It’s amazing the people you meet when you go to a cafe. Mothers taking a break from parenting. Corporate workers having power meetings over numerous cups of caffeine. Students procrastinating by stalking social media instead of working on the essay that’s due in at midnight. So many different people with so many different stories to tell. Some people you meet but they don’t linger in your life or in your mind, but every now and then, some people make you stop and pause.
While sitting at a cafe in North Sydney one morning, drinking my coffee and reading a book before I was to head in for work, I got to talking with the coffee man at the cafe. We chatted about the book I was reading and that turned into a conversation about screenplays and writing and both of us sharing about what we write. Turned out that this guy was writing a screenplay while he was travelling and working and the moment he started speaking about it, the fire just sparked in his eyes. You know those people who are just passionate and on fire about something? He was one of those. He stood there, his whole frame radiating excitement in a restrained and contained way, trying to keep it at bay. Though as much as he tried, it was in his eyes. The passion just shone through and I gotta say, was a little contagious. Within a few minutes he had my undivided attention. My book forgotten, I was literally turned in my seat, facing him and listening to him talk. He didn’t tell me what the screenplay was about, he just said that he was writing a screenplay. He told me him he was a crazy French dreamer who dreamed with his eyes open. He wasn’t really crazy, just a revolutionary man (his words) with a vision and stories to tell. Stories that seemed to be swirling in his mind wanting to come out; characters that were bursting to jump onto the stage or screen and tell their stories.
It’s not often you meet people with a burning passion that is all but pouring out of them. Most people are passionate about something; their family, faith, injustice, love, or whatever else lights a fire in their soul. We all have something that’s important to us, but not all of us live and breathe it. I’ve met people in my life that are so passionate about something that it’s almost palpable; you could practically reach out and touch it. Their passion is what drives them, it’s what gets them up in the morning and what keeps them holding on through the storms. I have a few passions that are, I think, evident in my life. My faith in Christ and His unconditional love being the main one. My faith is what keeps me holding on during the darkest seasons of life, seasons where you can’t see the stars because they are blocked out by thunderous clouds. It’s what keeps me strong when I’ve been hurt and betrayed and am feeling discouraged by people and their actions. It’s what makes me want to gather up all the hurt and broken people in a massive group hug and tell them they are loved. It’s all those reasons and so many more that drive me to show the love of Christ to people, to let people know they are loved abundantly from Heaven. But it’s my passion in it that makes me look past what people say and do and try to show them love. I say try because I’m human and there are times when my ‘love everyone’ attitude gets so tested that I want to lash out. There have been times when I have lashed out, and it has been so far from ‘love thy neighbour’ it wasn’t funny. But my passion keeps reminding me that I need to keep trying and keep loving people.
Not everyone will agree with my views, and that’s okay. Each to their own. We’re not all going to agree on everything and my passion may be silly or stupid in someone else’s eyes. Again, each to their own. We don’t need to all agree, we just need to respect each others view and live and let live. We all have something that drives us, but it’s what we do with it that makes the difference. It’s the way it manifests itself in our lives and relationships and actions that counts. I’ve seen passion for something turn into an unhealthy obsession, resulting in people losing their job, their marriage and their relationships because they were so caught up with their passion that it took precedence over everything else. I’ve seen people walk away from anyone that didn’t agree with their passion, choosing to walk alone unless everyone fell in line with their views. We’ve all seen how passion for some twisted ideology has made people leave their country and go fight in a bloody war, choosing to take someone’s life if they didn’t agree to do what they were told. Or starting up a cult and dictating that everyone live by some twisted doctrine that preaches everything that is the opposite to love. It’s in those situations and scenarios that passion can take a dangerous turn, driving people to divide and spread hate or evil.
But I’ve also seen the way someone’s passion changed them from the inside out; renewed them and made them a better person. I’ve seen people develop compassion, empathy and love because they found something they were passionate about and it opened their eyes to the world around them. I’ve seen passion spread like wildfire amongst a group, driving them to move heaven and earth just so they could help people. A passion for injustice that makes people walk away from a comfortable existence and a well-paying job to go to third world countries to help the hurting and broken; the forgotten and abandoned. Passion for a cause can start a revolution. Or a revolt.
Passion is what feeds our actions, good or bad. It’s what sits beneath the surface of our words, giving voice to what is within the depths of our heart and soul. And it plays a big part in who we are. Whatever your passion may be: money, fitness, family, faith, injustice, food, let it be something that makes your life, and the lives of those around you, better. Let it be something that leaves people better than when you first met them. Let it be something that is contagious, that has people asking you about the smile it brings to your face and the joy it reflects in your eyes. And above all else, let it be something that generates love and peace. Be blessed xx