Eric was H.I.V. positive, and my first thought when told about that was what the church's reaction would be to that fact. I was Deacon Chairman at the time, and feared what the reactions of some might be.
God took all of maybe 15 seconds to convict me mightily about that. And that led, three days later, to my first what-I'd-call face-to-face encounter with Jesus.
And with my own guilt for what was done to Him.
My response to all that was to write an acrostic poem for Eric. It follows, and please note that the first letter of each line spells out his name.
SAN ANTONIO'S ROSE
Even through Seasoning bittersweet
Rejoicing comes in fullness true
I see my sin, despise my faults
Christ shapes my heart anew.
San Antonio's rose, for but a season
Overwhelms my soul; God knows.
Love lifts the veil, reveals the reason
A view of God's own Broken Rose
Rejoice, rejoice, oh my soul
Eric died perhaps a year later. I still have his tapes, and still owe him for being a catalyst in one of the bigger life-changing experiences I've known.
Rest well, Eric.