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Where do I go from here?
Sep 12, 1997

First I would like to say that Rev. Pieters, you are an inspiration. Reading your personal information renewed my hope that my dear friend can beat this disease. I only recently met this man, he has been HIV+ for some time and was diagnosed full-blown early this year. He has participated in all 5 American AIDS Rides this year & appears to be in incredible health. I volunteered in one of the Rides & have not been at peace since. I have developed intense feelings for this person and do not know where to begin dealing with them. The sense of urgency to save his life met with the intense frustration that I can not do so has overcome every part of my life. The sadness is ever-present. After searching for information, I remain uninformed. Where do I begin? Why has God lead me to this person who I know will suffer immensely while I watch helplessly? I feel so lost.

Response from Rev. Pieters

The person living with HIV whom you describe sounds to be in incredibly good health, if he did the recent AIDS rides. Why are you so sure that he's going to "suffer immensely while I watch helplessly"? Many people with HIV and AIDS are doing very well on the latest treatments, and there's every reason to believe that we will continue to do well! There have been so many advances made in the treatment of HIV and the prevention of opportunistic infections, that I'm surprised to read of your despair. Perhaps there is some factor in his health you have not shared.

Even if he does get much sicker, you can still be an enormous support and help to him. You won't feel nearly as "lost" when you get down to helping in concrete ways, assuming he needs the help. The best way to turn hopelessness into hope is to get active. Start doing things! Action does not only equal life, it equals hope.

None of us have any guarantees that we will be alive tomorrow. All any of us have is today, this moment. So in this moment, choose to feel hope. Decide to be actively helpful. Take a positive attitude towards your friend. We don't know what the future holds, but right now, we can do everything possible to create a quality life, to heal, and to be fully alive, even in facing a life-threatening illness.

Let me know how things are going, and God bless you both!



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