The Fabry Family

Connect with Me

Connect with Chris on Facebook Follow Chris on Twitter Watch Chris on YouTube

Featured Books

Featured Books
New Release!

Personal Stuff

Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
View my complete profile

Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

Search

Loading...

Visitor Count

Visitor Count:
Monday, February 2, 2015
Dear Woman behind me yesterday in church, over my left shoulder, who talked through the first part of the message:

I can’t tell you how much I dislike it when people talk at the movie theater while I’m trying to concentrate on the film. I teach my kids that when things come to a start, no matter where you are, you should stop talking out of respect for others. You close your mouth, put away your devices, and listen.

I consider church an important place to stop talking. Worship is us entering God’s presence and corporately telling the truth about Him and us. We are flawed; He is holy. We are incapable of saving ourselves; He is more than capable to save us. We sing about God’s mercies and grace and love. We listen to God’s Word being taught. But we don’t chit-chat.

You were talking. Right behind me to my left. You were saying something important, I’m sure, to whomever was right next to you. All through the singing. All through the announcements.

Now, it helped that the music was loud yesterday. I couldn’t tell what you were saying, of course, and I tried to sing the words as loudly as I could. Something about His love never failing, I think—I can’t remember now because all I can think about is you talking.

It sounded like this: “Pss pss and then I wanted to . . . pss pss.” And as the music got louder, which it generally does, you amped up the talking. “PSSS PSSSS . . .”

I seriously thought about moving—of getting out of my seat and going somewhere else—but since I had come in late, and since the congregation was pretty much full, I decided to tough it out. Surely, I thought, you will stop talking once the pastor comes to the front.

Now, I mentioned that I came in late. This was because my teenage daughter wanted to drive and I made the decision that I would allow her to do this, and, though I won’t go into all of it, trust me, we would have been on time if I had driven. She’s learning, so cut her some slack. Don’t judge me because I came in late, because there’s a good reason. I can’t stand it when people judge me when they don’t know the whole story.

So the announcements were over and the dramatic beginning of the message played on the screen—a church building with lightning and thundering music. “Things that Scare Me About Church” was the title and this was the final message. The pastor gave a brief introduction about the series and I was distracted because YOU WERE TALKING AGAIN.

What was so important? The Super Bowl, perhaps? Your 401K? An issue at work? The sharks dancing with Katy Perry? I don’t care what it was about, it could WAIT. And if it couldn’t wait, you could have gone out into the lobby or the courtyard or to your car or anywhere but BEHIND ME to my left!

I seriously thought about getting up and leaving as the message began. There was an empty spot on the back row of the upper tier where there was no one seated. I also thought about turning around and giving you the stink eye, but I held back. I gritted my teeth and held back . . . I don’t know why. Just one glare was probably all you needed, but I don’t like to glare in church. I save that for when fewer people can see me. But I was glaring in my heart. At you.

The pastor, trying to speak over your whispering, began to talk about how people outside of church think of people inside. And the overwhelming thought people out there have is that people inside the church are the people who are AGAINST stuff. We’re against abortion and gays. We’re against all kinds of ungodly behavior and if we could just get people to live like WE live, then the country wouldn’t be in such bad shape. And I was thinking, if I could just get you to stop talking I could LISTEN!

Fortunately, you finally stopped talking. For some reason you quieted yourself. And I was able to finally concentrate on what the pastor was talking about. He was saying that we, as followers of Jesus, should be known for our love for each other instead of all the stuff we’re against. That there’s a time to stand for righteousness and confront sin, but that people “out there” ought to be able to see us loving each other and wonder what’s going on. They ought to be asking the question, “What’s going on in that place with those people?” It was a challenging message because it’s a lot easier to be the Pharisee, the one who thinks he’s doing everything right and looks down on the “tax collector.”

I was really enjoying the message, the quiet from you, when, to my surprise, something happened that I didn’t expect. And I don’t think you or anyone else around us understood. Some saliva went down the wrong pipe as I was sitting there and I leaned forward and coughed. I didn’t have the flu, I wasn’t spreading germs, it was just this uncontrollable thing that happened and the more I coughed the redder my face got, probably; I wasn’t looking in a mirror. But I had to cough. It was involuntary. My body just took over, as it were. And then I tried to suppress it.

