By Dr. Wayne Dyer
It’s Christmastime 1941, a few weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. America has been drawn into war; two of my mother’s brothers are serving in the military, one in Europe and the other in the Pacific. My father is no longer in the picture. His persistent carousing with other women, excessive drinking, and regular encounters as a lawbreaker, which have landed him in jail on several occasions, have finally made living with him impossible for my mother. He has simply walked away from his fatherly responsibilities, never to be heard from again. My mother is alone with three children under the age of five to feed. She’s taking her three boys to her mother’s house to be watched while she goes to work for the day.
My two older brothers and I are waiting with our mother for the bus to arrive on Jefferson Avenue on the east side of Detroit. We’re dressed in our snowsuits, mittens, galoshes, and earmuffs, standing at the bus stop next to what appears to us to be a huge mountain of freshly plowed snow. The road is littered with salt to melt the continually falling snow, and it is one big nasty mess. A truck drives past the four of us, spraying us so hard with slush that we’re knocked off of our feet. We land safely but soaked on the gigantic pile of snow.
My mother breaks down—she’s dressed for work and covered with dirty, salty slush. She is exasperated. Her life is obviously out of control with the departure of her former husband, and she’s doing her best to make ends meet. The lingering Depression, along with a world war, contributes to her overall situation. Work is difficult to come by, and my mother must rely upon the meager help that comes from her family. They too are overburdened by the long-term economic downturn. It is a difficult period under the best of circumstances, due to shortages of all manner of goods, and the fog of war itself.
My two brothers are very upset, too. Five-year-old Jim attempts to console our mother; three-year-old David is crying uncontrollably. Me? I am having the time of my life. This is like a nice surprise party with a big castle of snow that we’re all lying on top of. We can have fun! I don’t quite understand why everyone is so angry and frustrated.
And then these words came out of my mouth: “It’s okay, Mommy. Don’t cry. We can all just stay here and play in the snow.”
I’m the baby who seldom cries; the toddler who tries to make everyone laugh and feel good, regardless of what’s going on. I’m the kid who makes silly faces to change the environment from sad to glad. I am that little boy who’d be sure There must be a pony here somewhere if the sandbox was full of manure. I don’t know how to be filled with sadness. My demeanor seems to be naturally inclined to look for the bright side and pay little heed to things that make everyone else dreary.
According to my mother, I’m the most independent and inquisitive little boy she and her family have ever encountered. Apparently I arrived with this happy disposition intact. I am so happy to be here in this world. At 19 months of age I am almost the same size as Dave, who is 18 months older. I try to get my brother to laugh and feel safe, because he seems to be afraid, sick, and most of the time, sad, but he seldom even smiles. I find the world so exciting, and I love wandering and exploring.
As I grow up, nothing seems to disturb or distress me. I look around and all I see brings me to a state of awe and wonder. I want everyone to be happy. I want all of the despair in my family to just disappear. I am sure we don’t have to be miserable just because our father is such a shit. I want to see my mother have joy in her soul rather than all of this distress. I want my oldest brother, Jim, to stop worrying so much about Mother and his two younger brothers. If I can make them happy and have some fun, maybe all of this other stuff will just go away.
I just can’t comprehend why everyone seems so dour. There are so many things to be excited about. I can play for hours with a spoon or an empty cardboard box. I love to go outside and gaze at the flowers, the butterflies, or the stray cat that keeps coming to our yard. I am in a kind of blissful state of appreciation and bewilderment almost all of the time. I also have a very strong mind of my own. I won’t let anyone tell me what I can or cannot do—I insist upon discovering my boundaries on my own. When I am told no, I simply smile and then proceed to do what my inner self instructs me to do—regardless of what any big people might say about it.
I seem to be totally in a world of my own—one that’s joyful, full of exciting unlimited potentialities and discoveries that I can make on my own.
No matter how hard anyone tries to make me be gloomy, they can never succeed because I came here from a Divine light, and there is nothing anyone can do to put out that light. This is who I am—a piece of God who hasn’t forgotten that God is love. As am I.
Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He’s the author of 30 books, has created many audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows. His books Manifest Your Destiny, Wisdom of the Ages, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and The New York Times bestsellers 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, The Power of Intention, Inspiration, and Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life, Excuses Begone and now Wishes Fulfilled have all been featured as National Public Television specials. Wayne holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York. Visit his Website: www.DrWayneDyer.com.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Wayne Dyer and inspirational authors such as Cheryl Richardson, Doreen Virtue, Kris Carr and more, we invite you to join us at the Hay House I Can Do It! event. For more information please visit www.hayhouse.com or call 800-654-5126.