Community Connections: Steve Foster

by Nick

Listen to this episode of The DJ Doran Show and all previous episodes on the player above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeart Radio.

Getting to know Steve Foster

We had the pleasure to sit down with Steve Foster (virtually) and learn about his life, his acting career, and his commitment to helping his community. Between acting, media & communications, being a Chaplain; Steve is an incredibly busy person but has many great stories from all of these experiences.

Steve Foster is a Chicagoland native. His family’s toy store was a staple of the Hinsdale Community for many years. Growing up in this environment and working several jobs in this family run business gave Steve the charisma to pursue his later career in acting & communications media. As you’ll hear, Steve is a curious person with the get up and go that it takes to pursue all of the interests that he does. 

During this crazy pandemic, Steve set out to do as much as good as he can with the tools that he has. In addition to all of Steve’s appearances on the big screen he is also a Chaplain. In this role, Steve serves to help people in many facets of life. There are no specific roles that he fulfills under this rule but rather, he responds to the needs of the people put forth before him. During the show he tells many stories of the various kinds of mentoring/council he has provided in the past. This is a truly altruistic path that Steve has chosen. Imagine what would happen if more people acted in a selfless manner like Steve. 

Choose Your Hard

One of the biggest takeaways from this conversation for us was when Steve brought up the concept of “Choose your hard.” This sounds rather simple at first but the sentiment is profound. In short, every choice we make has a series of difficulties that follows. Leaving is hard, staying is hard, choose your hard. The statement calls for us to be present in all of our decisions because if you’re really paying attention, there are challenges everywhere we look. This could go in conjunction with the concept of “The grass is always greener,” in that people tend to look over the fence and long for the ‘other” option because it may appear to be easier, or greener. At the end of the day, we must make choices, and it is better to face what we’ve chosen for better or for worse and live in the moment while being present for the situation we are in. 

Transcription

Hello.

05:12

Hi. How’s it going? Good.

05:16

Hey, Steve, how’s it going?

05:17

Good. How are you guys?

05:20

Oh, good. I mean, I’m I’m actually in Phoenix, Arizona right now.

05:26

Oh, wow.

05:27

Where it’s 100 degrees?

05:28

Yeah, I was gonna say they called the Valley of the Sun. It’s more like, the surface of the sun. It is.

05:35

And I’m down here on on business. So I’m not in my normal studio. But first of all, Steve, thank you for being on the show.

05:43

No worries. I’m happy to do it. I was

05:46

reading a little bit about your history. I was like, your dad owns a toy store.

05:51

Yeah, I grew up. And people talk about this in a lot of different ways. But, um, I just thought Christmas was oh, that’s Santa. I didn’t realize that fact that my family on the Play Store was a major reason why big big Christmases.

06:12

That’s awesome. I mean, that’s every kid’s dream. Do you know I’m old enough to remember? Do you remember when, um, I don’t know, you might not be old enough. But I remember when we used to get the Sears catalog or these catalogs, and we would like, circle all the things our Christmas books and things.

06:30

You know, you live that for real? Yeah, well, that’s kind of the story. I was looking for the article, but it’s not posted anywhere anymore. It talked about the history. And part of how we got into the toy business was my grandfather was in the car business. And in the winter, nobody was buying cars. So Firestone had a toy catalog that they would put out to, you know, bolster winter sales. And so it just followed a natural progression. When my dad got old enough. My dad said I want to own a toy store. So they became a toy store.

07:12

That’s, that’s amazing. Um, so Tell, tell. tell our audience a little bit about yourself. Like, your resume is all over the place. All sorts of things. I was like, trying to figure out all the things that you do. Yeah, by the way, you made a really good, um, Storm Damage victim.

07:37

Yeah, well, that’s kind of comes out of being the youngest, probably in the family. I, um, I kind of was the the play thing for my older brothers. And yeah. So I, I always talk about I do a lot of work with people in the mental health field. And I work with a special ed and autistic children. So to have that much going on in real life. I always like to have a place that I can go where it’s completely fantasy. And yeah, like, that creates a good balance. But for me, I’ve always felt like life was more about the adventure, and the journey is the destination. And there’s just a lot of things that I wanted to try and do. And I don’t know, the things that have stuck with me. And, and all of that goes back to growing up in a toy store. I mean, there’s just a lot of opportunity to be a costume character, or I guess, that’s where my background and communications came in handy to because I was able to promote, you know, the different events that we had. And if need be, you know, I could step in and, and speak about the history of the toy store and this and that. And I could also play Santa or the Easter Bunny, or, and kids love that stuff. I mean, that’s the one thing working with autistic kids, they all have a language. And it’s usually attached to like a Disney character or a cartoon character or something that really helps me connect with them because they are language they, you know, Scooby Doo or whatever. Right, right.

09:33

Well, you know, the thing that I thought was, I mean, it’s so interesting when I was reading the articles in the Chicago Tribune and and in suburban life. Your dad’s toy store had a huge impact on the community. I mean, it was he was part of the community. Um, what was that like when, when he sold the store to a bigger company?

