on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Lessons from Robin

Robin taught me some important lessons soon after I came to The 1917 Clinic at UAB, and I still use them on a regular basis.

One day I was asked by one of our nurses if I would talk with a single mom in her 30’s in one of our exam rooms who was recently diagnosed with advanced HIV disease and “was crying a lot.” I seemed to get called for a lot of these situations.

I walked in, introduced myself, and sat down.

She could hardly talk through her tears. After a few minutes she stopped her tears and blurted out, “I just want to know the answer to three questions:

1. Does God still love me?

2. Will anybody ever love me again?

3. Will I ever get another hug?”

I sat quietly for a moment. It felt like a pop test but in real life. I hoped the answers would come.

“Stand up Robin,” I asked her. I walked over and offered a bear hug that soon turned into a hold.

“That’s the answer to your last question,” I said as she leaned into the hug and wept.

After a few more minutes, I said, “I will introduce you to persons who will love you,” as I began to explain the volunteer Support Team approach model that we had developed for our patients who were all alone.

As we talked, I learned the two of us grew up with similar faith backgrounds. Before I left the room I added, “Robin, I believe there is nothing in all of this world that you or I can do to cause God to stop loving us. It’s a gift, some call it grace. Isn’t it amazing? God will always love you no matter what.”

When people are hurting, they need “Yes” more than they need “No.”

Robin taught me about some of the emotional and spiritual needs of a person living with HIV through her three questions that day. And to tell the truth, we all want to know the answer to these questions.

1. Does God still love me?

2. Will anybody ever love me again?

3. Will I ever get another hug?”

Sometimes the best medicine we give out at The 1917 Clinic is a well timed hug, and a response that says, yes, yes, and yes.

1 Comment

  1. Lia

    Beautiful post, Malcolm.

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