Naked Before God
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
November 10, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
Last night I had a complete and total meltdown. One that forced me to become naked before God.
It is no secret that this week I have been sad beyond all of my understanding and all the positive thinking quotes and scriptures I could muster up. No matter how hard I tried to call on Super Woman, she just wasn't rising to the occasion.
It is no secret that these last few months have been harder than usual. Shoot, if I'm real honest about it, this year has been a blessing and a curse all wrapped into one. I defied the odds and lived to see 50 years of age! I should have died in my 30s, and be clear, at one point I was sick enough to die. But with God as overseer, a great doctor, a will to live and doing everything medically possible, I made it.
Then in the midst of the countdown celebration I got sick and ended up on IV medication. Then to add to my injury, my honorary membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was rescinded over tweets I made 14 months prior. And it was done in the coldest and cruelest way, with no warning, preparation or defense. That made me physically sicker and I ended up on IV medication for 34 days instead of 20. But I seemed to keep it moving.
While I hurt, Super Woman came through for me. I wrote a book, The Politics of Respectability, in 22 days and I was still able to get my Summer 2012 RLT Collection completed and on the website in a timely fashion.
Yep! Super Woman was in rare form and I didn't miss one beat. Then the fall came and my world started to fall apart. I learned that one of the closest persons in my life was an altered reality; everything I knew about them was a lie. I had been living in their lie for almost two years. That betrayal made me sick and I ended up on IV.
It was beyond anything I could have ever imaged and some Lifetime movie shit. And honestly, I'm still not over this betrayal. Every day I discover something new that makes me ask myself, how did I miss it? And makes it even clearer how disturbing it all is.
My world started to crumble. I went from herpes and IV medication for 19 days, to serious nerve pain in my back, face and legs that shut me down, then a serious cold that shut me down.
In the meantime, work was lagging. I'm still trying to get the new designs for RLT Collection completed and that's been a lot of pressure because with no new bracelets on the website, there is no money coming in. Shoot, it's bad, I got a sale last night and I wanted to hug and kiss that customer, #ForReal.
Emails and Facebook messages are piling up and I seem to be falling down like dominos, one at a time.
Then to add to my injury, I developed another herpes infection. That's some shit! I've only been off IV a little over a month. The doctor was even stuck. She couldn't even believe it, so I had to go and get a couple of cultures to just make sure. But one look made it clear. Yep, I have herpes.
And the herpes I get is on steroids or something. I typically get one lesion on my clit area that grows into some super sore.
But occasionally I get more lesions on my vulva and it's like someone just took pilers and pulled layers of skin. Yep, each day since Monday I have gotten a new infected area.
I will start IV medication on Thursday. I'm waiting on my appointment to get a mediport placed. I've had so many picc lines and there's so much scaring on my left side veins, that I need to receive the IV medication in a different route.
The decision to get a mediport was the best decision, but it felt like I had been crushed. A permanent line in my body makes this aggressive herpes so permanent. In the last five years I kept hoping that we would be able to get a handle on it and I wouldn't need to keep going on IV medication, but that is not the case. That was a devastating realization!
So as my infection grows, I wait to be treated. You get the point! I got so much shit piled on top of shit, I feel like I'm about to lose it.
So, last night it all came to a head. I was really hurting both physically and emotionally.
I called one friend and they didn't pick up. I know I could have called my BFF Luke, but he's been holding me up all week and I wanted to give him a break. I can't tell you the aloneness I feel sometimes with no family at all.
As I sat in bed listening to Walter Hawkins' Pandora, (my fave) Byron Cage song, "Broken, But I'm Healed," came on. Tears started to flow.
I started listening to this one song over and over and over in my iTunes and the more I listened the more the tears flowed.
Super Woman was nowhere to be found. It was just me, Rae Clara and God until 3:00 a.m. this morning.
It's amazing how we begin to think more of ourselves then we really are, when in reality, we are because God is!! All of our greatness is because of God's plan for our life.
The more God blesses us, the more we seem to forget the sovereignty of God and that arrogance becomes our God.
The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon is to admit that we are powerless over alcohol/drugs and our lives have become unmanageable. Mainly because the addict thinks that they can out-think the drugs and those affected by the addict think that can out-think the addict. When, in fact, the drugs become the addict's God and the addict becomes the God of those impacted. Whoever, whatever you think and talk most about is your God.
The second step is to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. It says, I am not God, but there is a God who can. Both of these steps are critical to a better life and can be applied to every aspect of life issues, not just drugs and alcohol.
Oftentimes we try to assume the roll of God in our lives, when God just wants us to depend on Him. So I'm surrendering! I can't do this on my own. The more I try to be all that, the more insane I become.
What I know for sure is, I can do nothing outside of God's Grace. But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Even my ability to think is a gift from God. Sometimes we become too smart and too great for our own Earthly good.
In my brokenness, I became naked before God. When we strip before God, there is healing for the mind, body and spirit. I'm Broken, But I'm Healed!!!
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
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.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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