10:00

Well,

10:01

in a lot of ways, it was a little bit of relief because it didn’t, wasn’t the same as it used to be. And my dad was very old school, he wanted things run exactly the way he wanted them run. And he was still like handwriting checks and running to the bank and stuff like that. And we’re like, Dad, you don’t have to do that anymore. You can do all of that electronically. But that was just how he always did it. So that was how he was always going to do it. And that’s how he wanted it done. And enemas kids wanted our life to be that. And it was a lot of holidays and weekends, I talk a lot about how, when you work in retail, your life is really your own you Your, your work in the end of the year, to make your year. And then you collapse in January, and you do inventory. And then it kind of starts up again in the spring. And so I don’t miss working retail, I do miss, um, being that connected to the community, because that’s what my grandfather and father did is they still I mean, people remember my grandfather and my father because they were so involved, but they weren’t around the house for me and my brothers. Right? Right. So there’s always a, there’s always a trade off if if your life is going to be consumed by that. I don’t feel like my dad knew me as a person. But there are parts of me that I do carry on. And I’m very involved in my community through various entities. And then through my church, through the pandemic, we’ve done a lot of outreach and stuff through, you know, something called convoy of hope we do, we’ve delivered food. And part of what we’re doing in in the Pilsen area in Chicago, is we’re starting something called a dinner church, which you just invite your community to come and break bread and eat, and just get to know each other talk, learn about each other’s cultures, and, you know, build those relationships, and have it not be about anything, but building that community. Because I think that’s something that has been lost over the years. Sure. Oh, you know, I say that often,

12:37

Steve, is that the art of community of conversation is being lost, you know, everyone’s got their faces buried into their phones, and they’re texting and Snapchatting or tick talking. But the art of having a conversation, especially over food, you know, I grew up in an Italian Irish family. And that’s, that’s where all of our conversations took places at the dining room table or at the kitchen table as you were eating food. And, um, you know, I hope that that that we don’t lose that as as society grows, to be more dependent on technology, you know, that brings me to this thing. I was reading that you you want it to be a chaplain, you are Are you a chaplain, are you still training to be a chaplain?

13:21

I am, but it’s become a much more difficult process with the pandemic’s. Right. And I, initially, they wanted me to do see, it’s different on different levels, if you’re going to be in a hospital setting, or those types of settings, you have to go through a whole series of not just trainings, but it’s it’s almost like, if you’re becoming a doctor or a nurse, you have to go through a whole series of practicum. And it’s kind of an internship, but it’s more like, you know, you’re playing that role. And but you’re not really getting paid, you’re getting school credit for also, the, the process of my experience has been, I was in a very serious car accident in 1990. And I know everyone experiences are different. But the one person I remember from being in a hospital and, and it was not a fun time, probably one of the most difficult times of my life was the chaplain. He always came by, he always remembered me he knew about my story. And that I think more than even a lot of the other components made a huge difference for me. And so I’ve done the Steven ministry training, which is you’re certified, but you’re not like, licensed by the state or whatever. But yeah. And there’s continuing ed and all that kind of stuff. It’s not just one training, sure, sure. We have a monthly thing where where we sit down, and we do our observational groups, and different things like that. And it’s headquartered in Missouri. So it’s a national thing. It’s not just somebody, something somebody cooked up. But within my church, they pair me with people that are going through difficult periods. And it’s like a counseling situation, they come in, we talk for 15 minutes. And I try to listen and pick up on things that they may not be aware of themselves, and encourage them and whatever way they need to. And you continue to do that until the person feels like okay, I think I’m, like, I’m good.

16:13

What is the difference Steven, between a chaplain and a priest?

16:18

Well, priests is a whole nother thing, he, you go to a hole. Um, and I’m not Catholic, so so I can’t really speak to the Catholicism part. But, um, you go to fit theological school, you go to any number of levels of history, you know, you have to learn Arabic, you have to learn Greek, you have to learn all about the different doctrines and, and the different differences between Catholicism and others. This is just more about, again, the relationship and meeting people where they’re at, and giving them a heads

17:04

up. So chaplain isn’t really a religious position, it is more like a comforting position. Is that how you would describe it?

17:13

Yeah, that and just giving some I mean, when you’re in a hole, and people are tired of hearing that, and you need somebody that is objective, and isn’t tied to you, you know, like, as a family member, or friend would be, it can be spiritual, but they’re actually using those things in, like, where there’s a school shooting, or there’s a, an issue at a business or corporate there, they’re actually corporate chaplains now that come in. And it’s, it’s spiritual in the sense that you’re helping them understand there’s always hope. You know, there’s always it’s a matter of perspective. And I always tell people in high school, and they had me read, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times understood that I’m like, how can it be both. And the older I get, the more I realize, it’s always both, it’s a matter of how you view things. And if you want to focus on the bad, it’ll take you as deep in the pit as you want to go. But if you focus on the good, you’re gonna reap that benefit. So I always tried to keep people thinking, positive and understanding that, you know, whatever they’re going through will pass. It may not be fun, that may really suck for a while, but that I’m here to listen, whatever you want to say, to me, it doesn’t go any further than the walls of wherever I meet with that person. And so it’s very much a counselor setting, but I’m not trying to necessarily sway them. One way or the other. That’s very important in the Steven ministry vein is that you meet them where they’re at, and help them go where they want to go. I don’t tell them, you know, well, you need to do this or you need to, I mean, I may say something like right now is not a good time for you to get into a relationship or things like that. But you can’t force them or you can’t share, live it for them. And a lot of times they don’t listen, but you try to give them the best feedback and advice you can. How does being a chaplain

19:43

differ from other faith based leadership

19:46

roles?

19:49

I would say, um, in a lot of senses is it’s just very similar and the faith part would be different. Depending on the individual, um, I, I’ve talked to people that have have agnostic tendencies, I’ve talked to people, and that have, you know, very strong, traditional Christian people that are less that way, you know, they might be in the middle or I’ve even traveled to Israel and, and talk to people that are Muslim and Jewish, and it runs the gamut. But the common thread for me is being a friendly individual, you may not fully understand or agree with everything, culturally, or spiritually, or whatever, but we’re still human beings. And we can still have a lover or commonality. And in a lot of ways, we’re more alike than we are different.

20:59

Agree.

21:00

But from a Steven ministry standpoint, it’s, it’s just more about, like I said earlier, the journey and helping people understand that, you know, you, you’re not being punished, life is hard. And anyone that tells you life isn’t hard. They they understand life, because no matter what you choose, somebody posted this yesterday, and I love this. You know, either being a hard worker is good, or being not a hard worker, or, or is hard. Being hard worker is hard, that being a hard worker is hard. If you just choose the hard, you know, the brain pain with both there’s pain with being physically fit, there’s pain with not being physically fit, you choose the pain. Yeah. So I love that because a lot of people think life is about being pain free. And that’s just not realistic. I don’t think

22:04

amen to that. And got and you hit the nail on the head with that, too, is I all often chat with people. And what they say is, well, you know, I’m, I’m, you know, if, if, you know, I’m being unfairly, you know, punished by life or karma or whatever. And, you know, to me, it’s, you know, you said something earlier that I, that, I think is a, I think it’s so true, and I’m trying to think of how I can paraphrase it. And that is, Oh, no, I just totally drew a blank. This is what happens when you turn 60. Stephen thought, and you’re like, Fuck, I wanna I have a great comment here. But I want to be polite and let you finish your sentence. And now I can’t remember what the hell I was

22:50

thinking about. And well, I’m not far behind you, I’m 55. So

22:55

well, you know, and so you’ll and if you don’t, you will,

22:59

alright,

23:00

but none of us are owed anything. And, and, and I was talking to someone, recently, who’s very, very wealthy, and they’re miserable. And but the person who has no money says, oh, if I only had money, I’d be happy. And, and, and I’ve learned over the years more So as I’ve gotten older, is that if you’re miserable, when you’re poor, you’re going to be miserable. When if you ever become rich, because you can’t run away from yourself. Right?

23:27

Right. And I, and I, and I,

23:30

I am a person of faith. You know, I’m a born again, Christian, and I’m a part of the LGBT community, I struggle with all of that. And, and, and because I, I consider myself an intellectual person, you know, I study the Bible. And I read all these things. And I want to understand the text and the subtext and the context and the sub context of what is being said, and trying to have a greater understanding. But one of the things that I want to ask you about that is something that I deal with in my own life is, is I always, I, I blame God sometimes, like when things don’t go, Well, I blame him and because, and I get really angry, and then I ask for forgiveness afterwards, because I get so angry. But it goes back to something that I was taught when I when I was a young Christian, and that was, God knows how many hairs are on your head and he knows all of these different things. And then in my mind, the human part of me logically deducts that if you know everything, and you want the best for me. Why can I find my keys? Right? or Why did I leave my air pods in the backseat of an airplane? or Why did I get Oh, by the way, I was in a Segway perfect story. I got into Phoenix on Tuesday, and we stayed in Airbnb. And the next morning that I woke up I stepped on a scorpion and it stung me. Ah yeah. And, and so you know, you know, what? What do you tell people that say, I know I want to trust God, I want to trust my faith, I want to believe that he wants the best for me. And if he wants the best me, why is he letting this happen? Well, why did my family member get cancer? or Why did my good friend die suddenly? Or why is this why that, you know? How do you address that? When, when that comes up, and I’m sure does come up?

