Wednesday 20 September 2017

The spirit of hope powers life

The news I was expecting
It was a Friday, the day was taken off to attend to a critical and important matter, a visit to the clinic to receive results of tests I probably knew would be as expected.
I had chatted to my pastor about it, as he was already aware of other issues that I had confided in him and then I had told him, I was not afraid for what I might learn at the clinic.
When I was called in to see the nurse, he left to chat to a doctor and then returned with a printout, he announced the result and I having not brought a companion with me to hear the news, he became distraught and began to shed tears. I comforted him as he went through the protocols of telling me treatment and care options and support groups I could join to see me through these difficult times.
Finding a message of hope
He handed me a booklet that talked about the way people react when they receive such news, denial, anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, disappointment, shame, despair, defeat and discouragement made the list as I leafed through the booklet.
Then I said to him, this booklet is missing the most essential message anyone on the receiving end of this news needs, the message of hope. Everything appeared to look downhill with no upside, I was not going to go downhill with that news.
I did not have a feeling of despondency as I returned home, I wrote in the booklet hope and then I began to contemplate the rest of my life.
I lived my life
In that time, I earned a post-graduate diploma, went to places I never dreamt of visiting before, lived with plenty to spare, made and lost friends, found people to give a better message of hope beyond their circumstances, had cancer, lost everything, began to rebuild my life and today I was in hospital to see my consultant 15 years to the day I received a diagnosis of being HIV+.
That diagnosis was not the end of my life and definitely not the end of my story, it gave me a new challenge to live with both a sense of determination and vulnerability, accepting the fullness of my humanity and knowing that until the day I die, I am living and bless to live well.
Thankful for the love of life
Through these times, I have had friends stand with me, stand by me and stand for me, without them, I probably would not have seen beyond the news I received. Maybe, I should have accessed HIV treatment sooner than I did, but I cannot live in regret of that, we are where we are, fuelled by the hope that it gets better and whatever is thrown in our way is a hurdle to be negotiated.
That is where I am today, through it all, I am thankful and grateful, not so much to celebrate an anniversary, but to recognise that what at one time was a sure death sentence is simply now just one sentence in a long story of a life lived in the love for life.

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