My father’s passing has made an impression on me that nothing before has…and it’s no surprise to those of you that have suffered a similar fate. It has given me a focus on the meaning of my life here and, by extension, the meaning of human life on this planet.
Today, Father’s Day 2011, it re-occurred to me that the reason we are here is to physically be with those we love. Make of that what you will and I will make of it what I will, but let me explain a couple of my assumptions.
I start with an assumption that we could be somewhere else. We could be in spirit form, either having passed from earthly existence, or a spirit waiting to be born. I also assume that we come here by our own volition, not by divine imperative, by chance or by ignorance. My third assumption is that we have inherent divine qualities, in other words, we are in the image of God.
These assumptions make it easy for me to conclude that we come here by our own choice to live on earth and be with those we love, or will love. To share physical space, to hug, make love, share smiles, care for needy children and the less fortunate or able. To share the panoply of sensual input and to give out of love are the most pleasant, the most life affirming and the most spiritually evolved things we are capable of knowing. And it is only meaningful by virtue of being with someone we love.
The “proof” of this is how awful it feels when someone dies, gets lost or is socially ostracized. Then, we experience an overwhelming kind of pain that almost literally is screaming in the most intense manner, “NOOOOO!” This sense of separation feels impossible to bear. It can prompt us to think of drastic acts, to profound depression, unremitting anger, disassociation from ourselves or heroic acts in memory of those we miss.
Separation is not what we came to do or experience. Yet it happens in the small ways when someone we love moves away, takes a long vacation, business trip or military tour. It is more profound when someone we love is locked in a coma, in prison or, God forbid, is taken in war as a prisoner, kidnapped or taken hostage. But in all these situations, there may be hope for a reunion. But when a loved one dies, it feels like complete devastation because we know there is no reversing the reality.
I believe my father came here to give me life (like other fathers around the world), support me and others and to share in our growth. He did not come to start this loving and intimate sharing and then leave as if nothing had happened or as if his work was done. Neither would be true. Instead, he believed he was given a life span and although he gave great effort to live it well, he admitted that he had not finished his task, he had not prioritized wisely and had missed his mark. Fortunately, he loved and knew he was loved and for that, his mission was successful.
My assumptions may be amiss, but almost every human being I know agrees (maybe more readily on their deathbed) that there is nothing more important than being with those we love and giving ourselves to one another. It seems odd that we wait until someone we love (or our own life) has come to an end to realize this. But realize it we all do and it is never too late to know what we came here to do: love, share and be.