I'm in the midst of writing this book on theology and the internet, and so I have precious little time to post these days. I'm typically found hunkered down in my office, typing furiously, except when I take little breaks to walk over to the day care and nurse Baby G. It's summer - so I don't see a lot of people, and that's a good thing as far as work goes - less good for me and my stress level.
But I had a mini-opportunity to think about other things today. I ran into a couple students on campus that I haven't seen in a year or more- both calling out, "Dr. Bennett!"
The title "doctor" always makes me blush a bit. After all, I am no "doctor" wearing a white lab coat. And I still have a bit of first-year-out-of-grad-school feelings about being a "doctor of theology": really? I mean, really? (As with the "Master of Divinity" how can anyone really claim to be a "doctor" of theology?)
Nonetheless, there it is, and that's my name here, at least among my students. After the first round of blushing, I remember, "Oh yeah - I'm an adult - and a professor." It makes me feel different, respond differently to people. I remember to treat myself with a bit more respect because they treat me that way. I've had to grow into that name a bit, and still, I am learning how to be 'Dr. Bennett'. Crazy how that works.
Not coincidentally, the use of this name makes me reflect on other names - particularly the fact that I am currently trying (in vain, I know, I know!) to get my six month old daughter to say Mama. "Mama - you can say it!" All I get is a raspberry - she's getting quite good at those, actually.
"Mama" is another name I've had to grow into. Despite the fact that my three year old is now at the age where she says "mama, mama, mama" constantly - Mama, look what I can do! Mama, I'm hungry! - I still feel a bit weird thinking of myself as a "mama". Oh yeah - I'm an adult, and a mama. I'd better act like it.
Some would argue that the only actions that have real meaning are the ones that we "mean" to do. But I don't think that's it at all - I think I'm constantly learning how to live the words I speak and the words that name who I am. Love - that's another word that I'm not quite comfortable wearing yet, though I say it and try to live it all the time.