We were having coffee in that cozy café off of Wright Square when Claire said, “I don’t know, there’s just something missing from my life.” This was not news to me since this absence, or whatever we might call it, seems to drive Claire to adopt a new hobby each month: bookbinding, knitting, bird-watching, butterfly collecting, gardening on her balcony. In some ways her interest seems like an animal too skittish to stay still. Sadly for Claire, no new “thing” ever seems to be “it” for longer than a month, which accounts for the many unfinished projects in her apartment: The half-carved bookends, the balcony garden now gone wild with a crazed mind of its own, the unresolved macramé hanging that has been that way for at least a year. I have often wondered, “Is it a chicken/egg thing?” Does the lack of a passion leave her life without a dream, or is it that the lack of a dream for her life prevents her from being passionate about something? I must admit that I have often wondered if Claire’s lack of passion for anything IS her passion!
For me passion is that thing which fires me up, that impetus which drives me out of bed early with an eagerness to get to whatever comes next, that thing which I just have to do. I used to think that the lack of a passion in someone’s life was the reason that they were so unhappy and negative; many years later I now see that this is too simplistic a view about passion. Our passion, in some mysterious way, gives direction to our life, and having now lived long enough I see that the important questions really are: What is my passion… and where is it taking me?
We often think of passion as a positive thing, but I know someone in whom passion plays out negatively… or rather, his is a passion of negativity. He has revealed to me that it is the ways in which, in his estimation, others fall short that captures his helpless attention: the person who is fat, the person who has dark skin, the person who limps. I ask myself: How can weight, skin color and physical disability “fall short”, but in his eyes, these are moral faults. Having known him for many years now, it is as if negativity is the evil fruit of which he simply cannot resist partaking! Having been fueled by negativity of others for so long it seems to be all that he now sees about others, although he says that he is not being negative, that he is just seeing things as they are. He seems oblivious to the fact that his negative orientation gives a negative interpretation to what he sees!
So where is your passion taking you… in a positive or a negative direction? Is your passion a good thing, or not? If your life seems to lack passion… are being mediocre or safe be what drives your life? Our passion takes us somewhere. Do you like where you are going?