Monday, December 01, 2008

World Aids Day 20th Anniversary 1988-2008.

Stop AIDS. Keep the promise.

Today on this twentieth anniversary of World AIDS Day (1988-2008), we acknowledge those who have died from HIV/AIDS and we recommit ourselves to the eradication of this disease on behalf of the millions who are living with HIV/AIDS and for future generations.

During the early 80’s I had been able to side step AIDS.  I was living in DetroitMichigan at the time. Occasionally we would hear about this strange illness that seemed to be affecting gay men in LA, New York and San Francisco but there was no much real information. And we were too caught up in having a good time to pay much attention/

In 1984 I moved to VenturaCalifornia and there was not much happening with AIDS there either. Oh, we would visit LA read the gay papers and slowly became aware that this disease was killing many men, but Ventura was an idyllic, sleepy seaside town that seemed off the path of this plague we were hearing about in the news. The sense of denial gave way as the pandemic exploded and men that I knew or rather knew of were starting to get sick and die.

Prior to moving from Detroit to Southern California, I had been very involved with Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit where I was part of a group of 12 guys who went to The Woodward Bar every Sunday night after the evening service. We would hang out and talk, eat a burger, drink a beer, play pool and play video games. It was a wonderful, easy end to the weekend and we were very much like brothers for each other. We loved, accepted and encouraged one another without hesitation or reservation.

When I moved back to Detroit and reconnected with MCC Detroit around 1990, I discovered that of that group of amazing men, only five were still living at the time and at least one of them was living with HIV/AIDS. I will never forget that day – I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, repeatedly. I struggled with learning of and grieving multiple losses all at once and I wondered why I had been spared.

During the course of the 90’s, I said good bye to many more men and one woman as each in turn succumbed to AIDS. At one point I realized that I was barely able to cry or feel anymore. I had become numb and detached. It was the only way to survive.

In 1993 we in the g/l/b/t/a communities marched on Washington D.C. for the third time to demand g/l/b/t equality and more action on AIDS. The entire AIDS Memorial quilt was on display on the mall and they were reading the names of all those who had died who had panels in the quilt. What a haunting sound. I walked the panels with my brother, who had just found out he was HIV+. I walked the panels, listening to the names being read and was crying for him and because I had discovered in those quilt panels the names of several former friends or partners.

Everything seemed to change in the latter part of the 90’s as the new drugs were being tried and seemed to be working. For the most part, people stopped dying of AIDS at least in the western world. But living with HIV/AIDS is not like ever getting over it, you are not an AIDS survivor, you live with the disease.

One of my brothers and several friends are currently living with HIV/AIDS. They endure endless drug regimens, doctor’s visits, blood tests, stress you and I cannot imagine, almost constant diarrhea and the long term side effects of the drug therapy which take their own toll on a person’s quality of life.

Many times over the past few years I have read about “bug chasers” and “bare backing.” It seems that some people are returning to risky sex practices because they think it’s not such a big deal to be HIV+.  You just go to the doctor and take some pills and carry on with your life. While the drug therapies are miracles and preserve life, it is not easy to live with AIDS and no one really knows what the long term affects are of these powerful drugs.   I hope and pray that anyone who thinks that HIV is not a big deal will think again. I also hope and pray that we continue to research a way to end this living hell for good.

On this twentieth anniversary of World Aids Day I remember these dear friends. You are not forgotten. I am a better man for having known and loved each of you. You made a difference for me and for many people. Thanks for sharing part of the journey we call life. You are missed!

In loving memory of: 

Mr. Douglas J. Arsenault
Mr. Keith Apple
Dr. Eric Loranger
Mr. Richard L. O’Dell
Mr. Jon Rowe
Mr. Patrick Lee
Mr. Woody Lee
Mr. Joe K. Grantham
Ms. Tracey Mae Artinian LaCroix
Mr. Larry Gaynier
Mr. James Proffit
Mr. James Holman
Rev. Roger Webb
Mr. William R. Fischer
Rev. James Sandmire
Mr. Phillip Gallnitz
Mr. Dennis Tracy
Mr. Peter Salm
Mr. Andrew Satterfield


Dear God,

Today we remember the many that have died from HIV/AIDS and the millions more who are living with HIV/AIDS.
May our eyes and ears be open to those who cannot act or speak out for themselves.
May we maintain our vigilance and continue pressing for medical research.
May our hearts and arms be wide open to each other.
Expand our capability to love and care for one another.
Grant us the grace and courage to live in Love.
Help us to stop AIDS and keep the promise.