And you know what happens when you try to suppress it—it gets worse. And I sat there muting my cough and thinking, “If only I had a glass of water. Or a cough drop.” But I didn’t have either. So I sat there, trying to stay in control, but not doing a very good job of it, thinking of how far away from the exit I was and looking at the couple in front of me shifting in their seats like they were trying to listen to the pastor’s next point.

It was then that I felt a tap on my shoulder. My left shoulder. And I turned to see your face and I knew at that moment you were the one who had been talking. You were the one I had been seething about in the recesses of my heart. You were the one who was holding a cough drop out to me, whispering, “Would you like this?”

I smiled and grabbed the cough drop like it was the last life preserver on the Titanic. I opened it discreetly, so it wouldn’t make a lot of noise—you know I hate making noise in church. But the wrapper wasn’t coming off. It was kind of sliding around. I think this cough drop had been in your purse for a few services. Maybe a few churches. Maybe you hesitated to offer it to me because it was so old. I’m glad you didn’t hold back, because when I got the gummy wrapper off and put it in my mouth, I think I heard angels sing. Seriously, the menthol just burst through my nasal passages and I felt like Julie Andrews spinning around on the mountain, singing at the top of my voice.

The cough went away. I settled in as the lozenge dissolved. I was able to relax. I listened to the message. And as I did, I realized you had seen the struggle I was in and responded. You took a risk to reach out to a stranger and help. I, on the other hand, had been angry at you for talking. For whispering. For interrupting my worship experience. And I never asked what you were talking about, who you were talking to—I never considered that perhaps there was something more going on than I perceived. Perhaps there was WORSHIP going on that I didn’t know about. Perhaps I could have prayed for you and your friend beside you.

I thought about that through the message, through communion, through the closing song. And then it was over. And I stood and looked back, and you were hugging your friend. And I think I saw tears in her eyes. I touched your left shoulder and said, “Thank you.” You nodded and smiled at me.

Dear Woman behind me yesterday in church, over my left shoulder, who talked through the first part of the message, who I thought was keeping me from worship: I thank you for showing me more about myself than I was able to perceive on my own.

Monday, January 19, 2015
I can still see him standing at the top of the carpeted stairs in our Illinois house in his Blues Clues shirt, the two-tone green with the collar. The stairs had a railing on the right side but on the left were dirty smudges where the kids would put their hands to steady themselves as they climbed. At the time I didn’t like the smudges. I think we painted over them before we sold the house. Now the smudges don’t bother me.

In a chapter in a book I wrote about our family, At the Corner of Mundane and Grace, I told his story and tried to capture the essence of this little guy we called “Beast Boy.” He was rambunctious, full of energy, and had a mind that always seemed to be on-duty.

I was going to the mailbox one day when he saw me putting on my shoes. A little voice that was just learning to talk said, “Ki go?”

Later that day I was going to retrieve his big brother from soccer practice. I yelled to anyone who would listen that I would be right back. This time bouncing at the top of the stairs and a wide grin and two big, brown eyes.
“Ki go?”

Of course he was asking, “Can I go,” in his two-year old shorthand. I wrote, “The first time he said it, it took me a few moments to understand. Now I expect the words any time I’m going away.”

That was in 1998. Fast forward to 2015. January. Shortly after Christmas Reagan was accepted at his college of choice, a small, liberal arts school that teaches in a somewhat unorthodox method. Their classes are discussion based and take students through the most important books in every field of study. Andrea had heard of this college when she attended the University of Virginia and it seemed like the perfect fit for Reagan. We crunched the numbers, made an appeal, and figured out a way for him to go for at least one year.



With the sun setting in our rearview, Reagan and I drove seven hours (he drove all the way because it would be his last time in his beloved car) and registered. We spent the day moving into the dorm, going on a tour of the campus and in various meetings. Later that night we drove to his favorite restaurant and had dinner. Throughout the weekend I had a sense of mission. We looked for a warm coat that would fit the climate. We bought sheets and a blanket and bottled water and floss.



