I have found myself stumbling from one activity to another - loving the learning and experiences I gather from each however, not truly finding a passion in any of it. I feel a lot of times, the activities I engage in are out of responsibility and duty. Whether it be the duty I have in my profession to network and expand my contacts to help grow the Company to the duty I have to staying in touch with friends and family and making sure they know how life is going and meeting up with them every now and then. Don't get me wrong - I love doing most of the things I do...it just seems like I lack something in it all.
Recently I have started a list in my head of the major events that have happened over the course of my life. This is a process one of my life mentors has challenged me to do. Obviously, birth is the first event (even though I can't remember it). It sparked every other occurrence in my life. As I went along, the things that started sticking out the most have been my experiences away. The times that molded me the most from junior high and high school were at church camp in New Mexico. I remember waiting all year long for that ONE week a year where I got to see these folks that were so important to the development in my life. Whether it be friends who lived in cities that were not close to me so we only got to see each other this one time a year - to the teachers and counselors who probably still to this day don't realize how much I looked up to them and watched them so closely and tried to mimic their lives. I loved camps - and now I have been the camp director for 2 years (will be again next summer) and I love it. I would say camp is one of my passions because I believe in the change it has for the better in the kids' lives.
In college there were two major experiences away from the campus that shaped me. The first was my time spent in Chattanooga, TN offering ministry in the downtown area for the month of January. I loved learning how to relate to folks that weren't like me. Learning that folks have much harder lives than me was an eye opener. You always read stories, but to hear them first hand from children - about their parents who are out on the streets...doing "street things" - leaving their children at the homes to fend for themselves...small children learning adult things as they struggle to raise their younger siblings. Searching through garbage cans to find food to feed them...hiding under mattresses when gun shots were fired through the windows...etc. Stories that would make anyone shiver. I grew so much in such a short time. I learned what exactly showing Christ's love to someone truly meant. I learned a little bit about judging people without knowing them. I learned how to see through someone else's eyes and learned that maybe the things you see people do is not who they really are...it is survival. Through this I found that I have a passion for learning to love people. Learning to love no matter how rough the edges may be but working to get past what you may see on the outside and truly seeing how I believe Christ sees his children.
The second experience in college was my trip to Peru. I found out that I have a passion for culture and being immersed in it. I was out of my comfort zone probably 90% of the trip. I could barely remember the Spanish I was taught in high school and the culture there is so different. Still I managed to make friends and I managed to learn a lot about their culture. I would LOVE to go back one day and spend time living with a family there. I think my best memory from the whole trip is when we traveled into the mountains to help build chimney stoves with the folks of the village. They spoke Quechua but also knew Spanish and some English. I had just finished helping a family build their stove and the young boy in the family was showing me how to count. He would count in Quechua first and then in Spanish and then in English. I was amazed at someone so young knowing three languages like that! I wished at that moment that I would have studied other languages more and spent my life learning like many in other countries. I would go back to Peru any chance I got and live among the people there. They were all very happy even though as I walked through the villages, I knew instantly that I was in a third world country. I felt horrible bargaining down at the markets for things that were already underpriced. I of course was a poor college student at the time and couldn't afford even underpriced things - but still realized that this is how these folks made their living! It was just incredible! So I believe that traveling and learning about other cultures and the people in them is also a passion of mine.
I have recently discovered a new passion locally. I have spoken about the program before - but Open Table is awesome. I have been involved since June and have been meeting with our Open Table family weekly. Each week it amazes me. On their website they state what they are: Open Table is a growing collaboration of people from faith communities, state and local government, business, education and non-profits who are united in a shared purpose of restoring families in poverty to wholeness and full participation in our communities. What gets me every week is that we truly are making a difference in our family's life. The biggest thing I see is that every person on my table yearns to be a support system for this family. We aren't there to gain something for ourselves - we are there to give ourselves to someone else. I often wonder what it would be like to be on the other side. To be the family in poverty learning to trust the folks there around the table that are helping you. What goes through their minds? Last night we had run their budget and they didn't have enough for gas the next week so everyone through in a little money without hesitation. If I were them - I wouldn't believe my eyes. Most people in our lives wouldn't do the same for us - they probably wouldn't even know we had these struggles. I don't know where I'm going with this - but I do know I am finding my passion in this. I am finding that I want to be involved in making the world a little better for my neighbors. I am finding that my mindset about those living out on the streets and on the side of the road are changing. I find that when I pass someone on the street - I make less and less assumptions about them and instead love them and hope that one day they can find someone to help support them and believe in them enough to get out of their situation. I know that folks make mistakes now that ultimately lead to their downfall - but that doesn't mean they can't learn to change. Anyway - that's all about that I suppose. I keep rambling without getting my true point across. heh
Even with all of these things I listed above - I often feel like I lack passion. I want to be doing what I am passionate about yet don't feel it is realistic. My ultimate goal is to figure out how I can live my life here in Arizona with genuine passion. I want to find the activities that feed those passions and be able to have the time to do them. I don't know exactly what that will look like - but I will keep searching and maybe one day it will find me.