My friend Jacqueline. Photo by Gunnar J. Simonsen

Standing here with my back against the wall.. I have no words. This entire space is their entire home. And yet in this brief moment which seemed to last a thousand years, it was like my entire life just passed before me. Certainly that might sound overly dramatic, but how could it not?

A single mom lives here with 3 of her 4 children. She is HIV positive. Her husband abandoned the family years back. It was just her.. and something so deep, I could find no words.

I could not fit the bed I sleep on inside this space. Just four walls, a door, and a mat.

When she asked me to pray for her, she humbly requested that I would pray that she would continue to grow in her faith, be a good mother to her children, and maybe some day, find a better home for her children.

As she tells me this, she has a glow about her that I can’t describe.

Recently, here in my hometown, there was the most amazing of sunrises. With this, my social media feeds exploded with pictures from friends posting their version of the sunrise from all over town. It was spectacular. It was an explosion of colors coming forth from the dark of night. Its as if it was a very reminder that indeed with each new day… hope has come.

And yet, there I was, standing there with my back against the wall of this home and reflecting on what had just happened.

As I think back on the countless sunrise photos that had taken over my social media feed, perhaps in this, I had found the words that as I stood there in that home, I could not find.

I think I know now what that glow was that I speak of.

It was a deep glow that could only be described as an explosion of colors of sort, the kind that abruptly comes forth from the dark of night. A deep glow that had reminded me right then and there, that if she can find hope, than I know that I can too.

Perhaps in this, we don’t actually find hope. It has already found us. We just need to open our eyes to it. Or actually.. open our heart to it.

And how could we not, when an explosion of colors comes forth from the dark of night, why would anyone ever seek to look away?

We take pictures and post it, but would we know it when it comes forth to call our name?

That day, it called mine. I’m glad I did not miss it.

I am hopeful.

***I wrote the following on the day of my visit with her (January 16th, 2016)

My friend Jacqueline. She has four beautiful children and lives in a home the size of most of our dining room tables. Her husband abandoned the family several years ago.

She is HIV positive.I was humbled to sit in her house this day with three of her children and speak with her through an interpreter. She is a beautiful soul that left me with no words but to be still and appreciate life in all of its bumps and bruises.

She had a sweet spirit that deeply moved me. If only I had half the courage, inner strength, and faith she has.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Gunnar Simonsen’s story.