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(Norman, OK, USA)
Years ago, I had a friend who was battling substance abuse problems and had lost his job because of it.
He was just an acquaintance at my job, but I reached out to him because he was in a seriously downward spiral and needed a friend.
I got to know him better and tried to contact agencies that could help him and he let me know that the local regional hospital system had informed him that he had tested positive for HIV.
I knew then that he was going to need even more serious intervention and treatment than I had imagined.
I was inspired by a sculpture in a catalog of St. Michael, who came to earth to battle all obstacles. At the time, the sculpture was out of my price range, but I had a photo of it.
The next several days I spent drawing the sculptor's vision of St. Michael, using skills I had let stagnate for many years. I framed the picture and gave it to my friend, who had certain religious leanings.
He found it meaningful and placed it on one of his walls.
Later, I contacted the catalog I had seen the picture in. They gave me the name of the artist and I was able to contact him. The St. Michael sculpture had been in a limited edition of 500.
He wasn't sure if he still had any of them, but he eventually did find one and sold it to me, closing out the edition. So I have the last of them, marked #500.
I lost contact with my friend eventually. He was only interested in changing his life while people were looking, and would start to use whenever he left treatment or got any cash.
I could not enable his lifestyle, so I retreated from the situation. I am not even sure that the story about HIV was the truth. But I have the sculpture to remind me that I at least made the attempt to help a fellow human being when no one else seemed to care.
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