Orphan Survival Stories Index |
FINDING THE ANSWER
Throughout the years I can not count the times that I have helped my friends. I guess that also includes anyone who was ever in need. No matter what I was doing, or how busy I was, I always stopped and offered to help. I have helped build houses, porches and garages. I have hung sheet-rock, painted houses and hung screen-doors. Even roofed a few houses, here and there. Never did I ask for a favor in return.
One time, when there was a neighborhood fire and I donated one half of all my pots and pans. Even gave half of my food to a family who had lost their home and all their belongings. Three or four times I may have even saved a few lives when I stopped at major automobile crashes along the highway.
Just last Thursday I underwent several surgical tests for my heart. As I was wheeled down the long hallway to the operating room I looked around and saw my wife and my son. As my wife bent over me to kiss me on the forehead I handed her a piece of paper which I had kept folded up in my fist.
"What's this?" She asked me.
"I know you said that you don't want to talk about such things. But if something were to happen to me I want my organs to be donated. I want Danny Jones to get my liver. His address and phone number are on the bottom of the page." I told her.
She just looked at me and then she smiled. Then she reached over and she kissed me. I have been kissed many times by those who love me. But this was the first time in my life that I have ever been given a "kiss of respect." What a wonderful feeling that was. For some strange reason I entered the operating room without any fears, whatsoever.
When I returned home late that evening I turned on the computer and I began to view some pictures of myself. Many were from my years in the orphanage. A few from when I was a teenager. Carefully I looked at my young face. Then I focused on the eyes of each and every picture.
"Look at this picture of me." I asked my wife. "I was not a bad kid." I continued.
She just smiled.
It is hard for me to believe, when I look at pictures of myself, that I made my way from the orphanage to a reform school. Then to jail and onto prison.
I sat there thinking "What a "kind looking" face I had as a young boy."
I noted that my eyes had a delightful sparkle to them. Even though the orphanage had killed my spirit I still, somehow, managed to keep a small, but noticeable, smile on the corners of my mouth.
I sat there wondering why, and how, I survived all those years of abuse. How was it that I walked out of prison that day and I never got into trouble again? I have been asked that question many, many times. I guess now is the time to tell the world the answer to that question. As a child I had always felt that no one loved me. When I walked out of prison on February 6th, 1969 I had already decided that if no one could love me when I was being "good"; that no one would ever love me, for sure, if I continued to be "bad." That was the one thought that changed my life.
From that day forward I always tried to make the right decisions in my life. I always tried to give more than I received. For more than forty years I never knew the meaning of love. All I knew was that "love" had something to do with being kind, gentle, courteous and respectful. I tried to use those few qualities to show others that I cared for them in the only way that I knew how.
I watched the fluorescent lights on the surgical hallway ceiling as they passed me by, one by one. As I slowly faded away into a deep sleep, my mind was at peace. Death no longer scared me. All that was important to me now was that I had finally become something that I was told that I could never be. A person who was kind, gentle, courteous and respectful of others. I now knew in my heart, in spite of the orphanage, the childhood beatings, the reform school, the jail and the prison; that I had finally become the person that I was meant to be; on the very day that I was born.