But with every check on the “to-do” list, I knew something was coming to an end. On Saturday I knew it was time to leave. We sat the coffee shop and talked about his upcoming classes and where he would spend most of his time, the cuisine in the cafeteria. He told me what the semester ahead held, the books and courses. The invigoration of higher learning was compelling. Just walking through the bookstore made me want to camp out and read until my eyes bled.



As much as I wanted to stay, I knew I needed to leave. I wanted to go with him, to search the library and tag along and explore his vantage point of the world. But there are some places you cannot go with your son.

Before I left we took one last picture. I fumbled with the camera to get it to turn around for the selfie.
“Here, let me take it,” he said, taking the phone from me.
We hugged. He walked into his dorm. And I could still see him standing there at the top of the carpeted stairs in his Blues Clues shirt. Maybe there was some part of him asking if he could go with me. Maybe there was some part of me asking if I could go with him.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Lord, I give thanks for the things you brought me through in 2014. I give praise that these events, decisions, trials, struggles and problems did not consume me like a fire. This was my fear. Thank you for preserving me.

As the New Year approaches, it’s easy to think there is some merit in the turning page of a calendar. Would you deliver me from the idea that I can only start anew once a year? Would you help me see that right now, today is my opportunity for a fresh start because of your grace?

I thank you for coffee and cream. I thank you for the laughter of children. I thank you for the kindness of animals, the comfort of a gentle dog, even one with a weak bladder. I thank you for the shaky handwriting of an aged mother. And for new ideas that seem to spring up like thieves to whatever it is I’m trying to write.

I thank you for conflict because it is in the midst of relational struggles that I learn the truth about myself. I am shown what I most care about when I’m confronted with someone else’s viewpoint. Will I succumb to always having to be “right?” Lord deliver me from myself and supplant a listening heart.

I thank you for the warm embrace of those who love me. I thank you for children who still believe I am special simply because I am their father. I thank you for a wife who is willing to grow and love more deeply after 32 years.

Thank you for those who seem to believe I am going too slowly in the wrong lane.

Would you help me to be more consumed with the plight of others than with whatever it is that wraps me up today? Would you give me hope so that I might pass it on to those who have none? Make me more concerned with what you think of me than what my greatest critics think. And thank you that I have critics.

Deliver me from the pursuit of success as an end in itself, for what is success other than an artificial determination by someone who can’t see the totality of life as you can? I want to be a success in your eyes, not my own or anyone else’s. Help me redefine success by your measure.

Also, deliver me from the need to be satisfied and happy with the stuff of earth. This is not what I need. Make me complacent about things and more alive to people and hearts. Open my eyes to the hurts and scars I can’t see.

Make me an encourager. Help me give wings to others’ dreams. Shod my feet, even when I’m not sure how to shod, with readiness for the gospel of peace. Where there is division, help me sow unity. Where there is hurt, help me give a healing touch. Where there is anger, help me give understanding. Where there is pain, help me give comfort.

Above all, help me, O Lord, get out of your way. Do what you want in me, to me, and through me. And about those critics, I’m having second thoughts concerning my thankfulness regarding them. I think I would rather have you break a few of their teeth, so that I might be able to give a healing touch.

Somehow, I think I should just let you take care of the critics in your own way, in your mercy and grace, for now that I think about it, I have been a critic at times in the past year. And I would not want you to break my teeth.

O Lord, help me be less critical this year. And thank you for intact teeth.

Amen.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Being thankful is swimming upstream. It’s breaking out of the normal existence and routine. Here are the top eight things that prevent my heart from beating to the thankful drum.

1. Busyness. You can’t be thankful when you have no time to reflect on reality. And the reality is, there is much for which to be thankful. Every breath is a gift. Every laugh. Every meal, no matter how meager.

2. Fear. Constant worry and angst about the future, the past, world events, politics, finances—it all crowds out the things that are. And truth is, there are problems in the world and in my life. But there are also a multitude of reasons to be grateful.

3. Self-sufficiency. If there’s one thing that will keep me from being thankful, it’s the thought that I’m in control of everything that happens and I have to scrape and scratch and claw for everything.

