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Monday Reflection: Lives Can Be Changed Through Pain ...

By Rae Lewis-Thornton

June 6, 2011

This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.

I have so much on my freaking mind, it's just racing around and around in my head. And yes, I want to share it all with you, every single bit. Well, not every single bit but mostly every bit. But today I'm just gonna tackle one thing. Last night I got the biggest Aha Moment of 2011 to date. For Real... For Real....

So I was in one crappy ass mood all day yesterday. I mean with the sun shining through my picture window, it still seemed like darkness had invaded my living room, my heart, my mind and the very essence of who I am. And then in the middle of telling my male friend, in so many words, I didn't really want to hear about his bad day or week, shit my day is bad and getting ready to get worse. Yep, on Tuesday I'm going on IV medication for the eleventh time in 3 1/2 years, to treat this damn drug resistant, aggressive ass herpes that AIDS won't let me fight off.

I was like are you fuckin kiddin me? Huh? Don't you see that I need you? Then he said to me, "Stop it! Many people see your fight and your strength during this fight and say, if she can fight that then she can fight and handle anything with ease. I have been guilty of that with you from time to time."

I just broke down and cried... I cried for the truth of that statement and I cried because these truths didn't take away my pain... I cried for the woman who's pain is a Living Testament to God's Word. I cried because my pain cannot be changed, but lives can be changed through my pain.

And then I started to really think about my friend. He is going through some challenges now and I have been his number one cheerleader, that is, when I'm not bitching about my shit. But I came to this place of peace and understanding after a good Cry, Tea, a More Black and White Cupcake and Godiva Truffles My life is a ministry in it's entirely! While I want private space and should have private space, ministry does not mean that you shut down in that private space. If you can't minister to those closest to you, then who can you minister to?

No, it doesn't mean that my needs and concerns get overlooked, it just means that my comfort is not at the sacrifice of another's comfort. Ministry is what it is. God has not gifted me to squander these gifts stuck in my pain. To whom much is given, much is required.

There was never a time when Jesus didn't minister. Remember, after he preached to the five thousand, the Disciples wanted to send them away. The people all tired and hungry and the Disciples didn't want the responsibility, but Jesus didn't give it a second thought. After he had fed their spirits he fed their stomachs. And the text never said that Jesus and the Disciples ate with the multitude. He must have been hungry and tired too, remember this was Jesus in His human form.

So I got it... I got it... I got it... Ministry never stops no matter what's going on in my life. Does it solve my problems? Does it ease my pain? No! But I gotta know, that I know, that I know, that if I stay about the business of my Father, my Father will take care of His daughter. And what's so amazing about God is that He will come in the least expected ways and at the most unexpected time. He never sleeps nor slumbers; He just does things His way. Yesterday, I was looking for comfort one way, and was reminded that the ultimate comfort comes from God; His way, His time and His space.

So as I go into this next 4-6 week journey on this IV medication, which will surely attack both my body and my spirit, I will remember that my pain cannot be changed... but lives can be changed through my pain.

And btw... that fellow, well my compassion, ministry and strength are the things he finds the sexiest about me, that is, next to my eyes. So why stop being who I am in private? Maybe when we meet a man we have too many expectations... And lose are freaking mind... I mean we forget the strong woman we were before he knocked on that door. Just sayin... Being strong might be the thing he loves the most about you...

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See Also
10 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Emotional Well-Being
More on Getting Support From Religion / Spirituality

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

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