This is the question that began this book. To find the answer to it, one had to take the journey through early childhood, Boys Town, college and acceptance, search and discovery, Polish heritage and finally remembering many whom played a role in my life. However, through it all light has been shed upon the answer to this question?
I have thought long and hard throughout the writing of this book as well as many times prior to it as to how I might answer this question. First; I can answer that I am NOT a Lost Son.
Am I the son of my birth mother? NO, that right was relinquished upon my birth and when given the opportunity at a second chance, she relinquished it yet a another time.
I am definitely not a son of the "foster care system," for in my mind this system miserably failed me as it has thousands upon thousands in subsequent years. They moved me from place to place for years and when I became a burden to them, decided to shuttle me off to someone else as far away as possible. The only good that came out of this broken system was the Monshors becoming a part of my life and their last move for me to Boys Town.
Boys Town played an integral role in my adolescent years. It provided stability where there had been none. It provided the basic necessities of life during those crucial developing years. Yes, some there even took me under their wings as a besieged youth to let me know for the first time that I in matter of fact did have potential. Ultimately though it was also time for me to say good-bye.....NO, I am not the son of Boys Town.
My heritage? Though I am extremely happy to find my true heritage rather than having to adopt that of others; I cannot be the son of my heritage as it played no role in my life before age 36.
In the end the answer to the LOST SON question is an easy one. Though many played some role as to where I am today in life, I am ultimately NO ONES SON.
If anything, I AM MY OWN SON. I was responsible myself to learn the lessons of life and to make life whatever I wanted it to be.
The cards were dealt me at birth. Rather than being dealt a royal flush I was dealt maybe a pair of twos and told to play it the best I possibly could as I could not throw any cards away and hope for a better hand. I, with the help of others along the way, was ultimately responsible for how the game turned out. I could whimper and whine and just say deal me out or I could somehow attempt to make that pair of twos look like a royal flush...the choice was mine and mine alone.
I won't make the final judgment as to how well or poorly I played, others will, but I think to this date I have at least advanced to maybe four of a kind.
Life has dealt me many setbacks along the way to this point, but I learned at an early age to view them as opportunities and know that no matter how bad things seemed to be....they could be worse, as it is for some.
It took no special courage or strength by me to see
me through these things. It took acceptance of the way things are, hard work and most importantly a deeply held inner
faith in a God, as I understand Him. It also took
willingness to play the cards dealt, without
or blaming others for my position, to the best I
able. The whinning or blaming would have been the
easy road to take...but there are enough people on
My inner faith has withstood the test of time. It
been battered and tattered but has remained intact.
have been knocked down several times through some of my own failures, but have been
able to get back up and press on. It has gotten me
thus far in life and I know it will see me to the
I said on the cover page of this book this was a story of joy and sadness, but also of victory. The game is yet to be completed, but no matter where the winding road of life may yet take me I believe I have already been victorious!
Fortunately for me though, I was NO ONES SON. I had many who crossed my path and taught me the lesson that even if no one on the earth wanted me as a son I was somebody of worth; I had value and good as a person.
Within every person there is a rose. These qualities planted in us at birth grow amid the thorns of our faults. I, in early life, had looked at myself and saw only the thorns; the defects. I despaired, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from me. I neglected to water the good within me, and eventually that good could have died. I might never realize my potential.
I did not see the rose within myself; someone else had to show it to me. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within another. This is the
characteristic of love, to look at a person, and knowing his faults, recognize the nobility in his soul, and help him realize that he can overcome his faults. If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns. Then will he blossom, blooming forth thirty, sixty, a hundred-fold as it is given to him. I am thankful to have been at times surrounded with such people in my life. Without them, I don't know if victory could have been achieved.
To those who read this book and have or will face some of the same crosses and tribulations in your life as I have, please.........
Remember....when you feel your life's crosses seem overwhelming.... it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. Many bear crosses that we can only begin to fathom. There are those with disabilities, some face terminal illness, others live poor or under dictatorships....the list is endless! You may, in the end, consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.
Whatever your cross.... whatever your pain.... there will always be sunshine after the rain.
Perhaps you may stumble.... perhaps even fall, I sure have many times.... but YOU have the power within YOU to stand back up, dust yourself off and overcome. YOU have it within yourself to make the most of your life no matter what the cross is you bear.
Yes, I have faced many crosses in my life, I have stumbled and fallen many times despite trying to carry them. Each time however, I have been able each time to pick myself up and move another step forward. I will be honest, it has not always been easy nor has it been thru my own strength....but has been combined with the strong spiritual beliefs within me. I know I will have some crosses to bear throughout my life...but I will not allow them to overburden or defeat me. I also know of the many having bigger and heavier crosses to bear than me.....mine are small and light in comparison.
If I can do it, I know each of YOU can do it!! Note that people or systems along the way will fail you throughout your life. My birth parents, foster care system, found siblings and even Matt did. All one can do is accept it and get over it. But PLEASE.............DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO FAIL YOU!!!
"May I Always Feel Your Love"
This chapter, has not been meant as a religious or spiritual one, however, I know what my faith has meant to me during times of trial.
The following, originally by an author unknown. I have
changed it to become my personal meditation. I have made the wording so that you, if you
use it in your daily life. It is my hope that this
will be of special meaning to you as it is to me
will allow you, as you MEDITATE on it, to feel the
inner faith that I feel and am at least trying to
May I find serenity and tranquility in a world I do
not always understand.
May the pain I have known and the conflict
experienced give me the strength to walk through
facing each new situation with courage and
Let me always know that there are those whose love
and understanding will always be there, even when I
feel most alone.
Help me to discover enough goodness in others to
believe in a world of peace.
Let a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile
mine every day of life, and may I give these gifts
well as receive them.
May I remember the sunshine when the storm seems
Teach me love to those who know hate, and let that
love embrace me as I go into the world.
Let the teachings of those I admire become part of
me, so I might call upon them.
Help me to remember those whose lives I have
and who have touched mine so they might always a
of me, even if the encounters were less than I
have wished. It is the content of the encounter
is more important than its' form.
May I not become too concerned with material
but instead place immeasurable value on the
in my heart.
Let me find time in each day to see the beauty and
love in the world around me.
Help me realize that each person has limitless
abilities, but each of us is different in our own
Teach me to accept what I may feel I lack in one
regard may be more than compensated for in another.
What I feel lacking in the present may become one
my strengths in the future.
May I see my future as one filled with promise and
Let me learn to view everything as a worthwhile
May I find enough inner strength to determine my
worth by myself, and not be dependent on another's
judgment of my accomplishments.
" May I always feel Your presense Your Love"
In many ways today, I am still the product of my years at Boys Town. I still love music, especially classical. My soprano days of course are long gone as now it is baritone. Singing opportunities are rare, unless you count the shower. Though at the Boys Town Reunion in 1997, which I attended, many of us former boys that sang in the choir gathered for our own reunion. As part of the weekend celebration we presented the Mass on Sunday followed by a concert in memory of our late Directors; Fr. Schmidt & Moe.
The following year we were asked by the current Boys Town Director, to come back and sing the Mass for the 50th anniversary of Father Flanagan's death...15 of us did.
I gave up playing instruments myself years ago. I had played piano, violin, clarinet and bass. Though I was not really good at any....I just loved anything musical!