25:27

Yeah. And it doesn’t, it even comes up for myself. And I’m also a Christian. And I’ve struggled through a lot of different things myself, because I even would say that in a different way, I struggle sexually, because I’ve never found the person that I felt marriage was, I mean, shouldn’t say it that way. Because there’s been somebody that I wanted to be married to, and she didn’t ask me that she wanted to be married to me, and I didn’t want to be married to. So there’s always called D. And I’ve never I, I don’t have kids, I live a life of abstinence. And but there are those times where I get mad at God and and I’ve had some really good counselors over the years talk about, you know, God can take your anger. And it’s really about understanding myself. And the more I’ve delved into, you know, discovering self awareness, the more I realize, I’ve also put those roadblocks up for whatever reason, as a kid, intimacy and or even closeness with family was kind of ruined for me for a lot of reasons. And I won’t go into all the reasons here. But as a young kid, that I didn’t have access to alcohol or drugs or different other things like that. So I discovered pornography. And I know I’m not alone in that. I don’t know, if they’re honest, who hasn’t? struggled with it in one way, shape, or form? But all that did was it distance me even more so from being able to connect with a real human being? And it’s still a battle? And yeah, this is something that I, I fight and in even in the do you say to yourself,

27:41

do you say like, what the what the Apostle Paul said, Do you say, Why do I continue to sin? When I already know the that it’s bad? Why do I continue? Do I do it just because I know I’m gonna get forgiveness? You know? And do you blame? God? Do you get mad and say, Why? What you have the power to remove this? Why don’t you remove this pain or this, or this struggle or whatever?

28:08

Yeah, and that’s a fairly common thing, at least, from the people that I’ve counseled. I’ve gone through that period, in my own struggles. And the best that I can sum it up is that it drives me closer to God, because I know that I’m never going to find in God, or in a relationship with God, and another person. So my perspective, and I don’t know if you’ve heard of or read Christopher UN’s book. He, he’s with Moody Bible Institute, and in Chicago, he’s a professor. And he wrote about, he actually went to my high school. He, he struggles in the same way, and he’s a very strong believer, but he wrote an incredible book about his journey and how it is sexuality and how it’s tied to, you know, it’s not about me, it’s not about gender. It’s not about sexual orientation, or whatever word you want to hang out it. It’s understanding that God has something bigger and better and beyond that, and it’s gonna be different for everybody. But for me, I’m fine. Being single, I’m fine if something does happen. I’ve gotten to a place and I know sounds fair. He was she wishy washy or, or whatever, but I can only control what I can control. And yeah, I can only pursue the People that I think I, I would have a good marriage or relationship with. And I can only control that part. And and the rest is I leave it up to God, God if it’s your will. And I’ve been in this situation several times where I was convinced that the person was the one and I said, if they are, let it, let your will be done if not, you know, change my heart. And obviously, he changed my heart. But in the post mortem or hindsight, I did a lot of soul searching and realized, you know, I wanted it badly enough that I was willing to compromise some things to, which I know would have been problems later. So that the human mind has the ability to rationalize just

30:55

Isn’t that the truth?

30:56

And yeah, and it’s just that sinful desire, we want what we want when we want it. And, you know, if God’s not gonna give it to us, we’re gonna pout and, and that’s kind of the way I view it. And I know, that’s probably not

31:17

the deepest spiritual answer.

31:20

But it’s an honest answer. I think that’s the thing is, Someone once told me, it’s like, you don’t have to worry about your prayer, you know, making it sound godly or formal, or whatever, he already knows your heart, you just need to express that mind. But I want to go back to a question. And I want to see, I’m just probing this because I deal with this. And I want to see if I can gain some insight from you about it, is how you handle when something happens to you, or something’s not going your way. And you say, God, you are in control of my life, you know, everything about me? Why are you doing this, and when you get angry at God, and you, you feel like in some cases, you feel bullied, like, okay, you’re all powerful. You’re all this and, you know, and I don’t have the ability to stand up to you. And so how do you personally deal with with that anger? How do you resolve that in your mind, and in your heart?

32:16

Wow, that’s a really hard one. And I have to go back a couple years. And this was at the tail end of the relationship where I thought she was the one. And, um, she, she started playing games, and I’m not a big game player. And, and it started to, you know, come to a head. And it actually ended with me checking myself in to inpatient The first time I ever did that. But I had two mentors along the way that I was talking to the entire time. And it was something I was so mad at God, I And believe me, impatient is not a place that you want to be sure, not fun in the least, it took probably three or four months to get my medications, right to get me back on the right track. But I tell you what, those 16 days inpatient, and then I had three weeks of outpatient therapy and stuff like that. And obviously, the relationship didn’t last. But I really felt like she abandoned me when I needed her most. And I was really mad at God. But then, and like I said, in hindsight, now I can see, you know, if she wasn’t willing to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty, she’s going to be that way in the relationship. And, and she was very career driven. And to her own admission, she she goes to recovery for being a workaholic, and things like that. But there were parts of it. She just wasn’t seeing. And as much as I tried to talk to her, she didn’t want to hear it. And I’m just kind of like, you know, there’s no way to help somebody change something that they don’t see or acknowledge. And it’s very frustrating. And that’s why

34:24

Steven, how did you how did you resolve your anger with God?

