I’ve always found it interesting that siblings – children from the same parents, kids born from the same gene pool and cut from the same DNA – can be so vastly different from one another and their families. It’s true for my brother and me, and it’s true for the generations of siblings I’ve known throughout my life, including most twins and triplets. I’m wondering if the one unique element in all of them, the non-DNA component that may explain why even the most genetically linked families can be so different – is soul.

My brother and I were born almost four years apart in the same city, with the same social structure, and carrying the same DNA from the same two loving parents. We bear similar features, coloring and cultural influence, and we are kindred in our ethics, honesty, leadership and drive. But in almost all other ways – we are as different as night and day. My brother was always much better at math and engineering where I excelled at language, grammar and storytelling. He loved the sea, ships, planes and ultimately the U.S. Naval Academy and a trailblazing career as a Navy Officer – which no one in our family had ever done. I loved crafting stories, reading books, and ultimately working on network TV shows and studio movies before turning my hand to writing scripts and novels – which no one in our family had done before. He flew jets and captained ships built for war. I abhor guns and violence and advocate for peace and social justice. He follows orders without question. I question everything. Our souls seemed to have come into this world through the same DNA, yet with very different purposes.

I’m not speaking just about religious soul here, though I personally think soul equals a direct umbilicus to our Creator, our God, the one who gave us life, purpose and intricate design. The soul I speak of here is an invisible core of our being, instilled at birth and made with specific gifts and talents meant to blossom into passions and desires that lead to professions, hobbies and volunteer opportunities filled with purpose — a joyful way to serve one another in our communities and/or around the world by doing what we love. That is, if we choose to follow it.

In my upcoming novel, The Vessels, the main characters host Spirits that return from past lives to right wrongs, find forgiveness and restore love in this life. Driven by unique and powerful purposes, these Spirits return to serve their still living loved ones by fixing mistakes and helping them overcome some form of suffering. They are souls made flesh (again) to guide the loved ones they seek, and the Vessels who carry them, to their higher selves. And the Vessels mantra? Serve Other before Self.

I’ve heard it asked, “Are we humans having a spiritual experience, or are we spiritual beings living as flesh?” I have also heard it said, “When your passion meets your profession you’ve found your purpose.”

My daughter was born with her father’s eyes, one of my dimples, and our combined ethics, perseverance, honesty and dedication. But she was also born with a unique and special soul that took her in a very different direction from ours almost from the start. She’s now in 8th Grade, a Straight A, Principal’s Honor Roll, International Baccalaureate® (IB) student diligently pursuing her 6th Grade dream of becoming a molecular biologist – something no one in our family has ever done. It’s something she was attracted to on her own, something she is academically and intellectually gifted to do, and something that brings her excitement and joy. As I witness this in her, along with the years of following my soul’s passion, profession and purpose, the answer to me is clear: we are souls having a human experience. Even those born with physical challenges and limitations of flesh burn brightly from within.The bigger question is, what do we do about it? Perhaps one thing we could try is putting aside our more self-serving human fears and frailties and let loving, servant hearted soul take a turn driving the ship. I think the waters may get a lot calmer.


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