My Dad Awaits St. Peter’s Call


Aging and Blind in One Eye, Dad Is Waiting for St. Peter’s Call

By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist—

On October 22, Dad turns 93. He’s blind in one eye and almost deaf. Although frail, his mind is good. He still has a healthy appetite. He keeps on telling everyone, “I’m waiting for the call from St. Peter.”

Dad has a Yogi Berra sense of humor. Although he hates winter, Dad wouldn’t move to Florida, though his sister has repeatedly invited him. Dad says he’s “allergic to alligators.”

I’m not sure if Dad will celebrate another landmark birthday next year. He may not want to. “What’s St. Peter waiting for? Your Mother is calling,” he says.

In Eastern Europe, Dad survived the brutality of Communism and then the horrors of Nazi forced labor. He was blessed to come to America. He married a woman who survived the Great Depression. Mom’s family also came from Eastern Europe. Throughout their lives, my parents managed and struggled with significant trauma.

As Dad’s inevitable passing gets closer, it’s difficult not to think about my life. One of the greatest monsters in history, Hitler, played a role in me being here. But, for a revolution and the Nazis, my parents would never have met. Am I an accident of history? Was it fate?

Although depending on the day I have my doubts, generally, I believe I was meant to be here. As an intended part of creation, I have a responsibility to further the greater good. If you’re not sure of your purpose, live the question to find the answer.

I think about the brave, persecuted individuals within the transgender community who live their truth. They are an example to the rest of us. Not only does the transgender community have a rightful place in the Creator’s Plan, but so does every soul who is part of it.

There is inspiration all around us whether it is in the trans community or among homeless LGBTQ youth. I look back at my own experiences, which, like everyone else, haven’t always been pleasant, yet here I am. Hopefully, I’m wiser, more empathetic, and empowered with the realization that the universe unfolds as intended. I am meant to be here for a reason.

One of my favorite theologians, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, observed that “Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”

Sometimes, according to de Chardin, we must do ordinary things without realizing they have enormous value and influence. He noted we “recreate each other.” Something you do today, like a word of encouragement or an example you set for others by your measured response to injustice can plant a seed.

As a result, to paraphrase de Chardin, it makes everyone spiritual beings with experiences that empower us to inspire others. Life, all life including my own, is precious and I must always be grateful for it. It shouldn’t be taken for granted.

The future is now. It’s in the now when the good fight is made whose victories will inspire others in the next generation.

Quiet yourself, especially in times of crisis. Hear the cosmos. This holy guidance is always available because we are an intended part of Creation. It’s up to us to listen carefully to Divinity and give value to our intended lives. We have a duty to ourselves and to the world.

Every breath you take has a purpose. At this moment, on this day, during this week, you always need to explore why. Please consider sharing your purpose and spiritual inspiration. E-mail me at Maybe you’ll inspire an upcoming faith column.

*Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s also the author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.

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