It is absolutely crazy how quickly time slips by.
Today, my son turns 3, and this year marks 30 years of my life with HIV.
Two events, which are so drastically divergent, but equally as life changing.
The latter, took from me all meaning, hope, motivation and even reason for living..
The former, gave me a renewed hope, motivation, and enormous reason for living.
Indeed my friends, God has some peculiar ways of getting our attention, and he always seems to do so with me in very big ways.
However, in this year, and HIV turns 30, and Baby, turns (Makes) Three, I am feeling a little bit, retrospective.
What has the last 30, and even the last 3 years taught me, about myself and my place in this world that we all live in?
Well, lets take these one at a time and see where this goes.
By the way, the fact that you are still here even though this is not seeming to go anywhere earns you my most sincere thanks and gratitude.
But please, continue to play along from home, this should get interesting.
I have learned in these past 30 years, that I can be a frightened, scared little baby, when life needs me to be a stand-up guy most of all.
I have learned that I truly love people, almost all people for no greater reason than that they exist and have the potential to shine a glorious light when you first share your light with them.
I have learned, albeit late and by late I mean 30 years later, that living in secret with a thing as big as HIV, slowly erodes you from the inside out. I would NOT recommend this for ANYONE.
I have learned that some people lover you all of the time, and most of the people love you some of the time, and some people you just cannot reach.. However it is not for us to say which is which so love all people liberally and without reservation and the ones you thought would be the toughest to reach will fill your life with the greatest friendship, love and joy.
I have learned that when you have a secret that you perceive as being so dark, and so devastating that no one in their right minds would possibly love you in spite of this.. that when you reveal this to all of them, that they still enjoy and love you, simply for being you.
And I have learned that no matter how dark things may seem, it is all perception, usually.
And that the one who made me, has greater plans to turn this negative into a positive than I could have ever dreamed or hoped.
I have learned that everyone loves a hero, and that being open to allowing my own personal tragedy to be reshaped and remade and repackaged as a triumph in some small way makes me (Dare I say it) a Hero.
I have learned that Heroes are nowhere near as rare or scarce as I once thought, I have met the most heroic people in these last thirty years. People who have humbled me with their stories and their hearts as big as the Montana sky (Which is pretty damn big by the way).
I could go on into a volume as big as War and Peace extolling all of the various Lessons Learned the past 30 years have taught me, but I have to get on to what the last three years have given me. Let me make a small bullet list to encapsulate the aforementioned items…
- Time is shorter than you think
- Life is scary, bring friends
- People are intrinsically beautiful, some just need more polishing than others.
- Your secrets, are only as dark as you allow them to be.
- Everyone has a secret tragedy to share, that they need to share.
- Only light can extinguish darkness. If someone seems dark, shine all the more brightly into their lives. What have you go to lose?
- That light that you see in others, is often nothing more that a reflection of the light you are shining into their lives, if you allow it to be.
- Never underestimate the power of Redemption, and the amazing ways God can turn tragedy into victory if you would only give him the reins.
And now, for Jake….
What exactly has Jake taught me in these last three years?
I have learned that Babies are awesome, and truly have a unique smell that makes you believe that you can do this and that somehow everything is going to be alright.
I have learned that seeing your good, and bad traits in small creations with very little discernment or self control can be the most inspiring/frustrating thing to have ever happened, no really.
I have learned that Love is truly unconditional, and inexhaustible, if you want it to be.
I have learned that I am so NOT inexhaustible, although with a 3 year old I often need to be.
I have learned that being a parent is NOTHING like anyone ever explained to me, the highs and lows, the wins and losses, and the inexplicable stripping down to absolutely no clothing during nap time, and when you ask why you get the same response “I don’t know”.. Sorry, but that is incredibly perplexing.
I have learned that being a male, does not make you instantly a man, and that I want my boy to grow up to be a great man. And this starts with me, and so I do spend a great deal of time in introspection these days.
I have learned that is is perfectly alright, and hell even very fun to let my son dress up as Sofia the First because the dress is pretty and sparkly and hey who doesn’t want to occasionally be pretty and sparkly.
And lastly, I have learned that I have a much deeper well of love to draw from then I ever would have thought that i had previously. And I am not special, we all do. Every now and then, see if you can give out so much love that you run yourself dry.. I guarantee, if you love with all that you have and with all that you are, GENUINELY.. You will find yourself being returned that same love by the very people that you would have never expected to love you in return.
I guess it all boils down to Love folks….
“Love heals, love refills, love remains and love sustains®…”
Give people the chance to love you, for who you truly are, and they may surprise you.
Love people for who they truly are, and they will amaze you.
Share your pain and wounds with people, and they will help heal these same wounds with a depth of compassion that will not only help you to heal, it will leave you humbled and amazed.
That is a brief sample of what the past Thirty, and the past three years have taught me.
I can’t wait to see what the next thirty and three will bring to me.