It was with sadness, but not surprise, that I watched Charlie Sheen announce to the world that he is HIV positive and has been for the last four years.
My first thought was of the women. How many women who had known the actor in the past were watching this with shock and horror? How many would reach for the phone to call a doctor? Or a lawyer?
My second thought was for his children – five in all, some of them very young, and only the oldest had been told in advance.
Then I thought about the weight that he’s been living under for nearly half-a-decade; a weight heavy enough to squeeze millions of dollars in hush money out of him as he sought to silence extortors. Money, he claimed, that wasn’t for him, but his children.
A heavy weight indeed, but nothing compared to the vacuum in his soul.
And therein lies the problem.
Charlie Sheen’s problem is not HIV.
It’s not his alcoholism or drug addiction, nor is it his pornography addiction.
Those are symptoms and HIV is the fruit of his hard-lived life.
As I watched Charlie Sheen sitting next to his doctor, trying desperately to hang on to the facade of “fine,” I was frustrated and angry. I wanted to reach through the television, grab him by the shoulders, and cry, “When will you realize it doesn’t work?”
The world doesn’t work.
The world can’t work, because the world cannot fix what is wrong with us.
What is your big “if only?” You know, that thing that lies just out of your grasp but close enough to see. That thing that you know will bring satisfaction and peace if you could just grab onto it. Maybe it’s a new job or a new house or a new number on the scale. Perhaps it’s a spouse or a baby or an accolade. Is it power? Fame? Money? Recognition?
It won’t work. None of it works, and here’s how I know: (more…)