Mr. Carl decided to end it all early last week. He stepped out in front of an oncoming truck.
The vehicle hit him – giving Mr. Carl a head injury. He was taken to the Civil Hospital.
We have known Mr. Carl for years now. He and his wife have HIV. Their child was sickly for a long time – and we were sure he also had IV. When we finally persuaded Mr and Mrs. Carl to test the boy we were thrilled to find that he was HIV negative.
It was one of the few bright spots in the life of this family.
Mr. Carl has made many sad decisions in his life. Alcohol fuels many of them. His wife has gone back to her parents a number of times because of his cruelty and indifference to her. Mr. Carl spends most of his time running a gambling club – which apparently pays the police about Rs. 40,000/- each month in bribes to keep operating. His normal approach to our staff was one of avoidance or a surly silence.
The last few years have been punctuated with a series of illnesses. When he is sick with TB he took help from JSK to get medications from the government health centre. His overall compliance was poor – other than when Mr. Carl was incapable to looking after himself. The bottle followed the same pattern: He was sober when desperately sick – and drinking at most of the other times.
Behind this slow-motion tragedy are Mrs. Carl – with her love for her husband – and Mrs. Carl’s mother – whose devotion and care for her surly son continues.
But despite the love Mr. Carl received – and advice from every side – Mr. Carl has continued his sad choices. As for many men alcohol provided an escape – as did the club. Mr Carl spent most of his days in the gambling den – arriving home at odd hours to catch some sleep before going out again. For all the cash that passed through his hands – precious little was seen in the home.
An unlovely man – Mr. Carl is loved. But though the maker of the universe cares for him with an unthinkable love – and his own family has poured themselves into him – on the morning early last week he decided he could not handle any more of life.
He allowed himself to be hit by the truck. The step was taken – but the truck did not kill him. Mr. Carl is still alive.
To cap it all, Mr. Carl ran away from the Civil Hospital. He told the nurse that he was going to the toilet. Instead he walked out of the building – his IV lines still in – and took an auto-rickshaw home. Our staff had gone to the hospital to meet him only to be told that he had run away.
Later in the evening the JSK staff went to meet him – and take out the IV cannulae.
Mr. Umale went to meet him along with our staff. They knew each other tangentially before – but now the tables were very different. Mr. Umale told Mr. Carl that he also was HIV positive. He told him about the days when he was so sick that all he could do was vomit. He told him about how it was only him and his wife – that no other family members were there with them. Mr. Umale went on to say that he had put his faith fully and solely in Jesus – and that Jesus had helped him through the dark days – and that God is helping him even now.
Talking to me afterwards Mr. Umale said that a lot of work needs to take place in Mr. Carl’s life. He needs to be visited more.
We are thrilled to see people with HIV helping each other. One of the themes that is emerging for us is that we are all being changed – and healed – and helped … so that we can help others. Our blessings set us up to bless others. Our stories of redemption and change seed other stories in turn. God wants to use each one of us to see more blessings and changes take place in his people.
Could this be the time for Mr. Carl to be transformed – and to be a blessing to others too?