At four years old I had all the world I wanted: Davy Crockett gloves with fringe, a tricycle, parents I still thought were cool and grandparents who fussed over their oldest grand boy. The world was a giant mystery that I was busy discovering. Each morning I woke up liking life.
With no kindergarten where I grew up, the day I was thrust into first grade was scary. I didn’t want to be there. Quiet and withdrawn, in time I found a good friend that got me through. The buddy was school that came easy. I liked succeeding at something and being appreciated for it.
Before I knew it the age of ten rolled around. This was the year life began to bring real disappointment and even fear as a “nasty stepfather” came into my life. I learned to dislike and even hate through how he treated my brother and I. The lesson was some people truly are evil.
It was a Sunday afternoon and I was thirteen when something never felt before came over me. A magnetic attraction toward a girl was sparkling new and near startling, but felt deliciously daring. I didn’t understand what was going on but I liked what I was feeling during that sweet and innocent afternoon.
In what felt like only a month, two more years passed and almost abruptly I was sixteen years old, had a car (a blue VW) and was ‘in love’ for the first time. I witnessed an amazing sense of being vibrantly alive before the coin flipped to introduce me to romantic heartbreak for the first time six months later.
The world began to go crazy. I was kicked out of home for reasons I don’t understand even today. I was a good kid, a Boy Scout and an honor student but the “evil pretend father” feared me after I stood up to him the first time. He took my car and pushed me out of the house. Walking down the street with a suitcase and enough money for a motel and food for two days was one of the most fearful moments I’ve ever experienced.
The words I spoke in the phone booth were “I have no place to go. Can I come live with you?”. On the other end of the line was my birth father who was near a complete stranger. I had seen him only twice since I was seven years old. From two hundred miles away came the word “yes” and one of the best years of my growing up began; my senior year of high school.
Looking back at the plethora of emotions touching me for the first time, my memory is clear of how bewildering life was during those formative years. At the same time I felt vibrantly alive during the ups and downs. Living was filled with near constant firsts and fresh experiences and quite possibly the deepest range of joy and unhappiness ever experienced. Each and every one was a tile in the mosaic of the person I am today.
In recent years the view has arrived of seeing life as a multi-colored continuum instead of separate individual experiences. Each and every event and occurrence are connected. Like a “draw by numbers” portrait those first eighteen years shaped the outline of who I became and am today. I am grateful to be able to look back now and realize how important ALL those experiences were.
I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.