“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”
― Nicholas Sparks, Dear John
Since childhood, I’ve always been passionate about music and American history. Some might consider me a nerd. Others, an eccentric. And there are those who understand what Passion is all about.
“As if you were on fire from within. The moon lives in the lining of your skin.”
― Pablo Neruda
At the age of three, I was standing in the family pew mimicking the choir director. Mother, even then, realized there was a spark there. She taught me conducting patterns and would play Ray Coniff albums on our living room stereo so I could stand in front of the mirror and conduct.
By 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be the high school marching band’s drum-major. Thus began two consistent years of working toward that goal. My 8th grade year, I was the junior high’s band captain, and was invited to conduct a number in the Spring Concert using my own baton.
I don’t quite remember when my Passion for music began. It was in the family. Perhaps, it was genetic, as well as environmental.
“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.” ― Joss Whedon
When I began adopting my sons, none of them had any music in their backgrounds. Each son was either in choir/show choir, or band/marching band/winter percussion. I made sure I took a back seat to their decisions so any music participation would be on their own volition. The minute they walked into the home as newly adopted sons, they were drenched in music. Generally, they arrived home from school to find lessons already in progress. Music filled the house, and quickly filled their souls.
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” ― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
My sons also received an abundant amount of American history. My eldest son once remarked that I should have a bumper sticker reading, “I brake for historical markers.”
I’ve been known to take the next exit to turn around on an interstate or highway simply to return to some historical marker I’d passed. Most of the signs for which I’ve returned have been of little significance. However, I always wonder what I might have missed had I not turned around.
Mother, my grandparents and uncles nurtured my love for history, as did my teachers. I lived for the month of February because we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday separately. There was no Presidents’ Day, then.
In fourth grade, I became aware that something was happening with presidential history. Mother did not throw cold water on my interest in watching the sometimes dull, yet terribly fascinating Watergate Hearings.
“I’m already crazy. I’m a fearless person. I think it creeps up on you. I don’t think it can be stopped. If my destiny is to lose my mind because of fame, then that’s my destiny. But my passion still means more than anything.” ― Lady Gaga
I was one who was not as interested in playing outside. I am not a fan of children and teens spending hours with video games, but I can understand their Passion for wishing to stay inside. I preferred practicing piano, saxophone and conducting, or reading history, or drawing pictures or designing buildings (I considered architecture as a career).
Having great Passion is exciting. It gives my life purpose. It keeps me learning new and interesting things. Passion keeps my soul refreshed, and my mind sharp.
“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.” ― Vincent van Gogh
I’ve tried to have Passion about everything in my life – except dusting and cleaning the kitchen. I’ve learned to begin a Passion for cooking. At 49, I believe it is important to maintain Passion – not just for music, theatre and history – but for new things I’ve not considered. Thus, the reason for my LIVE OUT LOUD list for this upcoming year leading to my 50th birthday.
Sometimes, having great Passion is difficult. Finding those who share similar Passion is oft rare, and a bit frustrating.
There are those I am sure who believe me eccentric and odd because my Passions for music, theatre and history are peculiar. But I look at those who’ve had a direct impact on my life: Joshua Logan and Fred Waring, and those who’ve inspired me: Walt Disney, The Wright Brothers, Abraham & Mary Lincoln, John & Abigail Adams, Harry Truman, Frank Lloyd Wright, Oscar Hammerstein II, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill… they each had a great passion. Many thought they were peculiar.
I am in great company.
“Passion is a feeling that tells you: this is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. This feeling is so good that it cannot be ignored. I’m going to follow my bliss and act upon this glorious sensation of joy.” ― Wayne W. Dyer
The other day, I inquired of a young friend about an upcoming concert, and received, what I believed to be a curt answer that nothing had changed since my last inquiry.
These are the moments when I sometimes wish my passions were not so great. I always wish to know more about process (one of my other passions). Many friends and colleagues who share similar passions don’t often understand my thirst for details, and my excitement for certain things. This often sets me apart, and alone, from the crowd.
I will admit that when I am attending a concert, theatre production, or exploring a historical site, I am filled with child-like excitement. My back seldom touches the back of a chair when music, or a theatrical moment stirs me. When I become engaged in a discussion about my Passions, I become enthusiastic, and quite animated.
I am sure these pitfalls of my Passions can be irritating to those who must endure them, even if temporarily.
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
― John Adams
Despite moments like this, I am still grateful, and feel blessed, I have Passion. Passion has fueled my veins my entire life.
When I no longer have Passion, I pray my breath ceases, for life will be at its close.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” –Erma Bombeck