Updated: Sep 10
It was a sunny morning in the backyard, and I stood there, a four-year-old with pigtails and big curious eyes. Clutched beneath my tiny hands was Spooky, my guinea pig, lifeless in her cage. Confusion and sadness danced in my voice as I looked up at my dad and uttered those words, "Dad... what does this mean?"
I'll never forget the subtle shift in my dad's expression, the slight twinkle in his eyes, and the deep breath he took before responding. You see, my dad was not just any father; he was a healer, a theologian, a spiritual seeker. My question, at that moment, was more profound to him than I could have ever imagined.
He gently sat me down on the grass next to Spooky's cage, and in words a four-year-old could understand, he began to unravel the mysteries of life and death. He explained that when a body dies, the soul lives on. The specifics, he said, could vary from one family to another, depending on their beliefs. People who followed the Bible might have one explanation, while those who adhered to the Torah or the Quran might have their own. Earth-based families, he told me, had their unique ways of honoring the departed. But, he emphasized, "What matters most is how YOU feel. What do YOU believe? You won't have all the answers now, but keep asking questions, and never stop."
With the innocence of a child, I looked at my dad and asked, "Yeah, but do I still need to feed her? Should I clean her cage every day?"
That moment, right there in our backyard, left an indelible mark on my journey through life, shaping me both as a student and a teacher.
Listen to the REAL questions being asked.
Don't be afraid to question everything.
Explore multiple thoughts, ideas, and beliefs
Excitement for a topic can be contagious.
My Dad wanted the absolute best for me and loved me completely even if he didn't abide by item #1.
I learned to listen keenly to the real questions, to hear the unspoken inquiries that often lurked behind the obvious ones. I understood the importance of questioning everything, not out of skepticism but out of an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. My dad instilled in me the value of self-awareness, the necessity of exploring diverse thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, knowing that this exploration only enriches one's own convictions. His enthusiasm for learning was contagious, and he nurtured my curiosity at every turn.
My dad, with all his wisdom, may not have always followed that first lesson himself, but his love for me was unwavering. In our backyard, Spooky found her special resting place, and over the next 50 years, many more cherished animal family members joined her. But it was in that moment, as a curious four-year-old seeking answers about life and death, that my spiritual journey ignited, guided by the profound teachings of a dad's love and wisdom.