Many years ago I used to go to San Francisco to visit a friend of mine once a month. The friend, David, had AIDS. He was angry at the world, at God, at his
family, and at his friends -- all of whom seemed to have departed for
friendlier waters after trying their best to be there for him.
Maybe because I could only be there a day or two each month, I was able to
withstand the onslaught better. Anyway, one Saturday I drove the three and a half
hour drive to his house and he was not there. I was a bit frantic
because David rarely left his house. I went to find a telephone so that I could
call people I knew there that might know where he was. After calling
everyone I could think of, I went back to his house and found him at
home. He was in a remarkable mood -- he was smiling. I sat down. I finally asked him how he was doing and he said, "Terrific."
"Wow," I said. "What happened?"
David told me that about three weeks earlier a friend of his from his work
came by and literally picked him up and put him into his car and took
him down to Golden Gate Park. His friend then got out of the car and
walked about 30 yards towards some people who where just standing
around. About 30 seconds later they fanned out and started doing some
sort of a dance. David had never seen anything like it. Intrigued, he
got out of the car and walked over to where they where. Unable to help
himself, he joined in as best he could. Only later did he learn that he
had just attended his first Tai Chi class.
Since that eventful day, David had gone to that same place in that same
park and practiced the Tai Chi routine. That is where he had been when
I first arrived at his house that day.
David said that for the first time since he had found out he had AIDS, he had been able to concentrate and focus on something besides his illness. It had freed him to live, instead of waiting to die. David is in a better place now. He suffered greatly from his illness but his last year on this earth was made better
by an ancient art that millions of people practice every day.
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