Helping hurts

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Tue, 16 Sep 2014 | 2 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

I am sorry… You are my father and I stole from you… My brother made me do it…

I looked up to see tears drip silently down his face. I put a hand on his leg to comfort him and noted that although he is 16 years old his thigh was smaller than Gideon’s.

“It’s ok”, I said, “it’s ok.”

It didn’t all feel very ok, and I wished that my Luganda was up to deeper discussion and reassurance.

This young man was born with HIV. After his mother died when he was young and he didn’t fit in the family, he ended up sleeping on the streets. We semi-adopted him for a while following a period on the ward a few years ago. Playing with Gideon was great fun and therapy for them both. He began to be able to speak audibly, communicate and even smile and laugh.

Then disaster struck and he started stealing from us. His elder half brother whose approval he craved persuaded him that it would be a good idea. It resulted in him being unable to visit our home.

Three days ago after nearly a month in hospital I thought that he was going to die soon. The complications of this disease when you don’t take your treatment properly are catching up with him. Miraculously he has made great improvements over the last few days. It is 500 yards from the ward to our home – and three days ago he could only move when pushed in a wheelchair. At 7am today he chose to walk to see me at home. He wanted to fix a broken relationship. His parents never taught him how to do so, and along with many other disabilities caused by raising himself it has led to many problems over his life.

Denise came back from her run. The day had to get under way. He left. From inside the house I watched him walk slowly up the back garden to the hospital. Every step was tiny and obviously involving great effort. He walked like an elderly man using an invisible zimmer frame – but even slower and with greater effort. He kept a hand secured to his waistband so that his now oversized trousers would not fall down.

All day the encounter has haunted me.

Is it because I am left with guilt that I should have done more to repair the relationship sooner?

Is it because children shouldn’t have HIV and be lonely orphans?

Is it because his effort to come and repent and seek forgiveness stands in stark contrast to my glib approach at cheaply expecting forgiveness from God like a confectionary dispenser?

Is it because he knows that he is going to die soon and in him wanting to make his peace with me I am overwhelmed by his maturity despite his great immaturity?

Life is full of pain sometimes, and sometimes we can even make it worse. Still, with God’s help we can just do our best and hope that he will fill the gaps when our best isn’t remotely adequate.


Paul Sayers said Sun, 14 Sep 2014 04:58PM
Lovely story Rory. compassion and love from you.
Geesje said Fri, 19 Sep 2014 07:11AM
swallowing hard...All you do in Jesus'name is not in vain. No matter if it feels cheap at times. Greet the family and we think of you!

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