The Crime of No Passion
Why do human beings fear passion? Down the tunnel of time, people who exhibit passion have been called….crazy. Cuckoo. Nuts. Overbearing. Other Unflattering Adjectives. A crime of passion doesn’t conjure anything positive, as we recall the scenes of murder, suicide and mayhem that parade across paper pages and blinking screens.
Most people spend their lives suppressing their passions, lest they be viewed as one of the Nut Jobs Who Scare People by the People Who Are Too Scared to Care Too Much About Anything. They don’t throw an ember of sizzle into their jobs, lest they fail to achieve their dreams. True friends never know how much they matter, because showing it is mushy or uncomfortable. Spouses languish in the corner, oblivious to how passionately they might be loved or cherished. Children learn early to suppress their passions from parents who teach them to avoid it rather than to embrace it.
We make lots of excuses for the crime of no passion. My passion won’t really make a difference anyway. It’s too much emotional effort and hard work to care this much. My friends know they matter to me, really. I would never stay married to someone about whom I’m not passionate….and my partner KNOWS it. Somehow. Deep down, I’m afraid to look ridiculous, hanging out there as the only person who cares, risking taunting jabs from my peers when I ultimately fail.
In my life, my misguided passion has destroyed many things. A first marriage. A relationship I wanted to be a marriage. A volunteer effort. Even a job. So, how can I possibly muster the will to care, to burn that flame of heated passion, ever again?
Perhaps I never learn.
I’m passionate about Rotary because of what it does. Take our Happy Feet program, which buys school shoes for needy kids in our community. I readily admit that some of the kids who come for freebies don’t need them. But, I show up every year to see the explosion of wonder behind the guarded eyes of a child whose shoes are two sizes too small and duct-taped together. Once she realizes she can pick out a new pair of shoes – any shoes – and wear them home, she stands taller, steps truer, grins wider. The echoes of her thank-yous ring in my ears for months, riding a wave to the next one. And the next one. And the next one. A tidal wave of passion.
I cannot make anyone else have passion for a thing. No amount of goading or begging or manipulating will ignite the true fires of another’s passion. It has to burn from within an individual, and most people will decide they don’t need it.
Inciting the fearless pursuit of passion in a few can build a team of people who will impact the world for the better. If that’s all I accomplish in my year as President of my Rotary Club……..I’ll take it.
What’s your passion?