Always in Love,


© 2008 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights reserved

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Historical Night: Barack Obama nominated for President

I just watched one of the most amazing political speeches I have ever heard.

What an awesome testimony to the real strength of America - tonight, a man of color was nominated as the Democratic Party candidate for President of The United States of America. I cried through the culmination of the most amazing political convention I have witnessed during my life time.

That a person of color is nominee from one of the two dominant parties is something I was not sure I would see in my life time. The fact that the close runner up to that man was a woman is equally awesome. And for the first time, I have heard the candidate for the highest office in our land talk about gay rights as civil rights during a major speech to the nation. We have all come a long way from the late '60's. Thank You God!

Copyright (c) 2008 by Richard L. Beattie. All rights are reserved.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

McCain not sure how many houses he owns -- Queer Lesbian Gay News --

McCain not sure how many houses he owns -- Queer Lesbian Gay News --

I'm not sure I even need to say anything about this story. In a time when many American's are struggling to hold on to the one house they own (with their mortgage company) John McCain is not sure how many houses he and his wife own.

Earlier in the same interview, he quipped that to be rich in America you had make at least 5 million a year.

Both of these ideas are a long way from where I live...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture dude dies at 47

YouTube's star lecturer dies at 47 -

If you haven't watched The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch I urge you to take the time to do so. In the process of dying Randy taught us all, and most importantly his children an amazing way to live in the now. Randy shares what the power of an intention or dream held in expectation can achieve in our lives. By sharing his own process of living though this experience, Randy inspires all of us to be alive while we are alive.

Randy made his transition today, Friday July 26, 2008. I am a better person for having been touched by his story. What childhood dreams are lying dormant in you? Watch this video and then allow Spirit to dance your dreams awake!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Co-Payments for Expensive Drugs Soar - New York Times

Co-Payments for Expensive Drugs Soar - New York Times

Until recently, I understood insurance to be a method of spreading risk of loss over many people in order to provide coverage most could afford. Now, with the new "Tier 4" formulary prescription pricing, drug coverage for some of the people who need it most has shattered that illusion of sharing the risk among many for the benefit of the few.

I wonder if we will ever understand that we are all connected. WE are emanations of the One life that lives us all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

International Childhood Cancer Awarness Day

Today is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. If you have ever been close to a child who is dealing with cancer then you already know the roller coaster of blessings and heartache that are involved for the entire family.

I am close with a family who have a 4 year old boy named CJ who has been dealing with
neuroblastoma for the last 14 months. Watching him lean into (for the most part) each phase of treatment has been a real inspiration for me. This family has grown closer as they have lovingly cared for CJ. There have been moments of amazing sweetness and rejoicing and there have also been heartaches and unbelievable anguish. CJ is still undergoing treatment and we are filled with hope for him.

I invite you to do whatever you can for children who are dealing with cancer: Visit, pray, encourage, provide respite assistance for parents, send money for research to some place like St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or Children's Hospital of Michigan. Above and beyond all else, will you keep your heart open to the people around you?

This too is part of My Heart's Journey!

In Love,


(c) 2008 by Richard L. Beattie

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Quiet Hush to Welcome the New Year

The last few months have been very busy for me. Early on December 30th, my Mom had a critical health scare and was hospitalized teh same day I was leading our church in a first ever Youth Ministry led service involving more than a hundred children. It felt like I was running hurdles, each event completed merely revealed the next hurdle to jump, so when we had finished the New Year's Eve Burning Bowl service at church I knew it was time "To Be Still and Know..."

I have always enjoyed a big snow storm. There is a magical quality for me in watching snow fall one fragile, unique flake at a time while everything seems to move slower and slower until there is so much snow the machine of civilization takes a break. Snowed in at home and all is calm.

Take a moment to allow yourself to be...