“People can think correctly and behave rightly and worship politely and still live badly—live anemically, live bored and insipid and trivial lives.”—Eugene H. Peterson, Subversive Spirituality
What does it mean to be alive? Lately, I’ve been thinking about that question and the synonym I use for the word alive: passion. What is passion? How does it work? Why does it matter?
When I first encountered passion—as a toddler when I tasted sugar—it became a sort of wordless wonder that made my little chemical-filled body really, really happy. You know the feeling: a surge of excitement rises from your belly, your eyes widen, and you laugh and smile and holler all at once. You feel giddy, full, protected. You can’t help yourself.
I suppose the next time I recognized passion, I saw it as the fuel that transformed my regular mom and dad into heroes who conquered corporate evils and dirty diapers, who taught me how to hit a softball and read a book. My parents were empowered and equipped to care for others—“Saints with day jobs,” as Robert Benson calls them.
As an adult, I began to connect passion more with a vision that painted canvases, recited poems, or recounted stories in books and theatres and films, making audiences gasp or laugh in response. Changed and moved, I confess that the art of passion or the passion behind creativity still leaves me marveling and wanting to stare.
At more somber times in my life, I’ve been reminded of how passion has been the song that sustains workers in hot fields or victims of unimaginable terror. It is the relentless will to survive, even when all around you is deep sorrow or agonizing suffering. I have been told that in prison cells, hospital rooms, and battlefields, when life’s sting can be excruciating but the grip on hope secure, the songs of passion are sung the loudest.
And the older I get, the more I discover—and rediscover—a passion that guides and grows, a passion full of paradoxes, beauty, and truth. Through passion, meaning erupts from nothing, joy emerges from pain, life-giving water flows from sacrificial blood spilled in crucifixion—the passion of Jesus. Light bursts forth from death’s darkness.
…the art of passion or the passion behind creativity still leaves me marveling and wanting to stare.
I find myself drawn to this place of creative passion, attracted by its many colors and scents, lessons and insights, sounds and wonders. Join me as I discuss the gifts of passion’s creativity from the Giver of all good things.