My Dad had a decal on his car that read “Love Is Our Soul Purpose.” I’m not one for bumper stickers or decals, but this one always resonated with me.
My dad’s childhood was not ideal; as he put it, his mother loved him too much and his father, not enough. He came into this world with a rare blood type that could have ended his life before it began. But he was given an emergency transfusion which saved his life.
In those times, when a woman gave birth, there was usually a minister or priest in the delivery room who would bless the baby as soon as he took his first breath. Before my father received the transfusion, the priest told the doctor that he should bless the baby immediately because he was going to die soon.
At that, my grandmother reared up on her elbows on the delivery table and shouted, “the HELL he will! He’s going to live; I’ll MAKE him live!”
When my dad, newly transfused and looking much better, was back in his mother’s arms, she told her husband how things were going to be from then on. She was going to keep her new son close to her for the next few months, and if her husband didn’t like it, he could sleep on the sofa.
My grandmother loved Dad fiercely and without question. For months she carried him in a sling day and night. For those months, cuddled next to her heart, he began to thrive.
Dad was the apple of his mother’s eye, but love between he and his father was sparse and difficult. My grandfather was gruff and forbidding, and it was rare to see him smile. Dad told me that his father never once ruffled his hair or told him what a good boy he was.
I suspect that Dad was a sensitive boy with a tough exterior. His parents fought over many things, one was that his father felt that he was being over-coddled by his mother and that he should “toughen up.”
This alone was cause for many loud arguments between his parents. When Dad was out of the army and on his own, he was sure that he would never marry. The marriage he saw growing up was angry, loud, hurtful and with little love and respect.
But years later, after living nearly 60 years with my mother, he had become a kind, loving and wise sage. He often said that love was what really mattered; that every problem in life could (and should) be handled with love and understanding. He had grown into his true self; a man of great kindness, forgiveness and gratitude for every sunrise and sunset.
I loved the conversations we shared, which always centered around love and how important it was. He truly believed that love is indeed our “soul” purpose.
Dad has been gone now six months to this day. But I still feel his love, his compassion, his wisdom and his views on life. I believe that, where he is, there is endless love and understanding. I am also sure that my crusty and aloof grandfather has had plenty of time to accept love and give love.
After all, love IS our soul purpose.