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.

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...)

One thought on “Thanks For Listening

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