Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent 1 Tuesday: World Aids Day

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.

~ Psalm 85:9-11

I grew up across the street from a body shop. It was owned by two guys, Jim and Terry. Jim was a family man, married to a local girl, father of two. Terry was single.

Terry was also my brother's best friend, despite the differences in their ages... 12 years. My brother and Terry shared a love for fishing, ice hockey, and jazz. Terry taught my brother a lot about car engines. Terry came over to our house for dinner, a lot, so much so that my parents took to calling him "number two son."

When my brother was away at college, something happened. Fairly typically, I was left out of the loop, but Terry and my parents spent long hours sitting together at the kitchen table, drinking glasses of beer, talking in low voices. The following weekend my brother came home. It was only after he went back to school that my mother let me know what was going on: Terry was gay. My parents had found out, and they thought Terry "owed it to my brother" to tell him. So, he had, and now, everything was more or less back to normal. New normal. Sort of like Beloved and me having Thanksgiving dinner with my dad.

When I was in college Terry settled down with a partner. Not long after that we learned that he was sick; he had full-blown AIDS. He lived three more years. His partner nursed him tenderly to the end. Then, after Terry died, his parents kicked the partner out of the house (it was in Terry's name and he didn't have a will). (My parents, not liberal by a long shot, were shocked by that.) Terry missed the AIDS "cocktails" by just a year or two. If the onset of his disease had just been a bit slower... but it was not.

Praying tonight, in Terry's memory, for a time when righteousness and peace will kiss; when steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; and when salvation will be at hand for all those who mourn.

1 comment:

Melody Hanson said...

Beautiful, if difficult to read story. Thank you for sharing it. To be remembered is important.