May 15, 2010
Right now, I am baking chicken wings, making brown rice, and trying to focus on the amazing amount of love that I have received over the last few days. Last night, I was reminded that God is out there, God is watching, and God forgives us even when we have a hard time forgiving ourselves and when others can't or won't.
Here's what happened.
I recently met a guy that I think is pretty cool. We've hung out a couple of times, and he is interested in hanging out more. From the gate, I was up front about my HIV status. I let him know that if that would be a barrier to us hanging out, then he should let me know, and we could call it quits before anything happened. His response was very affirming and sweet, and, in the end, it was at his invite that I went with him to an event last night.
We hung out with two of his friends that I had met on a previous occasion. Both people are nice guys. We had laughed, we relaxed, we gayed it up. Then we decided to go to dinner. One of his friends, without any word, disappeared. A few moments later we received a text that he had gone home.
The three of us that remained went on about our business and stopped into Spice for dinner. Then, about halfway through the dinner, I noticed my friend responding to a text message. Being a little bit nosy, I looked down, and I saw it was from his pal that had vanished and gone home. In it, the text was basically expressing that the person with whom I was hanging out shouldn't be hanging out with me or considering any sort of anything with me due to my HIV status.
As you can imagine, particularly after the last couple of days, that hit hard. But, it is a reality that I live with and have lived with for some time now. Our other pal that was with us, basically almost fell out of his chair when he was informed of the contents of the text.
I needed a minute to myself, so I got up and went to the bathroom.
When I came out, my friend was standing there. He apologized to the woman behind him and then pushed me back into that bathroom.
I was like....ooooh snap...I've seen movies that start this way.
He basically repeated himself with what he said at the table but more emphatically. He expressed that he would like to have a date. That he has enjoyed hanging out with me. That other people do not determine the decisions he makes. The he sees me and knows that I am HIV positive. And he apologized that I had the experience of seeing the text message.
I then asked him to leave so I could cry by myself.
I totally did, and then I rejoined the boys. Our other friend that was with us was still mortified and apologized on their mutual friends behalf. I, again, expressed that this is a simple reality of my life at this point and that while it isn't pleasant it is something I have to plan for an expect, and when I don't plan for it, and when I don't own my reality is when I end up in a bad place (the last several days being a perfect example of that).
Last night, I truly believe, was God stepping in. It was an object lesson that honesty almost always pays off in rich dividends. It demonstrated that fear can keep good things away or destroy good things that you already have. It was a direct intervention into my own shame spiral by my higher power. Ultimately, it made me realize that if I had been honest a few weeks back, I may have had the same experience, much earlier, without causing anyone any hurt or pain.
Hindsight is 20/20, which is good because I am legally blind.
I came home and shared all of this with David, and this morning is when I realized that it was more than just a chance experience that it was a God inspired encounter. I am grateful for that, I am grateful for the love I receive, I am grateful for David, and I am grateful for whatever the future may bring.
This piece originally appeared in Brandon's blog My Feet Only Walk Forward.