Thanks For Listening

(Friends: Today, I’m adding some original FB posts to my blog…posts I’ve made about my Dad in recent months…so that they are captured for posterity here…apologies for all these coming through your feed today….but thanks for understanding the need to keep the history…EF)

If I ask you all to read this post, and do nothing in response except pray and keep it in your thoughts, can I trust you to do that?

1925263_10203481933514317_555647545_nI’m writing about my Dad. And he wouldn’t want me to. He’s a pretty private person. And a part of how he gets through life is being helpful to others, and never being a “bother” to anyone. He hates any attention being brought to himself. He’ll take a million pictures with his camera, but frets about being in them.

So, he’d HATE that I’m writing this now.

Dad’s got Pulmonary Fibrosis, a diagnosis that he received two Christmases ago. It’s a nasty disease, that I won’t get into here. You can Google it, if you want. It’s progressive and there is no cure. Lately, he’s had a few noticeable downturns.

I post about a lot of things, but I don’t plan to post about this much at all, beyond this. In fact, I think that for the most part, when I *do* post about it, i think I’ll let some music do the talking for me. Like the incredible song from Townes that I will post as a first comment…it’s on my mind a lot lately…

As I said, Dad would HATE that I have said anything here. But I’m not writing it for his sake, but for mine. Please keep him, and all of us, in your thoughts and prayers. And, THAT’S ALL.

What I mean by this is: If you know him, or see me on a regular basis, please don’t pray about it at Northaven in our “Prayers of the People.” (for now).. Please don’t ask HIM about it above all. Please don’t make a big honkin’ deal about this.

There’s an especially annoying habit that church-people have. It’s to find an “identified patient” and then pray for them constantly, and then also ask their loved ones about them constantly. This can be a wonderful thing. But it can also grow tiring…to be either the “identified patient” or their loved ones.

Even at our sickest, we are never just a “patient.” We are still a Father/Mother, Spouse, Son/Daughter….human being. I think sometimes we church folk forget that, in our zeal to be “pastoral” to folks. A part of the way a “patient” can retain their autonomy and dignity is, ironically, by NOT being treated like a “patient.” So, that’s kinda what I’m asking here.

That means the following…

If you see my Dad, don’t mention this note. And don’t treat him any differently than you always would.

To help with this, I’m not posting this “publicly,” or even to all of my friends. It’s going to a very specific group..ironically, mostly folks I don’t see day-to-day.

Ironically, I’m excluding family members, many extended family/friends, and even most Northaven folks….sadly, because I’m not sure everyone can honor my request to simply hold this in your heart, and nothing more…

As for me?

Like medical personnel —doctors, nurses, and such— I know too much. I’ve seen this disease first hand, through church members who have died from it.

But I also know this, which I also tell church members all the time: The reality of experiencing a chronic disease is always much different than you think, even when you think you are ready for it.

So, I’m living that out that oft-given advice, right now too.

I write about a LOT on Facebook. Many of you tell me, in very kind, gentle ways, that I write too much. That is probably true. But even with all I post, there’s so much more I never do. This story right here is one I’ve been holding in my heart for two years.

I share it now, trusting that you can hold it in yours….and that’s it.

No cakes. No visits. No endless questions. No posts to my Facebook wall, or his…or our family’s. (private messages are fine…)

Just help us hold this truth. In your heart. And in prayer.

And when I need to, I’ll write more.

And, thanks for listening.

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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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