"What am I supposed to do? What is life and what is my purpose?". There comes a time when parents must answer these questions. Mr. Noh knew that. He had asked the very same questions to his mum a long time ago, as she had done herself with her parents in her own time. Following a cycle yet to be broken.
"We live to serve God!" his mum had proclaimed that day. She was a strong believer, she had lived her life based on the teaching of Jesus Christ and had tried her best to mold her sons in the same way. No aspect of her life, and I mean none, did not have God at the center of it. A cornerstone so to speak. He had not been surprised by his mum's response back then. A part of him had probably expected it.
In the end, he accepted her answer and applied it to his life the best he could. But Mr. Noh was not his mother, yes he believed in God. How could he not when he looked at his baby girl? how could he not recognize the gift from heaven she was? Given to him when everyone had told him that he was too old to be a father. No, his mother's words came from a strong belief, that God created us for a single purpose. That there was no other way for us to live than to serve him. A belief he had inherited but still felt foreign to him sometimes. He looked at his daughter's eyes generally so full of light and he could see that they were clouded by only one thing: The purpose of someone's existence. And he knew then that his mother's words would not work on this little girl. Not that he could use them in the first place.
Mr. Noh knew that his daughter would ask him these questions someday but it all seemed too early. He felt unprepared and wondered if his mum had felt the same. He licked his lips, feeling his mouth getting dry. "Why do you ask?" He replied trying to buy time. For a moment there she felt uncomfortable and Mr. Noh could see it clearly: She looked down at her shoes while playing with her fingers in a manner that was so uncharacteristic of her. He felt sorry to have asked, he should have known how his question would make her feel. But before he could apologize she spoke. While still staring down she said: "I feel alone. I know that you are here with me and that you will always support me but when I am out, in school, or anywhere else there is no one like me." She started "I know you raised me not to be like anyone else, to be special but sometimes I wish I could just belong. People my age are dating, going to parties, smoking weed, having sex." She said the latter with difficulty. Mr. Noh tensed at it all. Were they things she wanted to experiment with? He wished, not for the first time that her mum was still with them, he shouldn't have to be the one to take her through that phase. He was not equipped for that. With that thought and the doubt came a familiar pain, rising slowly from his belly bottom to his chest, making it hard to breathe. "God knows best." his mum's words burst in his head pushing the pain away just in time for him to hear his daughter add: "This is the time to make mistakes, like people my age right?" He had not even fully recovered from what she said before.
Mr. Noh closed his eyes and took a deep breath trying to refocus. His daughter may have said something else to him but he was not listening. He was summoning all his memories, all his past experiences, all his past mistakes, or those of people he knew. He revisited all of them. The whole process may have taken a little longer than he had expected because when he opened his eyes his daughter seemed more worried about him than anything else. He smiled at her to show that he was okay, yes he was, and he had finally an answer. "A blueprint …" He just said. She looked at him worries back in her eyes. But he continued anyway. "You've been special since the day you were born. I can never take the credit for that. In a way, I think everyone is special in their own right so you don't have to feel bad about that. I will not tell you not to do drugs, I believe I raised you well enough to know right from wrong, to know how to be safe. I will not tell you not to have sex even though I believe you should wait for that special man that will see more than your body, that will love you no matter how grey your hair turns and wrinkly your skin becomes. I will not even tell you not to go out there and make the worse mistakes and learn from them because what does not kill us is said to make us stronger. Even though I think that my job is to help you avoid pain, avoid mistakes by telling you what is poison before you swallow it." Mr. Noh paused to catch his breath, as he did his words, slowly crawled themselves into his daughter's heart. Silent tears burst from her eyes but he did not try to stop them as he would normally have. Instead, he simply continued: "I believe God created humans to be complex, to find happiness in different things. Sometimes people will meet and find happiness in the same kind of things. That's their blueprint. Your purpose in life is to find that blueprint and passed it to someone else. And if you can't find one that is fitting you, make one. So that the next "you" may have it a little bit easier than you did. That's what I think your life should be about." She collapsed in his arms like the little girl he knew and the silent tears turned into noisy sobbing but he didn't mind. Like his mum before him and her mum before her, he had found his blueprint.