Sunday in the Park (How quickly the time passes…)

Sunday afternoon, Maria and I went down to the park at the end of our block. It’s a small city
park, with a nice little playground. She rode her new “Razor” scooter down there. She wanted to go so she could
do the monkey bars. I can remember when I had to help her with the monkey bars…when she didn’t have the strength to do them alone. Now, she zips through them, effortlessly, like she’s skipping across on her hands.

She’s also FAST on that scooter. She got well ahead of me at several points in our trip, and I had to yell at her to get her to slow down and wait for me. I read a book on fatherhood when she was first born that said that toddlers run away from their parents, and then always come back… enjoying the game itself, and gaining trust by the ever-longer distances they travel.

It’s stunning how quickly it passes and how much she’s changed. I know people have told me this my whole life. But like much of the other good advice I’ve gotten in life, I just asssumed it would be different for me…

As she scooted down the hill, so fast that it took my breath away, I thought about the incredible Sally Fingerett song, “The Return”:

“Promise me, promise me, you will outlive me,
It’s the natural order, the way it should be.
Break from me, take from me, all you can carry,
It’s nature, it’s nuture, and then it’s your turn.
The things that I teach you I learn.
Tossed in the air, your baby goes flying,
Into the sun, under wide open skies,
Bright blue and shining
She’s earthbound and she’s running,
There in her eyes, it’s your love that will
Always return.”

While we were there, I sat wordlessly next to a couple from somewhere in South Asia. Vietnaam, perhaps? It was clear they spoke almost no English, because they didn’t respond to my severalattempts to engage them. They grinned kindly, and smiled at Maria.

They were probably in their early sixties, and were there with a small baby in a stroller that I can only assume is a grandchild.

Was this their first visit? Had they come all the way from somehwhere like Vietnaam to see her? What did they think of North Dallas, or of Maria and I? What incredible things had they seen inlife? Did they know anyone caught up in the Tsunami?

So many unanswered questions. And instead, they just grinned and smiled and me, and I at them. And as they shuffled back up the street, I thought about what an amazing and small world we live in.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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