What gets your heart pumping? What keeps you up at night? What do you dream about when you should be thinking about other things? Did I get your attention? It IS Valentine’s week after all! Now let’s undergo a bit of mental reorientation. The passion I’m writing about is not of the lingerie store variety. Nor am I writing about the women’s football team from Pittsburgh. We get our word “passion” from the Latin verb “patere” which means “to suffer”. This understanding causes me to immediately reflect on the Passion of Christ.
However, there’s another type of passion I’m thinking of. In the movie Serendipity (2001), Jeremy Piven’s Character, ‘Dean Kansky’, said “You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”. The passion spoken of here refers to intense emotions, compelling enthusiasm or a powerful desire for anyone or anything.
Rod Stewart’s song “Passion” from his 1980 studio album “Foolish Behaviour” addresses peoples’ feelings on this subject: “Alone in your bed at night…It’s half past midnight…As you turn out your sidelight…Something ain’t right…There’s no passion. I need passion. You need passion. Everybody I know needs some passion.” Stewart’s song goes on to say “Hear it on the radio…Read it in the paper…Hear it in the churches…See it in the school yards…Passion.”
Stewart sings “Some people are scared of passion.” Indeed, living with passion can be awkward, embarrassing and even socially debilitating if taken to extremes. I’ve known a few artists who are so passionate about their crafts, they sequester themselves in their studios and minimize their interactions with society. Those who don’t understand such passion ridicule these individuals and call them “eccentric”. On the plus side, these same artists have created some widely celebrated and masterful artistic works. To that end, it was the Greek philosopher Epictetus who said “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid”.
I must admit an admiration for those whose passionate pursuits of the performing arts place them in the limelight. They apply their focused energies to practice and discipline and become skilled practitioners of their crafts. I’m afraid my intense passion for the things closest to my heart often earns me an “outspoken” tag, brings me to tears and lands me firmly in the “thought foolish and stupid” camp. I’m okay with that though. That passion is the fire heating the boilers of my soul; a different kind of heart-burn. Without it, some of the seemingly hopeless and cold realities of life would surely freeze me to death. Passion causes me to burn with a desire to make a difference; to find solutions.
Rod Stewart’s song contains the line “A lotta people ain’t got, passion.” I hope that’s not you. There has to be something that starts your heart racing. There’s something that you do, and while you’re doing it you become so absorbed by it that you forget to stop and grab a bite to eat. It’s that thing you think about while lying sleepless in your bed at night; that is if you can stop pursuing it long enough to try to sleep. Maybe it’s a lifelong goal still waiting to be realized. Could it be that cause that chokes you up when you think about it; maybe a ministry in need of your support or maybe even your leadership? What burning desire deep in your soul brings your passion to a steaming, hot boil?
© 2015 Curt Savage Media