Three days ago one of our men died.
He lives only 10 min walk from my house. He lives 100 years away from my house. I never went to his room. Now he is 'no more'.
Eknath (a pseudonym) drowned in alcohol. His sister tried to pull him out. She attended a local church. Some times. Eknath's small son tried his part. Eknath's wife had left long ago - unable to handle the drunkeness and destruction any more. His father was disgusted with his son - but even in the last days - the family supplied the booze. It was easier dealing with Eknath that way.
Eknath came to our centre for admission last year. He was almost dead - we prayed and took the risk of admitting him. Amazingly he responded to TB treatment. He regained his health and weight. When Eknath came to visit a few weeks later we could barely recognise him as the same person who had been admitted in a semi-conscious state earlier.
Sadly the bottle did not respond to medications. Eknath worked for a company that set up decorations for weddings, parties, religious festivals, political meetings. Late nights, long hours, liquor. We saw less and less of him - and when the JSK men met him it was more often than not that Eknath was enebriated.
In the last weeks we made it a point to visit him frequently - with daily visits for palliative care in the last days. He hardly spoke, and alternated between deep anger and frustration - and a kind of helpless acceptance of his fate. The family refused to take him to any other hospital - they had come to their end. And Eknath came to his.
On one of the last visits, Rahul shared again about Jesus with Eknath. We had shared the love of God with Eknath before, but he had not been very interested. On this day Eknath could hardly move. His mouth was full of sores from his oral candidiasis. He had not been eating and so was emaciated. Rahul asked if he wanted to pray - and Eknath moved his head slightly and closed his eyes. He did not have the strength to speak. What went on in his mind only the Lord knows.
We have no easy answers to much of the brokeness around us. But we do know that a murderer looked across to another cross and asked the Lord of Glory - who was dying - naked and stripped of flesh - "Remember me, when you come into your Kingdom." Our Lord Jesus - in the agony of his own death - looked across to the dying bandit and with love told him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise"
Farewell our dear Eknath.
Our prayer is that Jesus was able to say to you. "I love you and accept your repentence - join me in my joy!"
A man dying of AIDS. Or rising?
The Winner is part of a tryptich painted by Stefan Eicher
- the artist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- other work by Stefan and artists who love Jesus can be seen at: http://www.limnersociety.com/