As a mother several times over, she knew it was one of those questions that would one day be asked but she didn’t expect it that morning as she sat with her nine-year old daughter in the school parking lot and waiting for the morning bell to ring.
Every day was an impromptu cycling through their mom and daughter routine of chatting, reading, writing, taking photos, taking a walk, feeding birds or contemplating quietly each engrossed in their own thoughts and that’s how it was the morning she asked the question.
“What’s the point of life if all we’re going to do is die?” the daughter asked.
Her mother turned to look at her in the back seat to find tears streaming quietly down her cheeks. Earlier she’d been upset that her brothers ate her tangerines that she’d planned to eat for breakfast. She couldn’t fathom it was an atrocity worthy thoughts begetting the meaning of life nor was she sure how to answer because school would be starting in fifteen minutes and the question might take a lifetime to answer.
“That’s a pretty deep question before school. What makes you ask that?” her mother asked.
“I just don’t know why we have to live if we have to die.” she restated with an expression of agony and sorrow.
“Come here” her mother called. Her daughter came to her and sat in her lap so she could embrace her. While there she said in her ear, “We are alive only to love sweetheart. That’s it. Everything we do, everyone we meet and everywhere we go are all the parts of life that teach us more about how to love. Does that make sense?” She asked.
Her daughter nodded.
“Are you thinking about your father?” her mother asked. The girls father was much older than her mother and she knew that her daughter connected his age and demeanor with death.
“Yes. I’m scared he’s going to die.” she said as a new wave of tears made their way down her mothers back.
“It’s normal to be scared that we’ll lose someone we love so much, especially when we miss them and they’re not physically with us but I want you to know that love is something invisible that is continually pouring into you and out of you forever. So the love you give Daddy and the love Daddy gives you never goes away, not even in death. Love only gives, never takes away so your gift is a promise that you will always be filled be with love, so much it will pour from you throughout your life and into others. Death can’t take that promise from you or from anyone else. Does that make sense?” her mother asked.
Her daughter nodded and pulled away to look at her with a sad smile.
“Tell me about your most exciting time playing outside?” her mother asked in an attempt to redirect her spirit for a day of school.
“Well, there was this time we had a carnival at the end of the school year but we didn’t need tickets to play the games and win prizes. My favorite game was when we had to carry stuff on a spoon from one place to the other without dropping it. I kept playing over and over again and won fifteen Hershey bars!” she said with big eyes.
“Oh my! What happened to those fifteen bars?” her mother asked.
“Um, I might have eaten them…” her daughter laughed.
“That does sound like fun. That’s what life is all about, taking a spoon of love and carrying it from place to place, dropping bits here and there while receiving sweetness in return.” her mother said as the bell rang.
Her daughter nodded while grabbing her backpack and getting out of the car. She turned to come back for a hug and said, “Thank you, Mom.”
“You’re welcome, sweetheart. Have a beautiful day.” her mother said with a sad smile.
As a mother several times over, she knew it was one of those questions that would one day be asked again and that her answers would eventually need to include the black crayons of reality. She would then tell her more, touch on the experience(s) that prompted her revisiting the question and remind her that the parts that didn’t feel sweet were only there to help her refine her own sugar which in turn would help refine others.
For now she aimed to color her answers in the pigment of spring palettes until light images no longer fit her daughters world, a world her heart was fully open to receive without the natural torment of internal conflict that will arrive in life’s steady attempts to mold her in hope she not remember she is vessel, artist, decanter, restorer and that expressionless she is love.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”Rumi