You never know who you are going to meet when you wake up in the morning, nor do you know who might be watching you. I had a very fun and exciting experience this morning after my meeting with the Chair of the Positive Champions Speakers Bureau. But before I get into my experience I will fill you in a little bit about what was discussed at my meeting which led me to today's story. Jeff and I had a meeting scheduled for 9:30 this morning to discuss our upcoming World's AIDS Day event and we each shared our vision of the performance that our group is wanting to perform to bring a greater awareness and understanding of the fears, stigmas, guilt and drama that is associated with having HIV/AIDS. This meeting was highly beneficial and our ideas were well meshed and in-sync with one another, and since I volunteered to outline the script and write it, we decided that I should run with the ball. So after this meeting I had a few errands to run before I headed home. Interestingly my car drove me right to the Ormond Beach Public Library so taking that as I sign I headed on in to the reference and information desk to find out where I could locate a book on plays and screenwriting. Since I have written things before, but never written a whole play on my own I thought it wouldn't hurt to have some references to look at while I am working on this project.
I wish I would have gotten the woman's name that helped me because my experience was of such delight and inspiration I am extremely thankful I ended up there. She took me right to the section that I needed and she asked me what I was writing about. An open door is all I need to go into who I am and the organization I represent, so I told her everything, then I also told her that I do work with cancer patients, survivors and their families. This is when she opened up to me and we talked about her mother and her mother's battle with breast cancer. We laughed and joked and it was an extremely meaningful interaction. Before I left she asked me for a card, which unfortunately I don't have at this time, but I will have some printed up soon. I am getting so many requests for one, I just need to have some in my wallet at all times. So what I did was follow her over to the information desk and I wrote out my information and while I was doing that she mentioned that she had a friend who was working so much, and didn't know anyone, and that he had no social life to speak of. Now, she told me he wasn't HIV Positive, which really wouldn't have mattered to me either way, but she also told me that he was dealing with the loss of his partner and needed to meet some friends. Well of course you know me I can't help myself when I learn of someone in need so I made sure I gave my email address, cell phone number, blog and told her to tell her friend to call me. I also told her about my friend who has been battling for his own life in a different manner, but how excited I was that he has agreed to come to Ormond to help me look for an apartment. I told her that I think it would be wonderful to meet her friend and guess what my friend and her friend have something extraordinary in common, both are song writers, musicians and performers.
What an amazing turn of events, how fortunate was I to run into her, that her and I would have a similar story. You never know who you might meet, where that chance meeting might take you. How by being open and receptive that encounter can impact other people's lives and change the direction and energy around them. My eyes were opened to this kind woman and her friend and it touched me and struck a cord in life on a very personal level. As much as I am dying to tell you all about my friend I made a promise that I intend to keep, so all I can tell you is that over the past year my life has been in turmoil. When we parted ways last August, I didn't know when or if I was ever going to see him again. I didn't know if we were still together or what the deal was. I had met someone in October but things didn't last, and when I got to Florida I thought that person might choose to come down here and be with me. However, with his situation as it was he couldn't or wouldn't whatever the case maybe. But, Facebook reconnected me with the one who left me last August in March after my big surgery and where I died on the table twice. So it was a big deal for me. I am rehashing all of this out so you can understand the immediate connection I felt with this lady and her friend. Once me and my partner reconnected via Facebook it would still be several months of talking and emailing and cellphone calls, etc. before we even broached the idea of our parting, and what it meant. I had no idea that he had a seizure and was in the hospital and that is what caused him to disappear, that he was scared and his family was across the country from where we were at, and he couldn't get a hold of me to let me know what was going on so he went home. Let me tell you that when he found out that I was sick and dying and scared he was there, he wanted to drop everything for me but due to his own physical limitations that was impossible right then. But we talked and decided that we had never broken up, that we still love each other and that despite the distance, and the illness we are going to make our relationship work.
