Friday, September 12, 2014

Ron Anderson, MD

My dear friend, mentor and hero, Dr. Ron Anderson passed away Thursday evening after a battle with cancer. 

Reports abound in all of our media outlets, as in this article from The Dallas Morning News.

But, the news items that we'll be reading for the next few days won't be able to capture the heart, soul and life of this amazing man.  He served the hospital system, within the healing culture that he constructed, for almost 40 years. 

Dallas and the world lost a dear, devoted friend in his death. 

Throughout his career as the leader of the Parkland world, Dr. Ron continued to take his rounds with patients.  He wore his trademark white coat because he never stopped being a physician and healer. 

My sessions with Ron always left me with my head spinning, my soul nourished and my resolve made stronger.  We talked about poverty as the cancer and blight that it is.  His commitment to justice and equity amazed and strengthened me. 

He was something of an expert on Native American culture.  I will always remember my first visit to  his office at Parkland.  To my surprise, his office, like mine, had a number of Native American artifact and symbols.  The sense of community and universal connectedness of Native Americans and their thought/worldview were notions that made a lot of sense to both of us.  Ron worked very hard at building community among his team and in our neighborhoods in Dallas.

He always took the time to encourage me in my work.  He was a faithful partner in our common fight for "the poor." 

A few weeks ago, a longtime staff member close to Ron called me to ask that I go by the hospital to see Ron and to pray for and with him.  Of course, I gladly agreed.  That last visit was wonderful, almost magical.  He envisioned getting out of his bed and coming by CitySquare to do some work with us.  How welcome he would have been and how I wish he still had that opportunity. 

In my almost 40 years of ministry, I've never had a patient insist on praying for me.  But, Ron did.  He wouldn't let me pray for him.  He wanted the spiritual energy to flow in my direction. 

That story really sums up the life and heart of Ron Anderson.  "I'm okay," I can still hear him saying, "Let's focus on you." 

God have mercy on us.  I will miss my friend more than I can say.

No comments: