“It’s All Music, Eh?”

I wasn’t a close friend of TR Richie‘s. But we ran in the some of the same circles. And we shared some powerful times with our Coho/Calvin’s friends, especially through Michael and Kendra.

I’ve been following TR’s final journey with some interest, as cancer has been taking its toll.

Some friends may have seen the incredibly life-affirming posts he’s made on Facebook, even in the midst of what seemed like the end.

An end which came today.

The office here is always a bustling place. Folks to meet with. Things to do. Never enough time.

So when a package arrived in the mail over the weekend from my friend April, I let it sit around for several days. Figured I’d get to it soon enough.

I finally opened it today. It’s a book of TR’s drawings and poems, called Works on Paper: Poems and Illustrations.”

So, I opened it up a while ago, read the inscription, turned back to the computer to thank April, just in time to read the news of his passing.

How eerie. How perfect.
How much of this is so often beyond comprehension.
Such a strange, beautiful, eerie moment.

Here’s the inscription page TR wrote, just two weeks ago:


Yes, my friend. Indeed it is.

So, I’ve just spent the last hour, leafing through the book, allowing his poetry and illustrations to speak. Here’s one that leaped off the page, and seems to appropriate for this moment.

so it turns out
the simplest things
are the holiest

ask any dying friend

morning coffee
evening walks
work of the hands
shared meals
every day we engage
in sacrament without
fanfare or ceremony
and in the end it is not
extraordinary achievement
we find ourselves craving
but humble rites
which keep us
close to the ground
close to the moment
close to each other

let us honor the dying
by our earnest and
abiding allegiance
to ordinary grace

— TR Richie.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) 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, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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