Effective January 2014, the Blog-Zine is cosed to new posts and is going dark. The blog and its archives will stay "up," though, so please feel free to peruse the archives and discover all of the great books, authors, articles, and other features that have joined me here over the years. Thanks to all who helped make my Blog-Zine adventure a raging success! Read on!

13 November, 2008

How Do We Gain Faith Under Fire?

Just recently there was an outbreak at a local school here in the St. Louis County area. Check this out, folks, there was a situation where several middle school students discovered that they had been exposed to HIV. Apparently, a guy who was very likely not a student at the school admitted to having sex with a student, whom it was then discovered had been intimate with other students at the school. Either that, or the guy had been intimate with other students in the school. Probably a bit of a mixture of both, truth be told.

The thing that first gave me pause was the thought: "What the heck are middle school students doing screwing in the first place? And if they are screwing, why aren't they using condoms?" Then I thought: "An outbreak of HIV at a school? What the heck is the world coming to?"

But I already know the answer to that question. The world is obviously going to hell in a hand basket. LOL. I remember several years ago, when I worked as a nurse's aide. I worked with another woman who had a 13-year-old niece who was both pregnant and infected with HIV. There was this guy who was HIV positive and he was running rampant, having sex with girls and knowingly infecting them with HIV, just because he could. This young girl was one of many who were infected by him. I believe the guy was later found shot to death and speculation was that one of the girls' brothers/fathers,etc. had hunted him down and killed him.

Forgive me if I wasn't all that sad to hear about his passing...

Another scenario... I worked with another young lady, who had low self-esteem, because she was overweight, had been sexually assaulted and impregnated at a very young age, and who was sort of on her own in the world. So she met this guy who would visit her at her apartment and all he ever wanted to do was, like, sit on the porch and chit-chat. She says to me: "I don't know what his deal is. I've been practically throwing the panties at him and he never makes a move. I think he might be gay." Then she runs across another girl in her neighborhood and she shares this same information with her. The other girl proceeds to describe the guy, verifies that it's the same guy she's thinking of, and then she enlightens my co-worker: "Girl, he has AIDS." Ah! No wonder he wouldn't be intimate with her. He was being responsible!

Which brings me around to the reading selection that I just recently finished - "Faith Under Fire" by LaJoyce Brookshire. OMG! It's the story of a woman who has a fast-paced, love at first sight courtship with a man, who fails to enlighten her about the fact that he has AIDS. Said woman, knowing that she's been deceived and exposed to this terminal disease, chooses to stay with him and she nurses him through his situation. It was her faith in God that allowed her to persevere and do all that she did. Oh, and did I mention that this is the author's non-fiction memoir?

Me? It would've been my faith in God that allowed me to chill out for a while in the state women's correctional facility and survive through it. But that's me...

LaJoyce Brookshire is obviously not me and, not only does her book reflect that, but it also reads like an engrossing, "try to imagine this, if you will" drama, straight from the creative mind of a writer. If only it were a story - a fiction one, at least. Maybe I could sleep better at night. You too, maybe you could sleep, too.

But it's not and it adds to the ongoing dismay, destruction, and tragedy that the spread of HIV and AIDS causes everyday. I just wish guys who are on the down-low would use condoms, even if they are in denial about being gay; women would demand the use of condoms and testing to help prevent being infected (nothing is sure-fire and folks can lie with straight faces all day long, so all you can do is try); and people would, in general, give a damn about messing up somebody else's life. Destroy your own, if you must, but leave hers, hers, and hers alone, please.

Luckily, LaJoyce Brookshire prevailed and, with God's grace, overcame. But we know that scores of other people were not and will not be so lucky. I think, in some way, we've all been affected by the spread of HIV/AIDS. If not, we will be.

They say HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, but if it's not, what is it?

I hope I never have to say that I've been affected, but I don't think that's very realistic. Someday, someone... I'll get a call... Solemn faces... Possibly handcuffs and hauling my ass off to jail... Who knows? I do know that I'm grateful for not having had to travel that road thus far. Everyday, though, I'm aware that it's but for the grace of God.

Have you been affected? If so, how? And did you or do you think you'd have faith under fire?

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