World AIDS Day

Today is December First, World AIDS Day.  First, thank you, Hal, for everything you have been and have yet to be in my life and in the world at large.  You are in every note I hear, and your goodness lives in my heart with every good deed I do that shows people – and with extreme clarity – that they are loved and valued, and especially whenever I get to share music with them.  I love you.

On that note, I thought I would share what I wrote a few years back for a World AIDS Day performance/show.  I collaborated with my neighbor and friend Jessie, and we did a reading with music, for which I read the following (and, naturally, cried, because I’m me*), and she played guitar in the background, and eventually led into singing “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack.

I spent some time that day talking with my friend Hal about the experience of living with AIDS, in preparation for the celebration/performance/show that evening, because I really didn’t know what to write.  (I had agreed to it only that week, and possibly even just the day beforehand, because another friend really wanted us to do something in it.)  This was the resulting ponderings after that discussion with Hal.

——–

The long and winding road of life is, indeed, long and winding.  Constantly, when I think about life, I remember the line from the fuzzy blue fellow, Stitch: “Is little, and broken, but still good.  Yeah… still good.”  The first time I heard the line, I couldn’t help but to hear it as talking about life.  Originally a simple statement about an odd little family, that line has been in existence for me every minute, every moment of my life.  The first part is a fill in the blank, but the second remains constant: “…, but still good.  Yeah… still good.”  Life is hard and life is fun; it is painful and it is calming; it constantly gives us trouble and it constantly provides us with joy.  Life sometimes just straight up sucks, but it is still good.  Yup… still good.  I cannot say that I know pain, but I can say that I know my pain.  I have not lived through everything, but I have lived through my things.  And in all my stuff – all my pains and my everything – , I’ve discovered that there is always going to be the bad stuff.  Though crazy , I enjoy the fact, because with every event, there is opportunity; with every hardship, there can be growth.  I still remember often seeing the line “Pain is weakness leaving the body” when I was younger.  It was an Army poster in my eldest brother’s room.  It never made me think of the Army.  Truly, with every pain in life, one can grow stronger – there is always something to get from every situation.  The part that people often miss is that they don’t look for it, and they are left in pain for who knows how long; they are left in sadness until they’re either shocked out of it, forget about it, or die.  Rather than be stuck on the bad things that happen in life, if we were to take them head-on, bash into them, and yank out whatever is there for us to have, to learn, we would no longer be subject to…anything, really.  Sometimes life just lifes you in the butt, but if you learn from the experience, if you let that weakness leave you, you can come out stronger than ever from it, happier than ever thought possible.

I cannot recall how many people in my life have AIDS or any other disease, virus, or whatever.  And it isn’t because I don’t know they have it.  I know it, but I don’t notice it.  These people, the ones with the life-threatening illnesses, are the people who see life differently, clearly.  These are the people who grab life by the horns and go for a ride.  These are the people who see life for the opportunity that it is.  These are the people who climb their mountains with a smile on their faces and in their hearts.  These are the people who can teach the world to live.

Sometimes life does life you in the butt – as often is the case in having AIDS or any other life-threatening illness.  When you see it happen, help.  Encourage.  Love.  Learn.  Remember that, though it sucks, there is still something to get out of it, even if it doesn’t happen to you.  Learn from others whom you see living life – don’t sit around and dwell in sadness; grab it up with both arms, give it a good hug and let it go; don’t fight with it – dance with it.  And when you see other people struggling, with whatever they may be struggling, remind them that they, too, have a choice:  they can be hurt and go nowhere.  They can sit it out or they can dance.  I implore you: dance with them.  Dance.

—–cue singing by Jessie —–

“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance

I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)

Written by Tia Sillers, Mark Sanders • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
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*Yes, that grammar drives me nuts.  I.  I am I. !!!!!  😀


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One thought on “World AIDS Day

  1. That’s an amazing post Hannah, and is god (well I meant good but I think the autocorrected God is appropriate there too!) timing for me today. Thank you for expressing yourself and welcoming me to read it. I love you!

    Liked by 1 person

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