Living with Passion in a Too “Cool” World

By David

As many of you know, Lee and I have 9 – count ‘em – 9, grandchildren. Eight are with us on this earth and Zach is in Heaven. They’re all wonderful in their own unique ways and we get to be with them a lot, thanks to their good mommies and daddies.  Some information you might want to file away for use some day: whoever said (and many people have to us recently!) that having small children in your home will “keep you young”; they don’t know what they’re talking about!

Living daily, once again, with small children and being with our grandchildren almost daily as well, has however, helped me see and experience some things that I had forgotten. Perhaps, the most important thing I’ve observed is that children live lives of PASSION. They don’t just go do something – they RUN to do it, and expect us to follow.  Observing this passion in them has caused me to also reflect on the fact that so often I don’t live with passion. This realization really concerns me and I don’t think I’m the only one.

If you were at our house, you would see these kids who aren’t in any way concerned yet with being “cool”. Unlike us, they haven’t yet been affected by the off times unsubtle pressure that being “cool”, i.e. “passionless”, is the way we should and are expected to live our lives. We are urged and sometimes even intimidated not to show too much emotion less we be labeled unstable by the “cool” world we live in. We can’t cry and we mustn’t laugh too much – we must calmly take things as they come, always maintaining our “cool”.  I’m reminded of a story about 2 good ole southern boys out hunting one day, dressed in all their requisite hunting regalia (camouflage, weapons, boots, etc.). As they round a curve on a path in the woods, they make eye contact with a giant grizzly about 100 yards away (yea, there grizzlies in the south in this story). The bear, obviously very mean and hungry, immediately starts charging and chasing the two boys. One of the boys starts to panic while the other one calmly sits down on the path and begins to remove his boots and put on tennis shoes he has in his backpack. Watching his friend remain so calm in changing shoes, the other boy says, “What do you think you are doing? Are you crazy? Don’t you know that just by putting on tennis shoes you can’t outrun that bear?” The clam one replied, “ I don’t have to – I just have to outrun YOU!”

A funny story for sure, but I believe it may just be saying something to us as we look at our lives from the perspective of passion. Nobody had to tell these boys to run, they were motivated! I would guess that your life is somewhat similar to mine (minus the small children, perhaps) – you’re busy up to your eyeballs with just living day-to-day that you don’t have time to have passion. Couple this busyness of life with fatigue and boredom that come with aging, and we end up looking like the very antithesis of the kids that started this whole discourse. We get caught up in the values of our culture, tolerance, self-reliance, independence, self-absorption, and wonder where the passion is. Do you, like me, find it strange and frustrating that living a life of passion never even crosses children’s minds, yet they do – while we reflect, worry and desire too, but so often can’t quite pull it off!?

So what do we do? Take more vitamins? That may help for a while but it won’t solve the real problem. How about just “faking it” – pretending that we are excited and engaged? That will only last until we’re knocked down again with reality – it just want last and we can’t just “whip it up” in our minds and hearts. What about going shopping, buying that boat or car that we’ve always wanted, or doing something to add some “real” excitement to our lives – surely that will work? Remember a man named King Solomon – that’s exactly what he thought and tried, but it didn’t work for him either and he had it all!  So again I ask, what do we do? How do we grab and maintain this life of passion that we all so desperately desire in our lives?

Paul, in his benediction in his first letter to the young church in Thessalonica, divinely reveals in verse 5:18 what I truly believe holds the key to living a life of passion: “in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. I’ll bet your saying to your self right now: “David, get a grip – this verse doesn’t even mention “passion”, where are you headed with this?” I believe what God is telling us in this short verse is simply this: you want passion? – then have a spirit of thankfulness. What we must do is realize and accept by faith, once and for all: that God, the creator and sustainer of everything, is sovereign and in control; that He desires only the best for us; that for us Christians, all things will work together for our good (Rom 8:28); and, finally, if we just thank Him for everything, we are fulfilling His will in our lives through Jesus! If we can even partially comprehend this, how can we not excitedly live life? Our God only asks that we thank Him and thereby recognize His glory in EVERY THING!

Notice, too, that Paul doesn’t say, “Thank Him for every thing that we ‘think’ is good or we perceive to be good”.  No, EVERYTHING. We are to thank Him for the health of our child and maybe one day, the death of our child. We are to thank him for our job and maybe one day, for being let go from that job. We are to be thankful for our husband/wife, and maybe one day for that divorce. I don’t understand any of this, but I do know this is what the Bible says: thank Him for everything – period. If we do and start to get a glimmer of who He really is and how He really loves us, we’ll live each minute with passion. Not passion dependent on our own feeble efforts, easy prey of our circumstances and emotions, but flowing through us, a gift of God.

Now, if you will, please excuse me. I’m going outside to play in the sprinkler with the kids.

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