34:29

Oh, I got to a point where where I had a lot of angry conversations about it. And And believe me, I was not a happy person in recovery circles and I just had to process it. I had to do a lot of journaling, a lot of talk therapy, obviously the medication help you know how they say it’s bio psychosocial You know, just having support from others saying, you know, you’re doing the right thing, you’re doing the right thing. You’re doing the right thing, the guy that took me up to check me and said, You know, I thought we were gonna get up there and you weren’t, you weren’t gonna check yourself in because I even on the way up there was like, is this really the right thing to do is this really the right thing to do? is the right thing to do? I’m. So I’m thankful that I have those people in my life. But I know how much support I need for my own mental health. And I tell you what, the pandemic has thrown me for a loop in that regard. And I’m still working on getting that and if anything’s frustrated me more. It’s that because I’m a quality time physical touch words of affirmation person, and the pandemic is not the best time to be

35:58

the right. How have you used your chaplain training? During COVID? I mean, how have you used it? Have you been able to use it? Do you use it on yourself?

36:09

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And like I said, I still meet with my mentor, he texted me Actually, this week. And I have another friend, he’s also a train Stephen minister, he and I go walking on Sunday mornings, and there’s no topic that’s off limits.

36:28

Oh, that’s awesome.

36:30

It’s been hard for him to and just to be able to sit with somebody who gets it, who you can say whatever you want to say about God, or, or he, you know, whatever. I mean, it helps process and helps get it out, you know, lose all of that inhibition to worry about what somebody is going to think, or feel, or whatever. Because really, what it comes down to is, I need to do what I need to do to get myself healthy, and get rid of this anger because it just poisons you. As we say, in recovery. It’s it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. And that’s really what anger is, because it doesn’t really affect the other person nearly the way that it affects you as an individual.

37:23

I agree. How do you how do you approach the topic of forgiveness? Forgive? How do you how do you approach the topic of asking for forgiveness from God? And how do you? How do you forgive yourself when you get angry and say things? out of anger towards God?

37:46

And that’s a really good question. And the best way I can describe it having traveled I really had a long, and I share this when I give testimony about my relationship with my dad. And it’s a step by step process. And at first in, I used to want my dad dad while after he died, I couldn’t wish that anymore. But it was it was incremental. It was like, I slowly as I processed all of my own hurts, habits, hang ups, whatever you want to call them. I was able to, you know, learn the process of forgiveness. It takes a long time, and it is step by step. And there was a lot of 12 step work and recovery work in there. And just slowly but surely, I was able to well, you know, there were some good things about my dad, that people will comment, they said look just like him in a lot of ways on the light. And that used to drive me crazy. Well, now I’ve reframed it and say, You know what, those are good qualities that I did get from my dad. So incrementally, I was able to go one step further, you know, I’m thankful that I had that because now I can help others who struggle with forgiveness. I can look back and and think of my dad finally and and the fun times that we did share, and also understanding him. You know, that’s probably how he was raised. He was just following suit. So he was just doing what the only thing he knew. And unfortunately, back then they didn’t have all of the psycho analysts stuff and even he probably wouldn’t have delved into it anyway. But But yes, as far as my side of the street, I’ve been able to get to a place where I have forgiven him and it’s just a huge lift, but it does take heart Work and it does take crying over it. And this thing always comes back to me I was on a men’s retreat. It’s a ministry called every man’s battle. They they talked about, Okay, take out a pen and write down the 10 Things Your dad never said that you wanted him to say to you. And he didn’t even get the damn sentence out. And, and I mean, just full of tears. I could not stop crying. Because it would never even occur to my dad to ask me anything or say, affirming things. To me. It just wasn’t him. He was a narcissist. And he just didn’t know any different. But as soon as they said that, I was just like, Oh my gosh, just to have him say, hey, let’s go through the baseball or, you know, something similar

41:02

to that, right? Do you have any brothers or sisters,

41:06

two older brothers, and the oldest one is kind of the rebel. And he and I probably share more. I’m experienced with, with my dad, my middle brothers kind of a hero, if you understand, yeah, I do that whole. And he can do no wrong even though he has done wrong, but in the family, everything revolves around him and his family. And, and I’ve gotten to a place where I can accept that. And, um, you know, it’s hard. It’s still hard. Because when you get together for your own birthday, and everything revolves around whether my brother’s family can get there or not.

41:53

Yeah, it’s like,

41:54

well, this is my birthday. It has nothing to do with them. But okay. Yeah.

