The Stories told by HIV and AIDS
A story of shock at a death sentence newly learned.
A story of shattered dreams and lost opportunities,
Of bewilderment, anger and despair.
A story of fear and secrecy and shame and denial,
In individuals, in families. A story of guilt and blame.
A story of prejudice and discrimination,
Of isolation, rejection and judgement because someone has the virus…
Or maybe just because they're different.
A story of loss of health, security, friends, dignity, family,
Home, future, autonomy.
A story of needs and dependency and nakedness.
A story of lost skills, diverted resources, reversal of gains,
For families, communities and nations.
A story of inequality and injustice between North and South, male and female,
Adult and child, straight and gay, powerful and powerless, positive and negative.
A story of hostility and abuse by Church and State alike,
Of the already voiceless made even more vulnerable by HIV.
A story of healing and liberation preached to the whole Church in the ministry of those with HIV or AIDS.
A story of love and care and commitment poured out without reserve,
And going beyond the boundaries of dogma or law or tradition.
A story of countless grains of wheat…
of unhailed saints who come in many guises;
If we will but see; if we will just listen.
A story of hope for the present, and hope in the future, from those who, infected with the virus, subscribe to life, not death.
A story of courage and solidarity from those who, without concern for self or regard for rank or title, proclaim openly and honestly "the Church, Christ's body, has AIDS".
And, from those who teach and counsel, nurse and support,
From the many who advocate and struggle for justice,
A story of truth and freedom and acceptance and love;
-signs that even in this time of AIDS God's kingdom is among us.
From the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance