Monday, April 16, 2012

What Am I Passionate About

My friend and I were talking the other evening. Through many twists and turns our conversation found its way to things we're passionate about. Yeah we talked some about love languages and spiritual gifts. But the discussion really ended up being what are you passionate about? And how can you use the gifts you've been given to fuel that passion?

So what is my passion and what am I passionate about? I'll see if I can figure out that.

Let's start with my love languages.

My strongest love language is gifts. I love getting (and giving) gifts. But that doesn't mean I have the gift of giving. On the contrary. It's the little things that make me happy. I remember being in college and a friend would leave a note on my dorm room door, either written on the dry erase board or attached to the door with a sticker. I was literally over the moon for the next several hours, sometimes days, because that little "gift" made me happy. I've learned to funnel that energy into gifts I give my friends (homemade blankets, boxes of cookies, soup and spice mixes, etc). I've even made a scrapbook for a friend. I don't expect compensation for these things. Because when someone has asked me to make a blanket and paid me for it, I've lost the joy in it.

My next strongest love language is acts of service. And this actually ties into one of my strong spiritual gifts. I enjoy doing little things for people. Like making them a meal or something like that. Once again that is the whole gifts things loud and clear. But it's also a service to others.

But am I passionate about serving? No, not really. I serve in areas I enjoy. And I know that those are the areas I need to be in.

My strongest spiritual gift is hospitality. I love love love to host things. And to just make people feel welcome. It's part of the reason that I love Mary Kay. Yes I'm bringing my favorite job into this conversation. I was told recently that you know it's a good fit for me if I talk about it all the time. While I don't care for my corporate job, I love my Mary Kay. And the excitement for it shows in my voice and my eyes sparkle. Am I passionate about it? Yes, to an extent.

Writing. I love to write. I actually dabble in it more than anything else. For me writing does two things: 1. It lets me live in a fictional world where it's just me and the characters and life is great. And 2, it's a release for me. When it's a release, my writing becomes more like poetry, in free-verse with no rhyme or rhythm, but it gets my thoughts on paper. Here are a couple samples of my writing.


This first one is one I wrote years ago as part of a writing prompt.

I slowly turned the truck into the lane leading to the house that I'd glimpsed from a distance. As I drove up to view the house closer, my mind was racing with stories about who had lived in it. What had happened to the family? Did they run into hard times? Had a loved one died and the family members forgot about the old homestead when they all moved away?

My truck came to a stop in front of the broken, sagging porch. I put the truck into park, turned off the engine, and climbed out. I approached this house very softly. In some ways, I felt a sense of mystery, almost as if the house was begging me to come and explore every nook and cranny in order to tell its story. In other ways, I felt a sense of forboading, as if I would discover something that was dangerous and cruel.

I climbed up the rickety steps. Each step that I took just begged me to continue on this journey. As my hands caressed the worn railings, I felt as if I should know this porch and this house.

Slowly, I opened the door that was hanging on one hinge. As I pushed open door, letting in the sunlight, my eyes took in the single room. There in the corner sat a rocking chair. The roof had fallen in in many places allowing the trees to grow through the remaining portions of the roof. But, it was the rocking chair in the corner that drew my attention. I moved towards it as if in a trance.

My fingers reached out to touch the fine maple wood of the chair's back. Slowly, I ran my hands over the intricate designs that the years and the elements had not touched. My fingers knew these designs. I knew that the chair would be smooth to sit in and as it rocked, it would make no sound. How I knew these things about this chair, I didn't know.

I sank into the smooth chair and slowly began to rock back and forth and back and forth. I rocked back over the years and the memories came.


*****************


"Jackie," I heard a voice calling me from inside the house. I was a child of five and was spending the summer with my great-grandparents at the Farm. I loved to roam through the farmlands that Grampa Felix tended. At the moment that my great-grandmother was calling me, I was up in the branches of the dogwood tree growing beside the front porch.

"Coming Gramma Rose," I called back as I climbed down the tree. I dusted off my pinafore, and splashed water on my hot face as I entered the house. Gramma was sitting in her favorite spot. The rocking chair in the corner.