42:02

Steve, I have a question. You know, when you get angry at God, like when you like, for me, when I get angry at God, I have a hard time understanding how God will, could forgive me for saying the things that I say, how do you how do you handle accepting forgiveness? Because God promises that he will forgive you if you ask. Yeah. But, you know, sometimes we’re like our worst enemy. We’re like, I don’t deserve to be forgiven, I don’t deserve grace. I don’t deserve your love. I don’t deserve this, you know, you save the things and then you, you punish yourself, even though forgiveness is readily available. How do you how do you handle that? How do you because I know that I know that, that there comes a piece a piece when you understand that you’re saved by grace, and that you, you know, and that God is greater than your problem. And, and he, he is always there, he’s consistent, always there for forgiveness. But we don’t always forgive ourselves, right? We don’t. So how do you? So how do you how do you deal with that?

43:16

There was another line journey, and that that’s probably as hard or harder because, and my therapist used to all the time, he’d say, Why do you keep wanting to beat yourself up? What are you getting out of that? Why’d in a Why do you think you deserve anything different than the rest of God’s people and grace, and I grew up in a very graceless environment. And to understand grace, took me I mean, I think it was in my 30s, when it finally the light finally went on, because I grew up in a very upscale community, whatever you want to call it. And Grace was for other people. Grace was for people that really needed it. And so it just didn’t connect with me. I just was kind of like, Oh, yeah, it’s a nice song and blah, blah, blah. But yeah, when I started to realize, no, I need that amazing grace. And, and it was just over the process of doing my own recovery and self reflection, and realizing, you know, that there isn’t anything that I can say or do that can separate me from the love of God. And it’s his deal. So who am I to say, I’m not worthy. When he says I’m worthy or to not believe his promises or to try to cause myself more anguish or harm or whatever by I mean, we are our own worst enemies and and I’m my own worst enemy. A lot, I still struggle with certain things as I’ve eliminated some of my other struggles. Food is like a big struggle for me, especially during the pandemic.

45:13

And,

45:14

and, and it’s still really hard it and I totally,

45:18

I totally feel you there. First of all, I love to eat. And, and at 60 I’m like, I’m not gonna have a six pack anymore. I’m working I have more of a keg than anything else.

45:31

And, and enjoyment I just get about sitting down with somebody for a meal, and just enjoying a really good meal and conversation. And I could sit there for three or four or five hours, you know, or, or even people is talking about how can you sit through a baseball game because I’m sitting there with my buddies. We’re enjoying the weather. We’re hanging out watching baseball joking around. I mean, it’s kind of like golf. I mean, why do people go out on the golf course and frustrate themselves? It’s it’s not about the golf it’s it’s about hanging out with your buddies. Having a beer or smoking a cigar and having that camaraderie and conversation and to bring it kind of full circle. That’s kind of what I want to bring to this whole divided nation through our our dinner church is that, hey, I’m not that different than you. I need to make grace. And here’s why. And it doesn’t matter. them a middle aged White House, a middle aged. I’ll take anyone on live to 110 No, no, you know, even though I’m white male, middle class, whatever you want to call me. You know that stuff doesn’t really matter to me. And I live very simply. I mean, I’m sitting here in my Ford Focus that’s eight years old. So you know, I don’t live extravagantly. I don’t do. Like I said earlier to life. The journey is the destination. And I love adventure. And I’m actually about ready to join a group of people. We’re doing a Halloween drive thru thing and I’m playing Jason worries.

47:26

Well, that’s a great, that’s a great segue. I want to segue into the this part of the show. You were did some acting? Yeah. You always did you always want to be an actor, or did it just happen? Or

47:41

did you?

47:44

And going back to when I was a kid, I was always on like the stage crew. I was always behind the scenes doing, you know, whatever behind the scenes. And as I got older, and like I said, through the store, I was doing costume characters and things. And I always kind of enjoyed that. And kids love it. And But yeah, I started getting headshots because everything became Oh, do you have a headshot. So I gotten some headshots because I was doing a sports announcing for the Chicago bandits, which is the women’s pro fastpitch team. And a friend of mine who’s in radio and TV goes, you know, you should send that around too. Because Chicago is like a hub for advertising and marketing. And now film, they’re filming a lot of stuff here. I just sent it out to the casting people, and they just started calling me. And I guess I have a European whatever look that they. They like so yeah, I have over 100 credits between film and TV and, and even print have done some print stuff.

49:01

Really?

49:02

Yeah. And the Weather Channel thing came up. I it was totally somebody that I just knew. And I had met through another project. She was working on a documentary about mental health. And she’s also a casting person. And she goes, you know, we need somebody to play this guy, and this reenactment. And I’m like, she goes, the only

49:27

this is how weird I am. She’s

49:30

the only thing is that he’s bald. And I said, Well, I’m willing to shave my head. Are you serious about that? And she even got back to me and said, Now you’re serious about shaving your head. And I said, Yeah, sure. I mean, hair grows back.

49:50

So yeah, I got the part. Oh my god.

