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Cult: relationship reviews are mandatory in times of pandemic

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I called a good friend the other day, just to check with him. I expected this to be a relatively pro forma call. You know …

“How are you?”

“Fine …”

Instead, I was surprised at the depth of emotion he shared with me, the extent of the challenges he was struggling to overcome, which I hadn’t seen from the outside.

I immediately remembered an internet meme that I hope you’ve seen over the past few years: “Be nice, because everyone you meet is fighting an uphill battle.”

Or as Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians: “Who knows the depths of a person except his own spirit that dwells there?

Outwardly, what we see of other people’s lives is often just a harsh exterior that they “present” to the world. The tip of the iceberg, in a way. Meanwhile, for almost all human beings, the challenges we face are hidden. We look at the perfectly organized Instagram feeds, the happy Facebook posts from our neighbors and friends, and we think, “My life isn’t that perfect.

And it is absolutely true. But – and this is the part that we often miss, over and over again – their life isn’t perfect either.

The separation that has been imposed on us by the pandemic makes it all worse, of course. Instead of social gatherings, many people I know are still limited to their family interactions. For parents, it is enough to bring their children to school every day.

My mind goes back to all those who work overtime to make our world a better place. I pray for the teachers in the classes. I pray for healthcare workers in hospitals.

We use the term “heroes” to describe them, often without realizing the real trauma they endure during this time. A doctor in our congregation recently told me about the hospital where he works in East Texas. The hospital is so crowded with intensive care patients that they have set up a tent on the roof to help serve other patients.

But what shocked him was how little attention the situation received in the local media there. Her colleagues worked long shifts and overtime, while just down the street at the mall, school, neighborhood, life went on as if nothing had happened.

That’s why many of us at Oak Cliff continue to support our neighborhood hospital, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, right now. As you may have heard, our church has collected handwritten support cards for the doctors, nurses and all the support staff there.

We continue to hear that our local healthcare workers are truly moved and elated by these cards. Everyone is welcome to bring letters from church to add to our weekly number of cards or to deliver them yourself.

Or consider writing to a local teacher to verify them. And, of course, also call your own friends.

No one knows the depths of another person’s mind, but their own mind and the Spirit of God. And right now, everyone is fighting hard-to-see battles. So please be nice to everyone. Make sure and check with the people around you. You might be surprised how grateful they are to you for doing it.

ERIC FOLKERTH is Senior Pastor at Kessler Park United Methodist Church. The Cult section is underwritten by Advocate Publishing and listed neighborhood businesses and churches. Call 214.560.4212 or email [email protected] for advertising information.


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