Talk about the Passion

Some of us were talking about passion the other day.  We all want to feel passionate about something. We want to care, deeply, and be energized and engaged and excited.

And yet we all have run into passion that has gotten in the way, has caused its owner to lose perspective, has numbed prudence, has been fanned into flames of anger or destruction.

Can one care too deeply for something?   Does the passion that expresses itself via the red face, the shouting or cutting remark really stand in for something else?  Shame? Insecurity? Fear? A heart too sizes to small (to quote Dr. Seuss)? Control issues?

There have been times when I felt passionately about something and somewhere in the middle of my fifth paragraph in conversation about that something with someone else, I suddenly began to have an out-of-body experience.  I suddenly heard myself and thought, this person surely thinks I'm crazy. Or childish. Or just wrong.  I need to shut up.  I can see their eyes glazing over or their lips pursing. But of course I go on to paragraph six because my passion is driving me and maybe I'm not feeling heard.

But then I go off and have a good talk with myself about toning it down, about not caring so much, about just getting on with things without the roller coaster of emotions that comes along with passion.

And then I try to become careful, and measured, to be more even-keeled and philosophical. I tamp down my feelings.  And then I don't take risks; and then I become dull and boring; and then I become less me instead of fully me.

The thing is, there have been times in my past when I let my passions rule me, and the results were not so good. I got myself in trouble or ended up somewhere I didn't mean to be and didn't know what to do about it.  I wondered what a nice girl like me was doing in a place like this.  I admit that there are still times when I'm just afraid of passion.  I'm afraid of being out of control; I'm afraid of being swept away; I'm afraid of looking stupid or getting myself in trouble.

Perhaps that's how Jesus ended up on a cross, because of his passion.  Come to think of it, that's what they call it - his passion.  We read the Passion Narrative twice during Holy Week and we see what happens when things get out of control.

And yet.... And yet God so loved the world.  That's God's passion.  For us.  Out of God's exuberance the stars and frogs and strawberries and the mountains and wild oceans and we were created.  Unbridled passion, that.

We enjoy God's passion for us, I preach it all the time, but we don't really want to end up like Jesus. We don't want to have that kind of passion if it ends up with that kind of result.  I know I don't.  I want some kind of safe passion, but the truth is, I don't think such a thing exists.


Ray Barnes said…
I think you're right about fearing that being passionate about something or someone means losing control, but I also think that sometimes we need to let go of the reins and just let passion take us to the extreme heights.
If we always play safe, we are surely not really living our lives.
Obviously wild enthusiasm for any cause or belief or person needs to be tempered with a degree of common sense, but sometimes it is good not to be looking over your shoulder and just to 'go with the flow'.
I think, as you do, that there is no such thing as 'safe' passion.
Thanks, Ray. I find that it depends on the subject as to whether I can let go the reins. Sometimes it's easy, and other times it seems impossible.