Every young man reaches a point in his life where he must leave the nest and spread his wings. I tried my wings during the turbulent, early years of the seventies. The trials I endured tested my skills and made me stronger. I made many mistakes that could have caused my demise and I look back on them now and wonder why I lived through them. I can’t believe it was that I was so valuable a person that I had to be spared for humanity. No, I have no great abilities that must be shared with the world. I am a very average Joe without redeeming qualities that should make me stand-out from Johnny down the street. As I think about it I realize that I have had more than my share of incredible luck or was it a higher power that has protected me? This last possibility is what I must believe.
From a small child, I was raised as a good Catholic. I was brought up to fear the Lord and received the sacraments that all good Catholic boys should. Even though I have changed denominations, I have always considered myself a Christian, and the religious background I received through the Catholic Church laid a strong foundation for my belief in a divine entity. That’s not to say that my religious beliefs were always worn on my shoulder and that I was never a person to backslide. Yes, I did my share of hell raising that did not reflect a proper religious upbringing or a strong belief in God. But through it all I always felt that there was a spiritual entity that watched over me and protected me. Like so many people I seemed to place this guardian in my back pocket and only let him out when things had really hit the fan. I would call on him with the promises to be good if only I could make it through this one “terrible event”. Yes and when the answers came and the trouble passed, it was back in the pocket for him and on I went. I guess my rationalization for that behavior was that it was my guardian's job to protect me and keep me safe from harm, and the natural thing to do during bad times was to put him to work. This belief would change as my life progressed to where I am now.
In sharing this turbulent time of my life I know I will be sharing things that will not flatter me or put me up as a great example or mentor for anyone, but it will share the trials and tribulations that can be part of the growing process. I hope that it will give young people a sense of forewarning about many of the temptations that are waiting out there for the unaware youngster who is testing his or her wings.
We all go through this as we step into the great unknown and get taken up with life as it leads us along an uncertain road to discover ourselves. This story is dedicated to all those young men and women who take this journey.
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