I remember years back as a nurse when the first patient arrived at the hospital in which I was working.
He was an older gentleman and he had been ill for quite some time. For years, no one knew what was wrong with him.
There seemed to be no explanation as to why all of these illnesses had beset him. As the ambulance waited in the parking lot, there was a general assembly of the hospital staff to decide just what should be done with this human being who was gravely ill and had no other place to go.
The ambulance team had brought him to our facility because he had been taken to another hospital and they had refused to admit him even for observation. The ambulance folk were told to turn around and leave.
That’s been many years ago now. Much has changed in the care and concern for all people who have been found with HIV and other such disorders.
There’s no need to go back and forth about what our beliefs and opinions are on this subject.
I think perhaps one thing that challenged some of us to rethink our ideas and be more open may have been the fact that there were so many children born with HIV who had done nothing wrong in their little lives.
There were also millions of men, women and children in other parts of the world who were good folks who only wanted to raise their children and have some kind of life.
If the story of children raising children because they no longer have parents doesn’t move you, then nothing likely will.
There is a sound that comes to me that I cannot escape. A social worker for a local medical center related a story to me of a young man in our hospital that was dying from AIDS.
With only a short time left, he was calling for his Mom and Dad, over and over and over.
This social worker who was also a licensed minister found out who the parents of this young man were and he called them and reported the condition of this patient and that his time was very short.
He told the parents that their son was calling for them, begging for them to come. They told the social worker/ minister, “No. We are not coming. That’s the way he chose to live his life and we are no longer responsible.”
There was no reaching them. The young man died shortly after, all alone, and they never came.
Another story reaches me that I will never forget as long as I live.
There was another young man in a city where I once worked who had been ill for some time. He passed away.
The hospital called the boy’s mother and asked where she might want the body sent. I will never forget her words. She said, “I don’t care what you do with it. He is no longer my child.”
Both parents in these two stories said they were Christians. The mother of the second young man was a member of the Holiness church.
All I can say is, that this is not the Christ I know.
Jesus actually touched the lepers and healed them. There seemed nothing that could move Him to turn away from people, except cold, hard-hearted self-righteous church folk who proclaimed one thing and lived another.
I’ve met some wonderful Christian people in my life with HIV and they remain in my heart forever.
They had the most precious spirit and attitude. Their love of life and making the most of each hour and moment impressed me beyond words.
And, they were the most forgiving people I ever knew. They had a compassion for others and a love for mankind that I have not seen matched anywhere.
Time and modern science has improved much for our brothers and sisters who have been affected by this disease all over the world.
And yes, they are our brothers and sisters and we will answer to the LORD for our treatment of them.
In my life, I’ve watched those from the Pentecostal Church die, feeling that God did not love them. Many of them, all alone.
I sang songs with them, old-fashioned Pentecostal songs, that brought great joy and deep weeping.
It always amazed me how much they loved the LORD. But there was no place for them, no place they could worship God in the way they had been instructed and in the manner they loved so much.
They were beautiful people, some of the best I’ve ever known.
I am so grateful for those parents, family and friends who see the good and the honor in these fine folk and love them for who they really are.
Too often we realize the good we had, after it is already gone.
I am also grateful for doctors and modern science that have worked tirelessly to bring hope and life to all those who need it.
I was reminded again recently about Mother Theresa who first came to the USA to help start a care facility for AIDS patients, because we were too righteous and holy to do it!
This precious Mother became a mother to so many who had no one, and she left a legacy of how Christians are supposed to act.
She believed that every human being deserved dignity and respect shown to them. I know she was right.
If this article offends anyone, I will not be offend if you take my name off of your Facebook friends list. It’s about time all of us lay down our cold hearts and man-made ideas about how we treat one another and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”
Do we continue to choose who we show mercy and love to, or do we follow the path of the one who once walked among us and touched and loved all?
Do we turn away our hand and seek justification for our actions?
How about YOUR Heart?
First published: December 2, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn