Passion is one of those words that upon hearing automatically elicit romantic or sensual feelings. Hearing the word passion makes me think of moments like when Noah kissed Allie in the pouring rain in the Notebook, or when Gatsby and Daisy finally laid eyes on each other after five long years. (Yes, I watch chick flicks and I like them #judgeme) Or, it makes me think of one of my favorite YouTube singers Jeremy Passion who mostly sings about love. (As long as you wait for me =)) We define passion by singular moments of heightened emotion. We define passionate people by how much zeal they can express about something. We use passion as a means of inspiration for instances of unguarded vulnerability. In all our lives we can think of someone who we would describe as passionate. Someone who loves what they do, or who they’re with. They are the type of person who gets a glow in their eyes when the object of their life’s focus comes into conversation. Someone who is so excited about his or her one thing that it is almost contagious. But, what I have learned is that there is a difference between passion and enthusiasm.
I read in an article that, “Passionate people smile a lot less than enthusiastic people.” At first glance I didn’t really pay much attention to it. But the statement stuck with me. What bothered me most was that I couldn’t decide in my mind if I agreed with it or not. I sifted through the filing cabinet of my memories and began to pick out one by one all the passionate people in my life. It occurred to me that the statement was true. Most of the passionate people I know are people who smile dramatically less. So I thought to myself, “Does this mean passionate people are not as happy?” The answer is no. I looked up the word passion and I found a surprise. The root meaning of the word passion comes from the Latin word pati, which translated means to suffer. Which is completely different from the way we use the word. Passionate people aren’t less happy than others. I think they just understand that to be truly passionate about something is more than just making sure the world knows they enjoy what they do.
There are exactly three things that I am passionate about. God, love, and writing. I have full confidence in my statement because of one simple fact. I am willing to suffer for all three. Passion is measured by the degree of pain you’re willing to tolerate. My writing for example, aside from God is the closest thing to my heart. I hold it in such high regard because of the suffering that I have to endure to nurture it. For all of us, it is a simple task to admit that the things we care most about are the things we are willing to hurt the worst for. Maybe what you’re passionate about won’t bring pain, maybe just some uncomfort. Are you willing to endure it? Writing brings me the most headaches, the most disappointment, and the most frustration. At the same time it brings the most fulfillment, the most joy, and the greatest feeling of accomplishment. If you think on your life, the one thing that brings you the most joy is probably at the same time the thing you wish you could punch in the face. If you have ever been in love than you know the one person who can make your smile extend from ear to ear is the same person you want to strangle. You can’t love something you aren’t passionate about and you can’t be passionate about something you don’t love.
I am enthusiastic about basketball. I follow it, I play it, and I am good at it. But, thinking about basketball doesn’t keep me up half the night. I don’t lay in bed thinking about ways to get better. I am passionate about writing because, unlike basketball, it is something I would stay up all night for. For all of my 20-somethings, we are at an age that presents an opportunity to find something we are truly passionate about and build a life around it. Which brings me to this, should your identity influence your passion, or should your passion influence your identity? When it comes to your career will you let what you do affect who you are? Or let who you are affect what you do? In your relationships, will you let who you love affect how you love? Or will you let how you love affect who you love? I know the answer for myself, but this a question you should ask yourself. If you’re reading this trying to figure out if you are truly passionate about what you’re pursuing, maybe you should ask yourself if the person, or career, or dream is worth hurting for. Love is tested through the fire of suffering, and in the end you either end up with a diamond or coal. If we can stray away from passion being a romantic ideal and understand that it is a commitment to endure pain in an attempt to elevate our love of something or someone to a more fulfilling level of true love, then we might be okay. If you’re having trouble remembering think of this, Passions Of The Christ wasn’t a romantic movie, but it was definitely a movie about love. Jesus suffered for the people he loved.
Just for fun: