When getting killed by a train is easier

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Easier.

I was feeling very sad. Hopeless.

I knew that people living with HIV were social outcasts, because they would die very quickly. I was in shock. I was now in that group. I asked myself, now what? Where will I get drugs? Will I marry, have kids? I couldn’t sleep.

I walked along the railway line in Kibera thinking it would be best to be killed by a train. That would be the end and people would say that Charles died because he was hit by a train, not Aids. It would be an easier way to die.

Its easy to ‘categorize’, ‘generalize’ and ‘comparmentalize’ our perceptions of people. Especially when we don’t understand them.

Someone once explained the ability to have compassion as “being able to put yourselves into the shoes of the sufferer, and feeling the pain he feels”.

I think this is so important as we relate to those around us, especially if they are less fortunate than us.

My parents were never divorced, but I have a number of friends who do. I have a particularly close friend, who now has 3 women claiming the title ‘mama’ in his life. He was willing to open and let me into his family history and share with me how it feels and struggles. I think the conversation we had was one of the more meaningful and substantial conversations we ever had. Thanks, friend.

I don’t have any friends who have HIV, and I’ve always wondered, what would I ask him about his sickness? Not that I can’t have a normal conversation with him, but I really want to get an insight into his life? to understand his struggles, if any. To discover what gives him joy, if any. To share his outlook on life. To prepare myself that I may intercede at the throne of grace more intelligently. I want to listen, learn and feel.

So when I came across this photo journal, and the title for this entry was ‘Easier’, I tried putting myself into his shoes, they fit easily, but I could not keep them in. I had to remove them. The sting was too sharp. I was at a loss of words. Helpless.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34)

Lord Jesus, give me the grace to love You do. Help me to be filled with compassion, as You were.

Photo journal: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/05/africa_my_life_with_hiv/html/4.stm

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