Sunday, September 9, 2007
THE STORM IS PASSING OVER
Becoming successful is a consuming passion for many actors. But “General Hospital” star Jason Gerhardt (Cooper Barrett) has a different set of priorities.
Jason’s original plans were to attend college and become either a politician or an investment banker. Though he did some modeling while in school to help pay the bills, he got a job with Sprint in Kansas City after graduation and planned to pursue his Masters degree. Then the acting bug bit.
As Jason recounted on the radio program “Personally Speaking with Monsignor Jim Lisante,” his reaction was somewhat unusual – “I prayed for God to take (the desire) away…but He never did. I wanted to make sure that my heart was right especially going into this kind of business. I’d…looked at it as kind of a frivolous profession. It’s just not me to go ‘hey look at me.’ Most of the people that I had met who wanted to get into this profession were more of those types of personalities.”
Since that desire never went away, Jason followed what he saw as God’s plan and became an actor. Though he ‘consulted’ with God on this major life decision, Jason wasn’t always so spiritually minded. That changed when he started attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Jason’s parents had gone through a nasty divorce while he was finishing high school so he arrived at college having gone through an emotional ringer. He joined the gospel choir, not because of any particular religious reasons, but because he enjoyed the energy and power of the music. One night, the choir was singing the hymn “The Storm Is Passing Over” when Jason was suddenly hit with an awareness of God and how much his life was in need of a relationship with his creator. While admitting he wasn’t a goody two-shoes during his college years, Jason found himself growing increasingly closer to God, and feeling the love, peace and joy He brings.
For Jason, living his faith beyond church walls is about being real. Regarding his evolution as a Christian, he said, “The more I’m centered in reading God’s word and praying, (I realize) it’s not that everything goes fine and that everything is beautiful and wonderful and all that. It’s that even amongst all the crap that might be going on in your life..., there’s always a sense of peace when you connect with the Father. It’s the joy and the love that he gives so abundantly even through all that stuff. You can always tap into it. It’s learning to tap into it more often rather than getting so busy and wrapped up in everyday life. That’s the maturity that continues to happen in my life.”
Jason also realized that others may be in a different spot on their journey of faith, and that it’s important to meet people where they are - “That’s the delicate balance in just sharing and understanding…Maybe (some people are) real ticked off at God because certain people have died in their life and they think God is to blame. So you’ve got to be sensitive to that and know that it’s okay. Sometimes that anger doesn’t mean they’re that far away from God. It actually means they’re closer, they’re thinking about it.”
Jason has a longstanding commitment to children’s ministries because he realizes that many kids today are motherless or fatherless or that they’re in families where they’re not taught that they’re children of a God who loves them and wants them to do wonderful things. His passion for helping kids only increased when he and his wife Chalae had their daughter Madyson. Jason notes that being a father has shown him the true riches of life. And fatherhood, he adds with a laugh, completely changed his idea of a good time on a Friday night. With a second child on the way in the Fall of 2007, Jason can look forward to many more of those good times.