Faith, God and Family: Take Comfort in Other People’s Joy, Find Strength in Someone’s Courage


Comfort in others when there is trouble, it can be soothing

By Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist—

It has been a roller coaster of emotions for a few months. House shopping, romance gone wrong, office drama with a toxic twist, and a family member in an abusive marital relationship have diminished the clear-headedness I need to help an elderly parent in declining years.

Of course there’s the 2016 presidential election. I want to vote third-party. Die-hard Berniac here. Never Hillary, unless there is a remote chance she can lose New York. As of the writing of this column, she’s up by 30 points in the Empire State ( Phew. So far, I can vote Johnson-Weld without fear my vote may tip the state to the Republican presidential nominee, whose name shall not be written or spoken.

The last national poll I saw, however, showed Hillary ahead by less than five points nationally. Newsflash. Don’t be complacent. The GOP nominee can still win in November. Reluctantly, I may have to rethink my third party vote, though I’m still hoping New York is still safe for Hillary.

Hence, it has been a spring and summer of “Stop the planet! I want to get off!”

Although a man of faith, it is challenging to get grounded sometimes. I have enormous spiritual conflict and as of late a lot of emotional upheavals. Fortunately, I’ve avoided a local bakery for comfort food.

Soothing the soul requires stillness. It is important to find it, especially when the world around you seems to be spinning out of control at the same time you’re trying to manage personal challenges on a daily basis.

Stillness and mindfulness remind us life has much joy and beauty, which can be found no matter how bad the day, week, month, or year has been. Sometimes each day must be taken as it comes without thinking about the next. Otherwise, life can be overwhelming.

On September 5, I will solemnize another same-gender union. God is good. The gentlemen asked me to read two scriptural passages.

One is from the Book of Ruth 1:16-17: “Do not ask me to leave you, or turn back from following you for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God, and wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord cause this to happen to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”

It’s a beautiful, empowering passage that will be a grounding, lifelong guide in their union. It speaks to the friendship, commitment, unconditional love, and the romance of being with someone till the end of time.

Independent of these gents, another friend blissfully shared this month he had proposed to his partner of three years and he had accepted. More joy and positive energy was infused into the world. One guy is Hindu and the other a recovering Catholic. Talk about a rainbow!

Also in August, after this column has gone to press, I will have hosted Fr. Jim, Jesuit trained who later became a clergyman in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and Eastern Orthodox Church and does pastoral care for the LGBTQ community throughout Eastern Europe. He’s one of those happy-go-lucky Irishmen who joyfully solemnizes same-gender marriages.

Fr. Jim was arrested earlier this summer in Russia for going to a support group to share why the Creator loves LGBTQ individuals unconditionally. Although harassed and denied legal due process by the police, he managed to get out of Russia. His resolve to spiritually and emotionally support the LGBTQ community is stronger than ever. His courage, joyfulness, and tenacity provides needed hope to young people and men and women in a harsh, judgmental, and very homophobic part of the world.

In attempting to live and survive in a crazy world, it’s important to remember the sun still rises after the darkest of nights. In the process of waiting for it to happen, sometimes for what seems like an eternity, take joy and comfort in the beauty around you like weddings and the work of heroes who fight for justice everywhere.

*Paul is a corporate chaplain, seminary trained priest, and attorney in greater Albany, NY. He is author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”

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