Earlier today I had one of those moments surely everyone I dread. You know, the one where someone asks you to do something a little out of the ordinary and you’re caught off guard. But the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and your jeans are fittin’ fine, so you’re momentarily STRUCK DUMB, and say “Shuuurrr. I can do that!” Like a dummy.
It almost seems like it’s gonna be fun. For a second.
But then it’s just not.
So, this morning I was approached by two sweet looking gals while coming out of our new church. Could I say a few words on camera for an upcoming women’s event, they asked. They just needed a few spontaneous and heartfelt sentences. Sure, I thought. I can do that! *birds chirping*
Then up comes the video camera and out comes the question I’m supposed to answer…
What’s your passion? Can you tell us a little about what you’re passionate about. Just say your name and look right here INTOTHISCAMERA. *blink, blink, blink*
Uhhhhhhhhhh, what’s my name again? Who am I? Where am I? * eyes nervously darting from side to side looking for an escape route*. You wanna know what? My WHAT? I’m not sure I know what you mean by that? Could you give me an idea of what you’re going for here? *Someone get me outta here!* Seriously, where am I…who…whu…ummm? Look over there! I think it’s Michael Jackson!! *ducking for cover under the closest rhododendron*.
Ohmyheck. How do I get myself into these things? *arms flapping in exasperation, eyes all abulge* You’d think a girl that’s been using her mouth and brain for as many years as I have would have a little bit better understanding of what they’re actually used for.
I couldn’t for the life of me think of a single thing to say and therefore was unable to speak one meaningfully coherent sentence. I did get my name out finally, and a few bits and pieces of this and that…my passion is my kids…love my kids…teach them about Jesus…teach them at home…kids…teaching…compassion…Jesus. Basically, it was a bunch of blah, blah, blah, blah-dee, blah, blah, blahhhhh, with uncomfortably long pauses sprinkled awkwardly throughout, followed by nervous laughter (them and me) and lots of apologizing (just me). I imagine they were thinking something like Wow, she looked so normal.
As I walked away all I felt was shame, embarrassment, humiliation. It was ugly. With a capital U.
All I could think about for probabaly 20 seconds was how awful I’d sounded, and how dumb I’d been to agree to do something so outside my natural ability in the first place. Didn’t I know it would end poorly?! What did I think was going to happen?!? People were going to know the bloom was off this rose.
And then the most amazing thing happened.
I decided I didn’t think I cared. Hm! I decided I didn’t really think I should care if I was gonna walk that talk about having an audience of One (God), and not letting other people decide if I’m worth something or not.
And seriously, just like that, freedom.
The sun started to shine again. The birds started sing again. I got in my car, drove off, and for the first time in my life didn’t think about what I shouldacouldwoulda said. And it was awesome. I felt a little bit closer to being the grown up girl I look like on the outside.
BUT… I have to admit that later in the day something did start to bother me.
My deer-in-the-headlights, rat-in-the-trap, hand-in-the-cookie-jar reaction aside, could I answer their original question? Do I know what I’m passionate about? Am I passionate about anything? Could I honestly say that I feel passion and not just strong like or interest in any one thing? What if I couldn’t?
I decided that it wasn’t ok with me not to have a good answer to that question. After all, I’ve been on this earth for a lot of years, and for most of those years I’ve had a big, full life that couldn’t possibly have been so big and full if I hadn’t felt passion for at least parts of it. Didn’t I know myself at all I wondered. Have I been so busy throwing all my energies into being a wife and mom that perhaps I didn’t? Was I really the best wife or mom if I couldn’t answer such an important question?
So, I’ve started to thoughtfully ponder what my answer would’ve been earlier today, had I had an answer ready to give. Not in a vain attempt to make myself look better in the eyes of others but as a little exercise in self discovery, if you will. So far, I have a little mental list going. As I reflect, I’m starting to see that like or even love doesn’t necessarily translate into passion. I imagine that the people and things I feel actual, bone fide passion about will illicit a more emotional or maybe even physical response in me somehow. You know, like the difference I feel when I compare the love I have for brownies to the love I have for my husband. Like that.
So can you tell me…What are your passions? Do you know? Does your current life include your passion(s)? How did you discover your passion(s)?
I can be over in 10 minutes with my video camera.