16 June, 2006

Ten Years Of Fencing

Tonight my beloved fencing team celebrated 10 years of existence. I've only been a part of this pageant for four years, but I have learned so much from the people involved. I'm planning to learn a lot more. You know, I've gotten lots of advice from people to not let other people stop my dreams, including the gratuitous "Don't let a boyfriend stop you!" Well, as I consider my future and a possible year in Namibia, I wonder about this team. Will I be able to leave them? What will they do without me? They've taken over the role of a boyfriend in my life, and I hope I get much better rewards :-P

After my mother and I arrived, the head coach, Chris, asked me to lead the group in prayer for the food. I blanched. "What?" "You know, like a short prayer or something." I didn't realize that male leadership isn't always as prized as it is in my church. "Uhh, well, why don't you ask a guy? Liam's right there," I say. Liam is Mormon. Chris asks him, and he refuses. "Well, God, here goes an opportunity to serve you!" I reluctantly agree. (On afterthought, I wonder why I suggested Liam. I know his faith is sincere, but it's misguided!) After my prayer, Chris thanks me and said, "You did a much better job than I would have; you're holier than I am." "NO!" I pound the table. "It's by grace alone that we're saved!" Then I glance at his face and just KNOW he's teasing me. And now the whole table is wondering what's going on...oh, dear. Do I explain the Gospel, or...well, they're carrying on without me. I suppose it's all in God's hands, anyway. God, bless those moments and help them to bear fruit!

As I sit in the banquet hall listening to Chris rattle on, I like watching peoples' faces. I am so privileged to have taught the middle schoolers sitting at that table over their, looking bored and full of cake. It's interesting, I've learned so much about that unique age group. That boy, for example, is so smart you can't see him thinking. Before you've finished one sentence about parries, he's on to disengages. This other kid is Mr. Little-Rebel-On-The-Block, and yet the moment I need to exercise authority or lead him in a specific direction, he's quick and eager to respond.

Over there sits my captain of two years and a wonderful friend, looking like she's in High School listening to another of Herr's (Chris') lectures. I still think of her as my team captain, and draw on her leadership as an example of my own coaching. Right in my line of sights sits the current team captain, with whom I'll be working this summer. She and I exchange glances, roll our eyes towards Chris and stifle giggles. With my cheeks suffused, I turn to my left, where current and former coaches sit. They came straight from a French & Indian War reenactment, and look as lovely as ever. We'd just been discussing Barcelona over dinner.

Chris pauses, and I realize it's my turn to hand out the "Coach's Award" to the fencer that year. How honored I feel to walk up to the podium and take a trophy, feeling its cool marble base and smooth metal top. I say a few sentences about the award, successful in my quest for laughter. As I hand over the trophy to its intended recipient and receive her hug, I feel blessed beyond measure.

This year I had determined to make this fencing team my mission field, and to glorify God with all the authority I had as a coach of this team. Though I haven't had any converts yet, I know seeds have been planted and watered, and I can but trust God to finish the good work he's started in the people around me and in myself. I have never obviously and clearly declared my faith to the team, but I hope that my stuttery prayer before the beginning of the meal would clarify my faith to those in attendance.


Rae said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rae said...

Yes, Argh!!! I be the one called Rachel!! And you be the one I like very much . . . ESPECIALLY after reading your profile!! YOu go girl!! Rox their sox off!!

I'm round on the ends and HI in the middle,run around in circles Jack's cracking your Fiddle . . . .

I need to work on my lyric writing . . . But hello!!

Jon Daley said...

I've never understood why Sovereign Grace women generally refuse to pray unless a man is officially in charge of the meeting, or unless there aren't any men present.

I don't think praying is a leadership event, you are praying, and others happening to be listening.

I guess one could make a point about leading others in the _way_ to pray or something, but that seems somewhat far-stretched.

So... why didn't you want to pray at this particular gathering? What scripture would you rest on for this viewpoint?

Jumping Jon Doesn't Know Everything Scripturally

Laedelas Greenleaf said...

Uh, actually...I've never thought about why prayer would be leadership. It's usually a "man" thing, though everyone in my family will pray for dinner. Huh. I will have to think about this. Thanks Jon!

Barns Mostly Obsecrate ...Umm... Uprightly