49:53

Do you do you audition? Do you? Um, audition a lot or do the is it How did you get those Many of the process

50:01

ebbs and flows. I mean, a lot of them know me now, because I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years. Mm hmm. But occasionally I’ll get called in for an audition. And I’m not a great auditioner. But from what I, the feedback I’ve been given, from people who’ve auditioned me and whatever, usually they’re looking for something very specific. So it’s usually not about you, necessarily. It’s just they have in mind exactly what what they’re looking for. And I have gotten parts because of it. But I’m not really looking to be a famous actor. It’s just me. It’s, it’s something out of the normal. And like I said, earlier, I deal with so much real life all the time. It’s nice to have something where you can just add live and be fun and, and improv and, and like tonight, they just set us loose in a parking lot of people that are watching a scary movie, and we just go up the cars, and we try to scare people.

51:09

That’s awesome. You know, it’s funny, um, I’ve often said even at 60, that I would love to do that, because I don’t need the money, except the money just for the fun of it. You know. I went to I went to an audition years ago in New York City with a friend of mine. And it for him. He was doing the audition. And he was like, we go with mix. I’m nervous. I’m like, Okay, I’ll go. So I was sitting there, and I’m reading the magazine, and the guy comes out and says, Oh, are you here? I just I said, No, I’m here with a friend of mine. He goes, Oh, you should come on back in audition for this part. And it was, I’ll never forget, it was an off Broadway play called the planet of perfectly nasty people. And they needed a king. And so I went in there and I was like, I don’t give a shit. You know, I was like, I read the thing. And then I went out and I was waiting for my friend. And he goes, I didn’t get the part. And we were leaving. And the guy calls me back and says, okay, they want to go with you. And that was the first time I’d ever done anything like that. And I thought, Oh, this was fun. So I did it was a six week gig. And they didn’t pay me any money. They just gave me food.

52:13

He had he had food that had that happens a lot. Um, but yeah, usually they’re just looking for something specific. Well, and I’ve even played roles where I’m like, not even close. I I’ve been a hardcase Irish thug on Chicago PD. And I’m like, I’m not really Irish. I’m not really a hard case. I don’t understand why my look, says hardcase Irish thug, but I’ve been a priest. I’ve been.

52:44

I could see I could totally see you as a priest. Yeah. I mean,

52:49

you were on that you did something with the exorcist.

52:52

Yeah. Yeah. I was in the exorcist. The TV show, not the movie. But. But yeah, I was. I was one of the priests that got infected. It was. And they had us they had a bunch of us. And then, because the series was up for renewal, it didn’t get renewed. So I didn’t really get to come back. But they wanted me back for for that. And I’m kind of bummed because that’s another thing. Sometimes it ramps up. And it’s like, yes, this is happening. Yes. And then like the night before, they’re like, um, things have changed? And are you willing to just be a background and be part of the crowd? And I’m like,

53:40

that’s what I was gonna ask you, what is it like, when you audition? And, um, and then they don’t choose you? How does that make you feel?

53:49

It used to bug me more, but I’ve gotten me, you know, at my age, I realized he, you know, not to take everything personally and not to be because something always else and half the time. stuff that’s not even on my radar comes up. Well, like, a good example is this podcast, Angel tasy for like, 25 years. And when I was living in Colorado, and then she has this thing, and she invites me to it, and I just posted my thing, and I’ve gotten like three calls from people. So

54:31

yeah, you know, that’s the thing is that I’ve learned that that’s how life is if you ask me, Steve 10 years ago, you know where I would be and what I’m doing now, never in a million years would have even suggested that I’d be doing what I’m doing now.

54:46

Yeah.

54:49

But and,

54:51

and also, you know, it’s like, life is too short, and I’ve had some people recently passed away suddenly without warning and you realize that Life is fragile, and I don’t want to live that cautiously. I want to I want to be like the guy who was, if you ever saw the movie name and made me have you ever seen that movie?

55:12

or seen the play, but it’s been a very long time, like Auntie Mame? Yeah,

55:17

it was it was played by Rosalind Russell and then later by Lucille Ball. But you know, there’s a line in there that says, life is like an banquet, and most poor suckers are starving. And I always looked at it, like, it’s like a banquet, and I want to gorge myself on the experience of living, not being afraid to do something or try something new or, or just, you know, close to the end. When I, when I die, I want to be sliding in, you know, I’m at full power. And I’m saying, Wow, my life was a wild ride, and then go on to the next adventure. And because I’m a believer, I believe there is a next adventure.

55:58

Yeah, me too. And I’m the same way and, and whenever it is, I’m ready to go. I mean, a friend of mine, and I always joke about that. He’s, she’s 60 I think he just turned 65. And he, he joked with me about all the, you know, weird stuff that’s going on. And I said, I’m ready to go. Whenever God calls me. I’m, I’m good.

56:21

Yeah. See, the thing is, is I don’t have any fear about that. See? So it’s like, I’m not in any hurry for it to happen. Because I, you know, you’re living in the present. But I’m not afraid of it either. Yeah, that’s, that’s the biggest thing.