As I am talking to this woman and hearing about her friend and his need to meet other people like himself that it struck me, with her friends recent loss and both me and my partner almost loosing one another because we both almost died that there was a definite connection there. Then after hearing how her friend was a songwriter, singer, musician and dancer and had just worked hard to open a dance studio, how there was another connection with my partner and me. I don't believe in random chance, I believe as you all know too well that people are put into our life for reasons we may never understand. But, we do realize that there is a need on everyone's part that can and will be fulfilled through that meeting. I learned years ago that you cannot go through life being shy and introverted. If you live in a shell you are going to miss out on the fun and excitement that this roller coaster called life has to offer. When I was young my parents moved me around a lot. Every two years I was starting a new school and having to make new friends. I really didn't like it and when they finally settled on the Orlando, FL area, I thought it was going to be just like every other time, so I stayed in my books and hid in my room. I didn't want to put myself out there in anyway, I did make 2 friends that were my neighbors, but that was it. On the first day of school I got on the bus, I was in the 8th grade and was assigned a seat next to this boy who would become a huge influence and impact on my life. His name was John Hope and from what I hear he is a stand up comic today. Which I can't say surprises me at all because he was such a great guy and a good friend. It was John Hope that got me out of my shell, taught me how to laugh, encouraged me to let my personality fly, to become outgoing and meet as many people as I could.
Here is a little insight about dear old Uncle B, I was a late bloomer, I had terrible hair, wore huge bulky glasses, but I was smart, funny, out going, and socially into everything and there was no one I didn't like or count as a friend. Oh I got my share of picking on, but something strange happened, even those detractors the ones who picked on me, I eventually won them over and made them my friends. I excelled in my studies, but also in my outgoing lifestyle. Which in tenth grade I would figure out that I was attracted to boy's and girls. Sorry Stacey I never told you. Maybe it was good that we broke up before prom our Junior year. Here, is the other thing, I didn't know which way my life was going to go. If you want to know more you can read my blog entry about the "Defining moment of my life" and you can find out a little bit more about my first male lover, David Hodge. Life would never be the same for me and I can tell you that by the time I graduated high school, I knew every single member of my graduation class, and I was friends with every single one of them. The popular guys, girls, cheerleaders, jocks, the nerds, preppy kids, you name it I knew them all. I was not in their groups per-se but I was a part of them. I was the social butterfly, a networker, which I have used successfully throughout the rest of my life. It worked when I was in the Navy, when I was in government work and even now in my advocate and activism work.
The moral of this long winded tale is this. I am looking forward to meeting Caleb, getting to know him and adding him to my ever growing list of long term, life long friends. Because folks I am a testament that the friendships you make can last a lifetime. Check out my Facebook and see how many people I have known for over 20 years. You never know who your life is going to intersect with, how your life and story might connect you with others in similar situations as you, who you can grow and learn from. We each need help sometimes to overcome the challenges life throws our way, and how our seeming chance encounters can change the course of not only your own life but all those that are around you and a part of you.
Remember everyone has a story, everyone likes to have someone else pay attention to them, likes to talk about their story and have a receptive person listen, empathize and even comprehend the depth of their pain and rejoice in their triumph. Never be too busy to give someone a few minutes of your time. Listen with open heart and an open mind, be receptive to their needs, understanding, sympathetic, and willing to talk about yourself. Show them how similar your situations are. You may be surprised that the life you save may be your own. That you may have had a need to share your story, to get it out there and by doing so helped you realize how to overcome whatever it is, or connect with someone that needs you as much as you need them. God is amazing and He works in mysterious ways. If you ever find yourself at a cross road and all the doors are closed, don't despair, take heart that maybe the reason why they are all close so that you could open one that leads you to the perfect road. Everyone of us needs others in our lives that can understand us, can sympathize with us, who can guide us or we can guide them through the rough patches. Everyone has a story, a need or a desire that can be fulfilled. Only if you take the time to listen and understand what they are saying. Remember that life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. You have to live, live, live. Take that chance to explore the tapestry and color of life. You will be glad you did.
As you can imagine, you never know who might be listening or watching you, but your life is a story, your history a tapestry, the world the texture and color that paints your portrait. Take the time to open yourself up, let the world see the light in you, hold out a helping hand and make new friends. Life is too short and too hard to do it all alone.
As always my hopes and dreams are with you,