God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

11.11.2009 Suicide goalkeeper…

He was famous, still young, happily married – a star for many soccer fans and expected in South Africa for the Soccer World cup 2010 – and he ended with suicide. TV pictures showing fans laying flowers and burning candles in front of the stadium of Hannover 96, the cancellation of a National soccer match, tears and bewilderment. A rising star of the soccer heaven ending smashed by a train.

It ones again shows to me, how little we often know about people, how little we really care about what people going through. We take the life clippings we like to see and on the other side we produce for the world and the people around us the life clippings we want them to see. And sometimes, there is always a variety on such clippings, depending whom we meet. And very often, we ourselves believe that these cuttings are the real person, the real life.

He was scared of losing his child when he would come out in the open with the depression he suffered. And once again: how often do we think I cannot come out with this or that because.. because I am scared that nobody will understand, that people draw the wrong conclusions, that the reactions will hinder the blossom of life.

I also know this feeling to hold back, to give only life clippings, to hide some parts of the person I am – as we all know I guess… and sometimes one only wants to scream and shout and say: Here look at the real me – look at me  in a holistic way, look into the eye of a real life, which always has so many facets from dark till light colour. But we don’t do and we are becoming artists and experts in hiding.

Exactly at this point I think that our Christian faith can give us the possibility, at least in front of ourselves to be honest in presenting ourselves – this unconditional love of God we are talking about in almost every church service could liberate us from all hiding. And if we only start to be honest to ourselves and our significant other – but there already it starts.
I do remember a chat with a friend of mine where we reflected on how we are able to communicate our lives to others – and we asked ourselves who, except us, do know all major facets of our lives. We share with different people different parts of our life – but who, except God, does know it all or at least most of it?

We both opened up at that time and I must say that was the beginning of a liberation I did not experienced until then – the beginning of a deep friendship without hiding, a feeling of being accepted as one is – no need for selection. I am very grateful to this friend until this very day, he is a blessing in my life and for my life and I am grateful for every time, we meet and can share. In certain moments, he was a life line in the last year.

Our life is to precious as that we waste it or waste our energy in covering up and hiding. Surely, there are matters, we don’t want to read in the headlines of the newspapers; but I wish for everybody a circle of friends and trusted persons who represent the unconditional love of God in their respective life. And the courage, to expand this own limitation of truthfulness and open acknowledgement of own realities as much as possible. It would indeed in my opinion make the world a better place for all.

Also in the fields of HIV and AIDS, this unconditional love, this truthfulness to one’s own diversity and all shadows of grey in between is a major topic when it comes to combat stigma and discrimination.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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