I took my spot at her feet and waited for her to speak. She put her old, wrinkled hand upon my mussed strawberry-blonde curls. "Jackie, my child," she said as her sightless eyes stared off in the distance. "You've been in the tree again, haven't you?"

I knew better than to lie to her. "Yes, ma'am," I replied.

"Child, when will you ever turn into a lady," she asked me with a smile. I knew that she wasn't too upset with me, so I didn't say anything.

"Jackie, child," she said after a minute. "Have I ever told you the story of this chair?"

"No, Gramma, you haven't," I replied.

"Your Grampa Felix made this chair for me when I was expecting your grandmother. I was misrable and he wanted to show me how much he loved me. Everyday, he would disappear into the barn and work. I didn't know what he was doing in there. Then a few days before Christmas, he presented me with this rocker. He had spent hours sanding down the wood and carving the designs into the back. I'd never known he was so talented with wood.

"This chair has been my stillpoint. It has been where I sat and rocked my babies. It was where I wept for the loss of my son in the Great War. Where I wept over the failed marriage of my baby girl. Where I held my grandbabies. It's been my refuge since I lost my sight. It's where the Good Lord speaks to me the most often, child.

"I want you to know that even though life will give you troubles, Jesus is always with you."


****************

With a sudden start, I stopped rocking. That summer was the last time that I saw my Gramma Rose. She died the following winter. After that, my parents didn't want me going to the Farm anymore. They said it would bring back too many memories. As I grew, I forgot all about the Farm and Gramma Rose's little lessons on life. When Grampa Felix died when I was eight, no one once remembered Gramma's rocker or thought to ask after it. Grandmother Anne and Grandfather felt it best that the Farm stay in the family, but no one lived there. As the years passed, the Farm fell into disrepair. Eventually, it was sold.

Now, here I am, a woman grown. I research stories for a living. Yet, I seem to have forgotten the lessons that Gramma Rose tried to teach me. How had I lost my childhood faith? Was it from not having time to go to church in high school? Was it being focused on my career goals in college? Was it getting married and starting my own family? I didn't have the answers to those questions any more than I had the answers to the questions about the house.

My cell phone chirped. "Hello," I said through my tears.

"Jackie, where are you? You were supposed to be here an hour ago," I heard my husband say with exasperation in his voice.

"Brad, honey," I tried to begin. "Something's happened, and..."

"Jackie, are you alright," the concern that replaced the frustration started my tears again.

"I'm fine," I sniffed. "It's just that I found Gramma Rose again. I found the Farm. And, honey, I found the most important thing of all."

"What is that," Brad asked.

"I found my childhood faith. Jesus has never left me like I thought that He did."

"Jackie, that's great, now how soon will you be here,"

"I'll be there soon. I promise. I just have to get one thing before I leave."

"And what's that?"

"Gramma's rocking chair."


This second one is one of my poems.

“I have always loved you,”
I heard him say
Across the hospital bed
As she lay there.
In response,
The monitor shuddered
Came to life
A brief second---
Then it was gone
Still, silent, calm.
Tears were falling
He was sobbing
In the arms of his son
Daughters crying
Grandchildren too
All grown, yet grieving
In the midst of it all
Their love story beckoned
Beckoned to be heard
Never knew that they
Were each other’s only love.
True soul mates.


I recently heard the story of how my grandparents got together. I've decided to write their story. I think it's beautiful. I've got it partially written. And my epilogue is forever ingrained in my memory, so it'll be fun to write. The poem above is the basis of the epilogue.

So am I passionate about writing? Yes, sorta. But I'm also passionate about books. I love to read. And I love to share my love of reading with anyone who listens.

I think that once you discover what your passion is, that you need to do whatever it takes to use that passion. It may be writing. It may be finding a spot to serve. I don't know. But I do know that if you utilize the gifts that God has given, then no matter what your passion is, as long as you're doing it to glorify Him, then you'll be happy and content.

I'm rambling a little tonight and am a bit tired. So I'm not sure if this is making any sense whatsoever.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing some of your writing. I was definitely sucked into the story as I read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad. Of course I've taken that short piece and I have saved on the computer parts of a story making that one longer. I'm no where near finished with it. I think I have about 3 paragraphs outside of this short piece.

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