Every December 1st is World AIDS Day.
Today was a day to highlight the need for HIV Testing, Education, Treatment, and Research to remind the world to fight the worst disease in human history. It is also a reminder to love and show compassion for those who live with HIV.
Since I worked as a Chaplain at an HIV Clinic for half of my professional life, this day is near to my heart. Actually, it’s not the day that is so dear, it is the people or “my peeps” that includes patients, families, and staff.
Even though I moved a few blocks to the hospital a little over a year ago for a new job, today I returned to the clinic. I was asked to lead a spirituality group for patients and staff. And together, we remembered and it was a deep spiritual experience for me.
We remembered persons who have lived (or died) with HIV and the impact each has had on our lives. We told stories, we named names. We laughed and we cried. Two persons in the room have lived with HIV since 1988 and could have named fifty, seventy-five, or even a hundred friends each who were no longer with us because of a disease in their blood.
I had prepared a topic for our group discussion. But I should have known better.
We ran out of time.
There were just too many people, too many stories, and too many changed lives.
One thing is for sure, my peeps have changed my life. And I thank God for them all.
We must tell their stories.
Before we run out of time.