This article is shared by Alexandra Reynolds
Nelson had AIDS. He had been in the hospital for months, fighting pneumonia. He was angry and every day he woke up, he grew angrier. He would bitterly say that he just couldn’t take one more day of pain, one more day of waking up in the hospital room that no matter how many flowers surrounded him, was still depressing. He was ready, as he would often say to me. It is so painful to see someone you love in so much pain and agony.
Nelson volunteered to be a human guinea pig by allowing experimental AIDS drugs to be administered to him, in hopes of contributing to a cure. While these drugs were being injected into his body, I wandered the floors of the hospital, particularly drawn to the children’s ward. As I walked past each room, I could feel the energy of the child within. This is how I met Sarah, a six-year old little girl dying of Leukemia. One day, I looked into one of the rooms and saw a little girl smiling at me, beckoning me into her room. She said simply her Angel had requested it. We became instant friends. I met her parents and several family members over different occasions.
Nelson was allowed to make the decision to go home and live out the remainder of his life surrounded by his family. So I had come by to say good-bye to Sarah, but as I stood in the doorway, I overheard Sarah telling her mommy, who was at her side sobbing, “Please don’t worry mommy, it’s time to go with the Angel.” I cried so hard and so much that my eyes stopped producing tears.
Heavy-hearted I returned to Nelson’s room, just in time to see him degrade his nurse and behave rudely to a friend who had stopped by to visit. Nelson had chosen to take out his increasing anger on anyone who crossed his path; the more he loved you, the more pain he would give you; Only with me, he didn’t get away with it. He couldn’t rely on the pity he was given by the others. I was angry with him and I refused to take his abusive behavior or to silently witness his contempt for family and friends who came to visit.
I asked him to choose to not give into his anger and be hateful to those who only wanted to care for and love him. It was time for him to choose to surrender and accept his misfortune; I told him about Sarah. I asked him to choose to acknowledge the blessing of time; the time he still had to act on the belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you. I begged him to choose to love himself enough to choose to die in peace? It was enough to bring him out of his negative behavior. It was enough to embark him on a journey that led to peace.
I think of the million of events that are taking place in people’s lives. In a passing second, Sarah’s parents said goodbye to their little girl. I pray that I never know the pain and emptiness a parent feels when surrendering a child back to God, regardless of age. In a passing second, Nelson said goodbye to his loved ones. I pray that I never experience the pain and suffering of AIDS.
A story of human suffering always stirs my compassion and makes me reflect on my blessings. It’s easy to acknowledge that my glass is half full. But, it’s hard to maintain the belief that our glass of life is half full, when we are experiencing great trauma in our lives.
Perhaps, these are times in our lives when our glass is not half full, in fact, it seems empty. Maybe our “glass half empty”, is serving to remind another, that their glass is half full.