Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Passion

Part of me hesitates to write about "passion"...our culture, especially our youth and media uses this term so often that it almost loses its intended intensity. Despite that some might think it has been diluted in definition, (i.e. "I'm so passionate about those designer pillows right now!" blech.) I still think it is a powerful way to express what are the important things to you in your life.

Passion is a funny thing, because it can cause such extreme emotion depending on the outcome. Often, people who are passionate about something can be bitterly disappointed that their expectations aren't met...and yet a few months or years later will be at it again - whatever "it" is. Because they can't help themselves. I think to have something qualify as a passion, it should be something that you have a natural talent for/eye for/gift for. It should be something that even if you take time off from it, or life circumstances change the realization of it, you adapt and still seek ways to have it in your life, no matter how difficult. Because without it, you feel a little lost.

At least, these are the ramblings of me, the singer. You might be saying, "sure, but I have way too much on my plate right now, and it's easy for you to just sing at different events or church or whatever and keep your passion going that way." Well, yeah, maybe. But I still had to get to the place where I felt that those venues were "good enough" for me to be satisfied in expression. I still felt like the big stage was where true singers with real talent would end up, and I was determined to not let that escape me. I had a lot of pride built into my vision for my life. So, as many people know...I am not the big singer up on stage who dazzles and gets acclaim and accolades galore and rides high on the music every night of a show. God had other plans for me, at least for this stage of my life. After college - right as things were starting to fall into place musically, right as directors and programs and teachers were starting to take notice and encourage me to audition at all these various places - I decided I was in love and wanted to get married to that person before it passed me by. I was very much in love (and maybe a little blinded by that!), but it was also a choice to let go a little of that dream of mine to head to the big cities and live it up with a single life. Soon after, we began having kids and here I am, housesitting in a beautiful house in a quaint New England town with two adorable boys and a hard-working husband and teaching music part-time.

Sometimes I think, "How did I get here?"

Now, I am in no way saying that getting married = letting your dreams die! Haha, that would be awful, wouldn't it? But, it entails sacrifice and compromise, and one thing I decided to compromise was my desire for the stage. I still sing, quite often, with various local opera companies in their summer and winter concert series, and sing in church quite a bit. I've even done an occassional show, but it is really difficult with young children at home. I decided a while ago that it is just too hard to do a big show at this time - need to wait until the kids are a bit older - might be a while!

I decided this because I am not willing to sacrifice my family for my dream. Even the small amount of time I take away from them now, teaching and occasionally singing smaller gigs can be really difficult. My husband is immensely encouraging, as he is himself a fine singer, and also knows how important it is to me - how passionate I am about communicating through music. I am so grateful for that. I had to change my priorities about my life, and have been realizing that maybe it's not really mine to begin with. I truly believe God gave me my passion for music, specifically a gift for singing, and while I struggle at times with how to realize that, I know I need to continue to hone and prune it for whatever opportunities He brings my way.

This time of life has smaller vocal opportunities, but it is a very short time of life. My children are young, innocent, and trusting. They need me and still want me around. I am going to honor that and live presently with them and my husband. Later, when there is time, I will be able to pursue my passion more ardently. In the meantime, I will look for small opportunities to sing where I can, when it fits, so the talent will not be lost.

On a side note (this post is getting lo-o-o-o-ong!), would you consider following God's plan a passion? Or taking care of your family a passion? Or being a homemaker who keeps a healthy, fun-loving, clean family in their home a passion? (read this blog if you do...another great one!)

I think I would say yes...I have always been trying to follow God's plan for my life beyond any other dreams I might have...even if I wasn't sure what that plan was at the moment. I believe I am passionate about doing right by God. He also gave me this family, even when I was immature and inexperienced and scared, and gave me the tools, knowledge, and passion to care about and for them. I have become very passionate about making our home life intentional and beautiful and clean and loving and happy and on and on and on.

I know there are many other types of passions out there that are seemingly impractical to pursue at certain times of life as well. But I would encourage you to not put those dreams on the shelf permanently. If you are into art, continue taking classes when you can, or a weekend workshop to brush up (ha!) your skills. If you are into drama, see if your church has any spiritual drama ministries you could either start or be a part of. I know I have been immensely blessed by dramatic readings or monologues of Biblical characters that bring the Bible to life. If you are into engineering, find mechanic friends to show you how to tune up your car on the weekend every now and then...

...there are many seemingly simple, creative, everyday ways to rediscover your first passion, whatever it is, at whatever stage of life, alongside new passions you have been given. Being friends with so many new mothers (and myself being one!), I have seen so many friends dive headlong into mothering and forget for a while what they used to pursue in their lives. (um, hello? that was me...still is on occassion) What I start seeing is a little bit of that tired, hopeless look in their eyes and in their manner. And when we get talking, they confess a need to do something that doesn't involve the children, and often doesn't involve the husband as well. I believe this is your passion calling. Don't forget what God first gave you, even if there isn't space or time for it at this present moment. I remind myself of this weekly.

Are you tired of seeing the word PASSION yet? :)

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