Most of my time is spent in volunteer work for the HIV community. For me, surviving AIDS and living with the disease are about continually starting over. In Anastasia's Steps, I write about being healthy enough to spend part of the day at the beach, but being too fatigued from eight months of chemotherapy to get home. Since, in my experience, each setback has been accompanied by an unexpected blessing, I wrote about the "good side" of fatigue, being forced to slow down and notice the miracle that the Universe is indeed a friendly place. I have been living with an AIDS diagnosis since 1990.
The manmade green of the lifeguard's flag
Seemed to have a joke about it
As it waved "safe-tidings" over the tranquil, inviting
Summer beach scene.
It flapped like chuckles over the brown and blue beach,
Colors combined as only God can do,
Painting a backdrop for any sacred rite
We might wish to perform there,
To consecrate and appreciate for a crystal moment
What God has made available to every one of us,
Every day, in every place.
A glimpse of the Eternal from wooden steps,
On an upward path back to the world,
Steps I was forced to sit upon, forced to enjoy,
For lack of strength that had not quite returned
After a long and sleepy stiffness
That, once broken, was now yielding new life, new love,
And the ability to get halfway immersed into a world of miracles,
Waiting patiently to be noticed.
Had I not been forced by fatigue
To stop and enjoy the cool, kind breeze,
I would never have heard the faint chiming of the wind-bells,
Or the distant soft piano playing something like Chopin, but a little more modern,
Would never have smelled the flowers misting their fragrant blessing
Over the winding uphill path,
Or seen the joke in the man-made green flag
Waving "safe-tidings" over the brown and blue beach,
A sacred place, where I have had a glimpse of the Eternal.