For the past few weeks, I’ve taken dinner to my mother and stepfather on Wednesday afternoons. It’s not a big deal for me. They only live twenty minutes away. I love to cook and my mother doesn’t. She’s happy with smearing peanut butter on a banana and eating a bowl of ice cream.
But my stepfather Gene likes to eat–real food.
To be honest, I used food as an excuse to talk to him. Nourishment for my soul.
As a retired minister and sociology professor, Gene knows people. And he’s lived long enough to know what’s important in life. He’s 85.
I trust him.
He’s never given me advice unless I’ve asked for it. This time, I had a lot of questions.
I walked into their kitchen with a crock pot full of bone broth soup, warm cornbread, fresh fruit, and a plate of spice cake. And, of course, Hershey bars for Mother.
(Here’s a recipe for how to make bone broth from Wellness Mama.)
Mother hopped up on the counter and popped a grape into her mouth.
“So, Gene,” I said, trying to sound casual. “What’s life all about? I mean, what matters most? What’s my real purpose? Why am I here?”
He smiled, even though I’d asked a long line of heavy questions that he couldn’t be possibly answer in an afternoon visit.
“What you’re feeling is perfectly normal,” he said. “I wrote a little bit about it.” Opening a drawer, he pulled out a thick stack of papers. “It’s my doctrinal dissertation from June of 1967.”
My gaze landed on the word MEANING in the title. Which is what I’d been searching for. Meaning and purpose. What matters most.
“This is amazing,” I said.
Everything I wanted to know, I could find in Gene’s study.
“Do you mind if I borrow it? I’ll take good care of it. I promise.”
Before he left to run errands, we talked some more, and I followed him outside.
What happened next was one of those sparkly moments–the kind you know you’ll never forget.
Standing by his truck, I flipped through his research, hoping to make sense of all his facts and figures.
“You really want to know what’s important in life?” he said.
I moved inside his open door. “More than anything.”
He looked up toward heaven. “Love well.”
“Love well? That’s it? Two words. How can life be that simple?”
His hazel eyes met mine, and I remembered how he’d been there for me over the years. Always compassionate. Never judging.
~~How he read Scripture at our infant son Robbie’s graveside and at our daughter Katie’s first wedding.
Gene was right.
The answer settled my soul.
Love God and love others. What else matters? Click to tweet.
“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 NIV
What does LOVE WELL mean to you?
Do you have someone a little older and wiser to talk to?