“I’m a strategic guy . . . I love control. (But) that is not the world we live in,” said Dean Harvey during his address given at AC2015’s Laity Breakfast held June 8 at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport.
Harvey, a certified financial planner, is the husband of Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Episcopal leader for the Louisiana Annual Conference.
Never was this lack of control more evident to Dean than when years ago, he discovered that his father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He heard from his father the words that no child wants to hear . . . “three to six months to live.”
At this time, Harvey was also in a period of transition with his job. This change in career turned out to be a tremendous blessing because Dean was able to spend every day with his father during his decline (“thanks to my loving and supportive family”).
During that period, the father and son discussed things “we might not have talked about.” Dean walked away from those conversations with two important life lessons: Don’t wait for the future to find your joy; and, relationships are what’s most important. “My dad was not a man of deep relationships, and it was a stunning thing for me to hear from him. While dying, (he was) worried about whether he had loved enough.”
In this time of pain and disruption in his life, Harvey said he felt that “God was pushing me to a place I didn’t want to go.” But encouraged by the intimate conversations with his father, Dean began to reflect on the life changes he was experiencing.
“I would never have had the time to slow down to listen to what God was telling me. I made the decision to have the flexibility of my job. . . . (it has brought me) the joy my father was speaking about. My faith expanded during this time of crisis,” said Harvey.
Dean also said that during this time, he began to rely on a particular scripture, Jeremiah 29:11. The verse says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
“This verse is much easier to understand when life is good, rather than when life is not so good,” said Harvey, with a smile. Church laity are invited by God through the verse in Jeremiah to work where we are planted, to seek peace and to be prosperous in our jobs, he added.
“I believe we are ready for a new place for this church. When I read the Bible, I see the Lord calling on lay people to lead us through the disruption. I believe that a crisis is an open door,” said Harvey. “We are not where we are in this disruption because nothing good has happened in the past. I think the church is being disrupted to move us to a new place.”