Old Age and Experience

Sitting on Mark’s bench, having just snapped this pic back up the hill. I looove this time of day….the breath-holding moment of this picture.

I’m hearing occasional fireworks off in the distance. Pop up storms about 5:30 almost convinced me not to come out here. So glad I didn’t give into fear. Time and time again, that’s the lesson life gives me, you know?

One final story from just now. And it’s a story that’s happened several times over the years…maybe three times to one extent or another.

A guy maybe ten/fifteen years younger than me was stopped on the north bridge as I pass him. I passed him and he looked slightly miffed.

A few minutes later, it was clear he’d made it a goal to catch up and pass me. He was clearly huffing and puffing. I let him pass me and didn’t try to catch him.

I knew what was coming, and I knew he did not. A long stretch. Slightly uphill. And…wind.

I switched to an easier gear, and slowly, steadily pushed back toward him. Never saw me coming. I passed him a second time.

I figured that would be it.

But no. Moments later, there he was, pushing with all his might to pass me *again.*

And, again, I let him.

Only this time, he looked over at me as he passed and said “thank you!!!”

Which I took to mean, “thank you for pushing me, old man, but I’ll take it from here…”

But, friends, again I knew what was coming.

A hill, along the side of the Bath House.

I waited for the right moment.

He got to the hill. He slowed to a crawl. He wobbled.

Love him or hate him, one strategic truth Lance Armstrong knew was this: beat people on the hills, and you’ll beat ’em every time.

So, I geared to an easier gear. Breathed deep, passed him easily, this time opening up a lead so huge that I couldn’t even see him behind me.

I never even gave him a sideways glance…and never saw him again.

Take that, youth.

You can kiss my ass.



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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. For seventeen years, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas, Texas. 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 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.

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