Pass On Your Purpose and Passion

My brother and I are nothing alike. While it’s clear from our facial structure that we’re siblings, our lives have taken completely different trajectories.

Hank wanted a wife and children. He married at 30, had a boy and a girl, and just celebrated his thirty-eighth anniversary. I knew when I was thirteen that children were not part of my lifepath, and went through two bad marriages to find a good one in my late 40s.

Hank went to college and then to medical school, methodically knocking down every obstacle to graduation. I didn’t even finish my bachelor’s degree, wandering in the world trying to see where I fit and what I was here to do.

Different lives, different quests. The world might say one of us was successful, and one wasn’t. Yet here we are, at 68 and 61, both of us fulfilled and having contributed well to the world, based on what we gained from our father’s love and guidance.

Jerry Dorkin was not only my father, but my best friend. It was the same for Hank. And he and I are like a Rohrschach blot of my father, split right down the middle.

Hank is Dad’s left-brain, logical side. As our father before him, Hank is a brilliant and compassionate physician. He has saved countless lives over the decades, working with young patients battling asthma and cystic fibrosis. He is warm and kind towards his patients and their families. He is encouraging to the physicians of younger generations, lecturing both with incisive insight and great good humor. He has the talent for that orderly type of investigation that brings breakthroughs, cures, and a better quality of life.

I’m my father’s right-brain, intuitive side. He was able to listen to a patient’s complaints and understand what was hurting emotionally, as well as physically, taking the time to help with their fears and confusion. He was a true wordsmith, crafting phrases and sentences and paragraphs that flew from the page into the reader’s imagination. He was endlessly curious about the unseen world. He was unafraid of asking the next question. He was a terrible, wonderful, constant punster. And he knew that there was Something that we go on to once we left the body, though he had no idea of what it was.

Dad’s purpose and passion was healing pain where he found it, grief where he could, and sending a patient back out into the world a little better than they had been before their appointment. My brother and I are the same way, though we go about it in different arenas. Hank helps to heal the body. I help to heal the heart and soul.

Dad passed on his purpose and passion to both of his children. We took different roads to get to where we are today. But both Hank and I finish our days content, knowing we have made a difference. That’s living your passion, and knowing your purpose.

And I’m sure Dad is watching from the Celestial Balcony, content with what he passed on to those he loved.

“We are all meant to leave this place better than we found it…to pass on our purpose and passion in some form.” – Corbie Mitleid