With New Life being in a summer series, titled “This is My Story” I felt inspired to tell my New Life story, as a reminder of God’s promises and a look back at some of my favorite memories over the past eight years. This is part four in the series.
If you have friends, then you have a nickname. If you don’t have friends, then you probably don’t have a nickname or a sense of humor. A nickname is something endearing…something fun…and often times something personal. When someone not that close to you calls you by a nickname, there’s that weird lack of intimacy feeling…but you would never correct him or her. You just show them courtesy and grace by letting them call you by one of your nicknames.
You may not like your nickname…but you love your friends so you really have no choice in the matter. I received two nicknames over the coarse of about a year while at New Life. The second one is less funny and rarely used, so I won’t talk about that one. I’ll just talk about how I received the nickname “Brotha Stein”.
As the self-appointed interim-director of the World Prayer Center, I was asked to attend and help at several funerals that took place there. On one such occasion, myself and Abby Gilbert were asked to help for a funeral of a high school student that had committed suicide. Because of his decision to do so, his family couldn’t have the funeral at their church. There was such grief in the room, and as I had lost my dad as a high school teenager, I was very moved by the families grief not only because of the boys decision but because the family couldn’t even have the funeral services at their church.
It was one of the toughest funerals I had attended because of the pain and hurt in the room. At the conclusion, the New Life pastor officiating the service said that if anyone needed prayer to come forward and receive prayer. He went on to say to the friends of the young boy that “Sister Gilbert and Brother Stein (insert pause)…were available to talk or pray with them if they needed it.” He started to say my name and got the stone part right…but forgot the heart part. When I retold the story to my friends in the student ministries department of what had transpired over the weekend…the name stuck.
I tell this story because nicknames are a right of passage in a workplace or social setting. They are a primitive way of accepting someone and vice versa for that person to feel accepted by their peers. Now, even though I received my nickname from a very awkward situation in which a pastor forgot the second half of my name at a funeral of all places; it nonetheless was my final right of passage to working at New Life. I was accepted and would come to cherish my new nickname “Brotha Stein.” Do you have a nickname story if so what is it?