This week has been both productive and difficult at times, but for the most part it has been a very rewarding and blessed week for me.
My week started with a trip to see my doctor to get lab results for my HIV as I stated in my blog, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about the outcome of the labs. The first reason was because I knew I was still fine and the second reason is because even if I was told I needed to start HIV meds, I know I now have a great doctor and awesome support staff there at the clinic that will get me through it. I know that with my faith and will combined with them, things will be just fine.
The only thing that was on my radar is the fact that there is a history of heart disease as well as other things in my families history and I need to make sure I am doing all I can to make certain I don’t go down the same road. While it was good to talk with my doctor about this and she was able to offer some expert advice and direction, the ultimate outcome is all in my hands. I have to eat right, make sure I am getting plenty of rest and I need to exercise. Bottom line is this, my doctor can give me all the information, advice and support there is, but if I dont start changing how I view food as well as spend more time exercising then the road that I want to avoid I will surely go down and I will have no one to blame for this but myself.
I also had the cool chance to spend some time with one of the guys from my Skid Row outreach and get to know him better as well as give him some information on how to go about correcting and dealing with some of the things he now has in front of him as it pertains to ADAP and Medi-Cal. Thanks to the support of my Keep-n-Touch program I was able to purchase a phone for him that will allow him to stay better connected to the things he needs to stay on top of. Not having a way to contact people, be in control of things you need to take care of and always having to depend on others to get messages or make phone calls can be very discouraging and even depressing for someone who is doing all they can to make things better for themselves. My Keep-n-Touch program allows me to supply a free prepaid cell phone to those in need. It may not seem like much to many people, but I know from experience that having a cell phone is a real connection and allows you to stay in control of some things in your life, while others are in charge of so much more.
One major set back this week came in the form of my video camera breaking on me. I’ve had some problems with the camera for a while now. Slowly but surely the camera has been in what I have called “shut down” mode and Wednesday afternoon the camera finally shut all the way down. JVC has been no help with this other then offering tech support that I must pay by the hour for or by shipping the camera to them and allowing them to repair it for far more then the camera is even worth. However they did say that if I ship them the camera and they find that the problem is something that is defective, they would cover most of it, but since the camera is past the one year warranty I would have to pay for some of the cost to fix it. So how this does not seem right, the camera could be defective, but I would still have to pay.
Whatever happened to the day when the customer was KING? Where companies made quality products that lasted forever? What happened to the days when you could by something and it would be around for many, many years? I recall things in my grand parents and even my great grand parents home that had been in their lives forever. How is that companies are allowed to make lousy products, that cost so much, but you get far less then what you paid for them?
BE OF YOUR WORD
Another thing I have noticed is that I am pulling away from certain people from YOUTUBE because they have volunteered or offered things and time and time again they never come through. Furthermore they act as if they have never volunteered or offered. For me this speaks to their character and the person they truly are. I am not saying they are bad people, just that they are people whose word no longer means a thing to me. Once I get to the place where your word no longer means anything, it isn’t long before I start to pull away. As I type this I am thinking about a call I received this week from someone who I had to step away from last year, she wanted to call to offer her apology and wanted to see if things could be different. She also tried to engage me in conversation, but I was not about to go back down a dead end road. I thanked her for calling and told her it was water under the bridge and not to worry about it. I then told her I hoped she was well and said goodbye. It is impossible for me to maintain any sort of relationship with someone who does not keep their word.
Wednesday shortly after coming home I had a knock on my door, when I opened it the UPS guy was there with a box. The box came from someone on YOUTUBE, who wanted to help me with hygiene supplies for my outreach. Inside the box were items such as toothpaste, deodorant and razors along with a very nice card. Let me tell you a little bit about this person, first she is a teenager and all we ever seem to hear, see or read in the news about teenagers is all bad. But here is one who reached out to me a while back after viewing one of my cooking videos where my family and I were doing an outreach to Chess Park at Santa Monica Beach. She wanted to help me with my outreach, she wanted to help me help those who are in need. A teenager stepping to the front of line and saying “I want to help” and not just that, but making sure she was allowed to help by staying on top of me and reaching out several times to remind me that she was willing to help.
This young lady saved her allowance and purchased items that will be used to help people who are homeless or battling HIV and AIDS. This young woman suited up and showed up, without excuse for people who are in need. She didn’t place empty comments on my blog or vlog, but she gave me her word and she followed through and this speaks volumes to the mother she has and the values instilled in her. It speaks volumes of the type of teenager she is and the amazing woman she will become.
So last month I was able to go with Donald as he made his purchase of his laptop. He saved his money and asked me to o with him to make assist him in selecting a new laptop. Since then I’ve had the huge honor of helping him learn his computer and once again today I have the huge honor of helping him once again.
Donald is someone I met through my HIV outreach on Skid Row and right away there was just something about him that stood out. He has become someone I consider as a friend, someone I care a great deal for, but more then this he has become someone I truly admire, respect and look up to. He is a massive inspiration to me and is someone who is beating the odds against HIV. He is someone you will never read about on some CDC report and is someone you may never see in some magazine, but for me he is the cream of the crop. He is kind, caring and damn funny. I look forward to visiting with him because it is always so much fun, but most of all I look forward to the pearls of wisdom he drops in my life each and every time I see or speak with him. Wisdom that you can’t get from a book, on a job or from any school, but the kind of wisdom that you must stop dead in your tracks to soak in, wisdom that can’t come from rushing things or by pretending, but the kind of wisdom that you must sit and allow to settle into your soul. Wisdom that comes from someone who has lived a rich life filled with great joy and even some sorrow that the soul is so ready to give to all who welcome it.
As a kid growing up I had the huge privilege of having what I called “elders” in my life. I use to want to go visit them and just sit and listen to their amazing stories from their rich lives and each time I would walk away with wisdom and a great feeling of encouragement. I had great respect and a greater reverence for the “elders” in my life and in many ways Donald has become an “elder” in my life. I can count on one had, three fingers in fact, the “elders” I now have in my life and they are my great Aunt Loraine, my Aunt Emma and Donald. I am so richly blessed and honored to have them in my life.
I will spend my Thursday afternoon doing what some call “peer support” with my friend Donald, but in reality I will spend my Thursday afternoon in the company of my “elder” soaking in all the wisdom he allows to flow from his soul.