer to Mother or Sister or Rev Stacey or Reverend or Pastor, and will not answer to Father or Father Stacey. And yes, people call me all of those things (and more, of course! ;)  Come to think of it, the checker at Safeway even calls me Bishop, which of course I LOVE!!!!!

In my entire ordained ministry, only two people have ever clearly expressed why they want or need to use an honorific with me. I am so grateful to these two faithful women for helping me to understand.  And so at Morning Prayer this morning at O Dark Hundred on the bike at the boathouse, an epiphany!!  Parishioners might want to use an honorific with me for the same reason that I want to call Coach Coach. Respect for themselves and respect for the role I play in their lives. Ding ding ding, I finally get it!!!  Prayer, it works!!

(Coach, if you are reading this ....I did sweat the the bike...really I did...even though I appeared to be gabbing to a teammate...oh never mind. Coach doesn't like excuses. Which is another topic for another O Dark Hundred prayer session!)

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