56:36

Yeah, and I am, and my counselor really helped me with that, too. Because, before my dad died, I was able to have some really good conversations, and I don’t know that he really fully grasp the things that I was trying to get across to him. But, um, you know, had I not done that I would have regretted it. And, and he really helped me understand that he goes, don’t don’t forget that it you know, as you get older, you’re gonna remember these types of things. And that’s going to be the important stuff. Is those those connections that you tried to repair or whatever? And, and, yeah, you just don’t really understand it. I don’t think until you actually get to that age.

57:30

Yeah, I was gonna ask you, you know, as we wind up here, I was going to ask you, have you used your faith to lead any family members? to faith? Have you have they have you had the experience where someone said, Hey, because of you, I am now here.

57:49

A little indirectly, I think I’m usually I mean, this, this shows you how, look how I feel about how in control I am. Usually when I’ve led somebody to faith, and and it’s probably I can count on two hands. But it’s usually something that I did, rather than something that I said, they notice something about how I live my life, rather than, you know, sitting down with them and actually praying the prayer.

58:24

Right. Oh, I am exactly the same way. Yes. Through my life.

58:29

Yeah. And so I’ve always taken that approach. I have tried to convert some family members, they, they have their own way. But I’ve also pushed back with them and said, You know, you’re, especially with my older brothers, because I think a lot of dysfunction was being passed on. And this goes back probably 1520 years at a family reunion. I was like, you guys are supposed to be the adults, you’re supposed to be the ones showing the younger ones how to behave and act and you guys are acting like you’re younger than they are. And, and so I did have to be a jerk several times to certain family members, but I think I got the point across I mean, I don’t belabor it. All I do is I call it what it is. And I say you know if if you guys want to be respected by your kids and have them listen to and obey and stuff and it’s not always gonna work, but you know, you need to be respectable and not being respectable is only hurting, you know, your own argument. So,

59:50

absolutely. So quick question, Jason. Jason Vorhees, right, that’s the guy in the lake right? With the mask.

59:58

Yeah. The the front of the 13th

1:00:02

right there. Oh, okay. At chapter camp at

1:00:05

the lake Yeah, you’re right.

1:00:07

Yep. Because we just watched Halloween we’ve been watching you know some of the scary movies and we watching Halloween and, and. And Michael Myers right yeah. And yeah, there’s another guy out here he’s already

1:00:19

dressed up. I’m looking at it right now he’s a good Michael Myers to do you know that

1:00:25

that mask for Michael Myers you know who that is? No. Here’s a fun fact. That is a mask of William Shatner. swear to you, I swear to you, Steve, I’m telling you the truth. If you Google it, you can send me a message and say, DJ, I cannot believe it. But you’re totally right. So, so. So Michael Myers. The studio got a mask of William Shatner and then added the hair.

1:00:56

I’m sure he’s happy about that.

1:01:00

Residual.

1:01:01

I know that’s the funny part. I was, I often wonder that but you know, not only is he immortalized as Captain Kirk, but now he’s immortalized as Michael Myers from the holiday movie franchise. But someone told me that and I didn’t believe them until I googled it and found out that it was true.

1:01:17

Yeah, I believe it at one. That’s the way Hollywood is, I mean, you never know exactly where things are gonna go or how they’re gonna play out. That’s, that’s the beauty of of why it is a fantasy. And you know, you just have fun with it. It’s entertainment.

1:01:39

Absolutely. Well, Steve, it was such a pleasure to have you on the podcast. I really enjoyed chatting with you. I know we talked about some AI, we talked about some heady stuff. But it was really interesting, especially the faith based stuff, because I haven’t had the chance to really talk to anyone about that. So I appreciate you. And I appreciate you sharing your own experience as well.

1:02:02

Likewise, and when you’re back in Chicago, give me a call and we’ll go have coffee or something.

1:02:08

Absolutely. Nick, I know that you’re in the background here. Make sure that you get Steve’s contact information, Steve, let’s keep in touch.

1:02:15

I will do.

1:02:17

Take care. Have fun tonight. Yeah, you too. Thanks, DJ. Try not to give anyone a heart attack.

1:02:25

Bye, guys. Thanks.

Previous Episodes:

Good News with SXSE
Chicago Content Creators
The Genesis Project

About the DJ Doran Show:

“Through our mutual exploration and search for the truth we can become a little more enlightened.” – DJ Doran

The DJ DORAN SHOW is a Chicago based podcast. The show covers many topics that interest Host DJ Doran as a perspicacious gay man with strong opinions. There are a plethora of topics and an insatiable curiosity about this complex and oftentimes confusing life that he finds himself living. 

Despite being a Chicago based podcast The DJ Doran Show features guests from all over the world discussing topics, issues, and stories that have an impact on our society & everyday lives. There are topics that will peak interest of most people and we hope will push the listener’s perspectives so that they can leave the show with more insight than when they began. 

Whether you’re in Chicago or Thailand, feel free to reach out to us at any point with comments, questions, feedback or if you want to be featured on our show. 

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