I don't believe that soul mates are necessarily the ones we are meant to marry. Sometimes it is the ones we are born to, or a friend or a sibling. For me, I believe it is my Dad.
My father has been a quiet inspiration. He has brought me laughter, and has shared with me the gift of compassion through his examples. He always made me feel heard and I always found him to be fair.
A few years back I almost lost my Dad when he was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis. It was the scariest time of my life. Although I felt in my heart that my Dad knew that I loved him, I was angry that I couldn't remember the last time I told him. I begged and pleaded for another "awake" moment with Dad and vowed that if I were given it, I would never taken another moment for granted.
My wish was granted. I've always been very spiritual, but not very religious. Dad was very dogmatic and this was where we would always butt heads. I read a book called "The Shack." I loved it so much and was so inspired by its message that I had a friend of mine from Lisbon send me a Portuguese version for my dad to read. Dad flew through the book, and we connected on a new level having shared such a special treasure. We still talk about it today and it will live in me forever.
Over the years, I have watched my Dad go from the always active, hardworking man, with a fast gait, to a grey-haired man, with pain in his knees, walking at a much slower pace, still trying his best to stay active, but visibly limited. Today, Dad made an unscheduled visit at my house. He said it was unexpected and had he realized he was coming by, he would have brought something he made me. I looked at my mom as she smiled and said, "He's been working very hard."
Ok, so now I'm curious, so on my way home from the market about an hour after he left, I stopped by Dad's and there waiting for me was a bird house he had made to look just like my house. I love it. I smiled, thanked my Dad and as I drove away, quietly said to myself, "Please God, don't let this be a parting gift." I always get nervous at unexpected visits and gifts ever since my father-in-law passed away (a story for another day). I then smiled because I remembered the book and what it taught me.
I realized that the fear I had those years back of not remembering the last time I told my dad that I loved him was silly. My Dad knows I love him, just as I know he loves me. We know by the little things we do and say every day. We know by the phone call or email that says "Hey, I thought of you today" or the unscheduled visit just to say hello.
And should we be nearing the end of our journey in this life together, I know without a shadow of a doubt that behind that waterfall, just like in "The Shack," I will see Dad and everyone I have ever loved and lost. That truth makes my life a little sweeter and a lot less scary. I will put up my birdhouse in my favorite garden and smile every time I look at it. It will serve as a constant reminder of how loved and how blessed I am.