Ash Wednesday Thoughts

None of these quotes were originally about Ash Wednesday. But all of them deeply speak to the truth of the day.

A few preliminary thoughts about where we are headed tomorrow…

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
— Steve Jobs
from a Commencement Speech at Stanford University

“In many cases, people who’ve become aware of their mortality find that they’ve gained the freedom to live. They are seized with an appreciation for the present: every day is my best day; this is my life; I’m not going to have this moment again. They spend more time with the things and people they love and less time on people and pastimes that don’t offer love or joy. This seems like such a simple thought– shouldn’t we all spend our lives that way? But we tend not to make those kinds of choices until somebody says, “You have twelve months to live.””
— Dr. Bernie Siegel
from Handbook for the Soul

“A caption for a photograph: A man sitting on a folding chair in a cemetery, as a light rain fell and the sun shone at the same time, on the first day of summer in 1994.

If you were there, standing close by, you would notice that the sod beneath his chair was laid down in small square sections, suggesting it had been removed and then carefully replaced.
The man owns the property upon which he sits. He has paid for the site, paid to have the ground dug up, to have a cement vault installed, and to have the ground restored.
He is sitting on his own grave. Not because his death is imminent — he’s in pretty good shape, actually. And not because he was in a morbid state of mind — he was in a fine mood when the picture was taken. In fact, while sitting there on his own grave, he has had one of the most affirmative afternoons of his life.
Sitting for an afternoon on his own grave, he has had one of those potent experiences when the large pattern of one’s life is unexpectedly reviewed: the past, birth, childhood, adolescence, marriage, career, the present, and the future. He has confronted finitude — the limits of life. The fact of his own death lies before him and beneath him — raising the questions of the when and the where and the how of it. What shall he do with his life between now and then?”

— Robert Fulghum
from From Beginning to End

(As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…) 
Advertisements

Posted by

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...)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s