I vowed four years ago to do things differently. To not waste the miraculous second chance I was granted I knew I must change. I did not like who I was; very often I hated him. I had to find a way of life that worked for me now, putting that past life behind me. All my life I drifted. If I was to live I must find solid ground.

My anchor became three simple words I was told to seek and to understand. If I gained safety, security and peace I would be happy. “Who would not”? I thought.

Safety has come. AIDS is under control. I am undetectable despite the fact that when I began in 2012 my viral load was more than 1 million. Apart from the disease I have conditions common to a middle-aged man. They are troublesome but cared for by my physicians and me. Other problems have become a part of me. They will be with me always and I adapted, building tools and tricks to make my experience as good as it could be. I am satisfied that I am safe.

I am secure, too. After years of unachored wandering I have found my forever home, just like my herd of rescue cats. My house is mine, a magnificent gift from a loving father. When he died he provided for me and I have banked a cushion to protect me from what may come. If I do my part -if I do- I will not die penniless.

Peace, O Peace!, most desired and hardest to create. Once found it will slip suddenly away if its occupant does not maintain it. To keep peace requires toil, diligence and vigilance becausee the enemies of peace are sleepless. Arrogance, ignorance and neglect open the door to damage and decay. Once done the damge accumulates and accelerates until the sufferer is able only to react, not live. The work to preserve peace is frustrating and heartbreaking but the reward from meeting this test is immeasurable. It is  heaven in life.

I wrote before that I found peace. I was wrong, or better put I found it and lost it quickly. The last six months were not peaceful. They reeked of death and hopelessness and betrayal. When my world seemed to settle it was ripped by unprecedented pain, worse even than the year I lost it all.

I realized the problem was largely mine. Now I have determined to look at life differently, to smile and not scowl, to understand that people naturally mean well and for others to believe this of me I must believe it of them. I now work to overlook flaws, even repeated annoyances that once drove me to rage. I am based on life. It is not based on me. Man’s greatest sin is hubris, for in his overwheening pride he arrogates to himself the mark of godhood. I have abandoned the search for this mark and so much the better.

This writing uses the word “I” too often. This is a fault of our language which reinforces man’s arrogance. I am a writer and I cannot avoid this word’s use. Instead I have given it a new meaning, for me. The “I” of which I write is a creation of God, my creator. Each time I use it I touch God and pass along my life as an example of the work I have undertaken. God casts judgment as he wills but if I feel no rebuke I am making progress. Today I am moving past death to the life I will create.

The pursuit of my mantra’s three points brings happiness. Today I am happy and moving along toward more of life. I have not tired of the struggle and victory is as simple as my next breath.