4. Excess. When I am captured by the trinkets and toys offered for sale and all the add-ons to those trinkets and toys that I need in order to enjoy them fully, I fail to see what I already possess. That which I crave possesses me.

5. Poverty. When I have very little, I can become resentful of those who have more and become bitter. I have not experienced this much in my own life, but the taste of it made me realize how easy it is to compare and become envious.

6. Regret. If I allow the mistakes and hangups of my life to define me, I’ll miss the progress that’s been made.

7. Circumstances. If I could only get past this financial hurdle, this job, this school, this relationship—all of the struggles of my life are propelling me forward. I can give thanks even for the negative things because these are pushing me forward to become the person I was meant to be.

8. Lack of Faith. Faith is not believing hard about something that isn’t true. Faith is seeing evidence of the truth and trusting that what I see is not everything that is. You can’t be ultimately thankful in life without someone to whom you can give thanks.

Being thankful is a full-time job because we have been given full lives, beating hearts, breath in our lungs and sunshine. Take a look around you right now, wherever you are. You can see a hundred reasons to be thankful. And beyond that are a billion more.

May you overcome these hurdles to a thankful heart today.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I had a professor in college who taught me a lot about journalism. He taught from the overflow of his life as a reporter. He taught how to interview. He taught the difference between writing for the eye and the ear. But there’s one lesson he never taught, and for that I will not be able to forgive him.

I’m convinced Bos could have been a big fish in a big pond. He had the intellect, the charisma, the wit—the whole package. But for some reason he chose to stay in Huntington, WV and report relatively small stories, until big ones found him. He hung his hat at WSAZ-TV and hung his heart at home with his family.

Bos was one of the most contented men I have ever known. He was giving. A lot of people are talking about what a father figure he was to them. He was a mentor, a confidant, a friend, and you always had the feeling you were the most important person in the room to him. How did he do that?

When I was in high school, Bos was a judge at a forensics competition. I was a junior in high school. I can’t remember much of the competitions, but I do remember his score sheet. He gave constructive criticism throughout, but in big, bold red letters, at the top, he wrote, “Hey, you can write!”

I kept that page for many years and I can still see it in my mind. Every morning when I get up to write, those four words are in my head. Bos Johnson believed in me, and that was important because he was a man you could believe. Integrity. He shot straight. Authority. He said what he needed to say and then stopped. He knew how to use a pause in a lecture or an interview. And he was one of the few people who really listened.

Bos showed us that journalism wasn’t just about getting the story. It wasn’t even about getting it right. That was important, of course. Facts and the inverted pyramid and all that. News is change. But news always concerns people. And people mattered to Bos Johnson. Maybe that’s why so many students loved and respected him. And viewers, as well.

There are a few people in life who are irreplaceable. Bos Johnson was one of those for me and I will never forget his kindness, generosity, voice, laugh and smile. But Bos left out one lesson in the syllabus. He never taught us how to live in a world without him in it.

Monday, October 27, 2014
I said it loudly and with conviction. I said it to my dog. But I didn’t hear the irony until later.

Tebow, our Morkie, was perched in his favorite spot on the back of the couch, scanning the movement of everything outside. A bee buzzed past the window and he barked. The plants outside waved in the wind and he barked. He thought someone was at the door and he barked. He barked at the sound of his bark.

“You don’t have to bark at everything,” I yelled.

I berated him, brow-beat him, looked sternly at him and rolled my eyes as if I were saying, “Come on, get with the program.”

“I’ll take care of the bunny in the yard or the wind or the truck going past without a muffler. If you see a rattlesnake or an intruder, you can bark, otherwise, I’m good. You don't have to bark at everything.”

Then it hit me, this must be how God feels about me.

There’s some issue that’s pressing, that has me all wrapped up. Somebody cuts me off in traffic or rushes ahead in the only open aisle at the grocery store and I have three items and they have 300. I get frustrated with a candidate's commercial or bone-headed play. And I bark.

I like to sit on my couch and bark and think I’m doing something. It makes me feel better to bark.

But life is not just about making me feel better. So I’m trying to learn from Tebow and save my bark for things that count. I don't have to bark at everything.