Thursday, July 16, 2015
I write here from the perspective of my Catholic faith. If you found this post by a Google search of its title, you may find a good summary of the Catholic Church’s perspective of “gay people” in this link: (http://discovermass.com/church/our-lady-of-good-counsel-plymouth-mi/), the Our Lady of Good Counsel church bulletin. Fr. John Riccardo explains in the July 12th church bulletin what the Catholic Church teaches, and why. If you think you think you already know what the Church teaches, I might suggest you confirm your thoughts with the few facts he presents.
We can all benefit from a clearer understanding of facts. I did.
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The purpose of this post is to remember some very different gay people (who I met last year for the first time) --- these are most “happy” people, and they made my life a little happier for having met them.
This is an excerpt of the posting I wrote almost one year ago today:
I had promised Maryellen Jones (Grandma’s Musings) that I would visit her, and her husband Clinton, for lunch at the Spring Hills (Tennessee) assisted living facility where they resided.
Maryellen was a much more beautiful person than the pictures on her blog could display. Physically and spiritually, she radiated a confidence that so many of us lack. She knew that where she was, and at this stage of her life, this is where God meant her to be, and it was here that she was making a difference. I told her, and her daughter Kathy that at the Caregiver’s Support Group I coordinate I often share some of the notes Maryellen sent me, describing how she lovingly cares for Clinton, who has Alzheimer’s. The descriptions of how she patiently communicates with him, overcoming the limitations of his illness, are an inspiration to others caring for their loved ones. I gave Kathy a laminated copy of what I considered one of the best advice pieces Maryellen had written, so Kathy could see the daily love which her mother gives her father, and how much her mother’s actions remain important to others in this world.
Kathy didn’t stay for lunch with us --- which was her loss: the Polish sausage and sauerkraut were outstanding! The staff had set up place settings for Maryellen, Clinton and I in the private dining room, so we could talk undisturbed, but after a glance around, Maryellen would have none of that. One of the other women from the facility was sitting at a table alone, and Maryellen said: “No, we’ll sit at the table with her, to keep her company” --- and she proceeded to pick up the place settings and move them to the table in the main dining room. Maryellen, at 86, just seems to fit so naturally in her role of being God’s loving presence to her neighbor. I am so glad I took the time to come and meet her. And it really was a pleasure meeting Clinton, also. He has such a wonderful smile, and a peaceful and calm demeanor, even when he sometimes loses his train of thought. I never saw him express frustration at his limitations, which I’ve often seen in others with Alzheimer’s. I very much enjoyed my time with Maryellen and Clinton and their daughter and hearing stories of their life.
I remember most fondly that visit last year, and I recall Clinton’s gay smile and demeanor, despite his great trials with Alzheimer’s disease. I know of no one who bore it better.
Maryellen sent me a note that Clinton’s suffering ended last Friday, July 10th. May he rest in peace. His is the face of a gay person which I shall always remember.