Note: This is just an excerpt. There is a link at the bottom of this posting to the full story.
I believe that a simple smile or kind gesture is far reaching and healing.
In 2008 I founded an organization called the Brothers of Padre Pio in order to bring hope to people when we are faced with a sometimes harsh world. I work on the streets of Pasadena and Los Angeles sharing my story as an example of the power of unshakeable faith.
I am often asked, “Would you do anything different in your life if you had the chance?” I always answer with an unequivocal ,”no.” In return I ask, “If you could do anything different in your life, what would it be?” Most ponder the question and recite a litany of regrets and “if I only…”
In 2007 I was diagnosed with AIDS. I do not regret having AIDS, nor do I regret that I am gay and that my lifestyle was unacceptable to the church. For most of my life I felt like an outcast but never have I felt that I was not loved by God. At a young age, I questioned my sexuality and in turn my faith was questioned and I was considered “wrong” for allowing and accepting the truth of who I am. Although I strayed from the church my heart was always aligned with God and our Beloved Virgin Mary.
For 25 years I was in relationship with my best friend, Robert. We still live together but we are no longer intimate. It was the perceived rejection by others that often drove me to lose myself in alcohol and drug use. I will never forget the day it was confirmed that I had contracted the AIDS virus. It was surreal. I remember thinking that I wanted to die; but that was not meant to be. At least not yet.
Continue reading at: http://southpasadena.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blog-from-the-gutter-to-grace