Faith, if nothing else, can produce happiness

By Richard Poskozim

The other day I was leaving campus, cutting across the Oval, and I was “privileged” to hear the somewhat subdued ranting of Brother Jeb. I couldn’t make out any of the words, so I had very little to shake my head at that day as I walked on without giving him or the crowd around him a second glance.

Making my way up to the Wexner plaza, I spotted a very frail-looking old woman in blue crocs limping around with a bunch of bags clasped in her arms. She looked very sweet and very frail, but she walked along gamely and passed out a bag to a stranger with a smile.

I normally shun the denizens of High Street, but I couldn’t help myself. I walked right up to her as she turned her eyes on me, and listened to her request.

“Would you like a rosary?”

Religion and I have a troubled relationship. It was something I was unsure of way back in eighth grade when I was getting confirmed at a Catholic church, and my sense of unease hasn’t lessened. Being gay and Catholic is not a very compatible combination, yet I still haven’t been able to shake a fundamental belief that there is someone out there watching over things carefully.

I took that rosary. I took it with a smile and a thank you, and that smile hasn’t left me even now as I sit writing this with the cheap plastic thing sitting in a heap next to me.

It’s a simple thing, but it makes people happy. It made her happy, I know. When I walked off and stopped near the Chabad House hot-dog cart, she walked carefully over to her younger cohort and nearly fell into her warm hug.

Say what you will about religion, but one thing is certain: It makes some people happy. It gives direction, purpose and moral guidance, even if that gets out of hand for some people like dear old Brother Jeb. I have a cousin I love dearly who studied to be a missionary, and I can safely say nothing except marriage and children has made her happier. When I was a kid and my grandmother was taking a nap, I would sit and pray the rosary for an hour and feel secure.

Even if you can’t embrace it, I hope people can stop being so negative about religion. If you can make some sweet woman’s day by taking a rosary, why not give it a shot? I think really, deep down, we all want a little more kindness and love in the world.