Inspirational, Tale Africa

Never the same again

By Adebayo Okeowo:

I have lost my joy, lost my smile, my friends, everything! The only thing I probably may not have lost is my mind, and even as I say that, I wonder if I am sure. I guess it is ok not to be ok sometimes, isn't it? But this state of not being ok is not the kind I could have ever wished for. It feels like I am the first to walk this path. Definitely Christ never did! Yes he is touched by our afflictions and suffered grief and pain but never tested HIV positive, or did I miss something in my Bible? I am HIV positive and to make it worse, all those who get to hear about my situation have put me on the stand, acted as judge and jury and declared me guilty of promiscuity. My sky's turned grey.

It's amazing how a single piece of information can change our lives forever.

It shouldn't feel like the end of the world, especially with all the treatment I can get in order to live a healthy life.  But what happens to my broken heart and wounded spirit? No anti-retroviral drug can mend that! Or has Dr. Ben Carson made a new discovery?

I am convinced that you don't feel my pain. You probably are wondering why I am writing another book of lamentations. Well… you wouldn't understand because you've never worn these shoes before. Timi was one of my closest friends. In fact let me be honest, he was my boyfriend and he loved me until he heard that I had tested HIV positive.

“I am still a virgin. I have been faithful to you…” I remember telling him amidst sobs. But he couldn't process how I could be HIV + without having eaten the “forbidden fruit”. Even I was still trying to figure out how on God's green earth I became HIV+ without having slept with anyone. It could have been through a careless sharing of some sharp object which I really cannot recall even now. But none of that matters at the moment. Timi broke up with me. He doubted me. Did I expect him to stay? If it were you, would you have stayed? If love could take a walk at such a critical time and trust went on vacation, what else would stay?

But he did come back, after something happened to him:

Three months after the incident, Timi and some nine others went to a small town on missions outreach. Leading them was the very vibrant Pastor James, the youth Pastor back in church. They had been having an awesome time sharing God's word with the locals and amazing results such as healing and salvation had backed up their mission. The team of ten was excited to say the least.

A day preceding their departure, the team paid a visit to the medical centre in order to encourage the sick and pray for them too. When they were through, Esther, a nurse at the facility, asked Pastor James and his team to stay back and make use of the free HIV testing being done. The team eventually reluctantly agreed. Besides, there was nothing to fear. None of them could be HIV+, so they thought.

They were all tested. Shortly after, the results were ready and a paramedic took turns calling them into a room one after the other to have their results given to them. Each person had inevitably gone in with sweaty palms but re-emerged beaming with smiles and confidence – they tested negative. It would have been disastrous if anyone of the lot was to come out claiming to be positive. It would practically dent their hitherto impeccable testimony. The good thing was that it was looking all sunny and promising for them all.

The final time the paramedic showed up, she called a name, it happened to be Pastor James.  She directed him to the same room others had emerged from. Then she looks at her pad, looks up and calls the name: “Mr. Timi Adetunji… please go into that room,” she said pointing to another room.

It definitely felt weird to have been sent to a different room. In that moment, Timi's pores broke out with sweat as he fought to stay calm.

After some pleasantries, the female Doctor attending to him said: “Sir, in the event that this result shows you are positive, I want you to have no fears. Being positive is not a death sentence. Life is still beautiful…” She went on to say some more but by then Timi was already numb. The doctor's statement almost sent him into a coma. It now dawned on him why they had sent him into this room after all. Timi tried recalling how he could have contacted HIV but couldn't come up with any, unless it happened at his barber's where he always shared clippers.

Finally he was juggled back to reality with the Doctor repeating his name loudly, maybe for the 10th time. “Mr. Timi, you are HIV negative!” she said with a pretty smile. Hearing that news from the doctor was like being raised back to life.

It's amazing how a single piece of information can change our lives forever.

Upon returning to the city, Timi came to my house straight away and told me how sorry he was for having walked out. He apparently had gotten a shock therapy from his near HIV+ experience and now had an idea of how it must feel to be rejected.

Trust returned but love never walked back in. Timi, though it was unspoken, was obviously too scared to get married to an HIV+ woman. If it were you, would you? Will you believe what science says about having sex and birthing kids without ending up positive?

God says Redemption is never late. So I pray: Lord, will You please make my grey sky blue again. Nevertheless, it's amazing how a single piece of information can change our lives forever.

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  • Well writen

  • Amanda

    so true,one piece of information can change your life
    good stuff 😉

  • Tomi

    Wow….so profound a message, its not happy ever after though but its still light at the end of a tunnel. It reminds me of the master chess player God is and that he can’t be compared to our earthly father, mother, sister or even husband who can give up on us. Now let me tell my own story..Part two of this article will surely see God changing this persons circumstance..ALL things will work out for good to those who believe…I’m guessing this person believes…

  • molly

    Great piece.I pray all who read this would see the reality behind the word.

  • Perez

    hmmm! so profound! its only God that can turn gray skies to blue again!
    Lord be merciful unto us and bless us…

  • davisKING

    Wow! Dramatic and enlightening! Good job Bayo…..

  • Abimbola

    Wow! Good story, food for thought…