I love to take really long, really hot showers. I’ve installed a Home Depot super fan to prevent moisture build-up while I sit in a sauna-type atmosphere collecting my thoughts. This environment has become more important to me since I’ve had kids for a couple of reasons: I don’t take as many showers as I used to, opting instead for chasing the kids around and playing with them (or making sure they don’t put their heads through windows… again); also, it is usually the one place of respite in the house. It’s a time not to be interrupted. Open doors mean a loss of heat in the room, as well as the hijacking of my stream of consciousness (If you’re not feeling better about yourself by way of comparison to me by now, something needs to fixed in your life).
This morning, my shower sanctuary was not to be. My eldest son came bursting in with our huge Star Wars Lego Visual Dictionary (yes, ours, get over it). He plopped it down on the floor and proclaimed he had discovered what he really, really wanted for his birthday (in about 10 months’ time). “It’s down in this corner, dad.” He directed while pointing to a smallish picture of a huge Millennium Falcon set. Good taste, I thought. I posited to him that we should check the suggested age limit on the set to see if it would be a good fit. He ran out, leaving the door open. A few seconds later, at the request of his father, he came back and slammed the door shut. Five subsequent visits later — all of which followed the same general pattern described above — we had determined that this was in fact a great idea, having discussed piece count, age limits and the length to his birthday.
Passion disregards traditional boundaries: excitement must be shared. Certainly, this can be expressed negatively in a manner that lacks respect. But in this moment, it seemed that stifling another person’s passion would not benefit anyone. Passion full of hope needs to be nurtured, not only externally, to and by others, but also within our own being. I’m curious, do you know what your passions are? The things that drive you?
As someone who attempts to help others find their vocation in life, I often look for signs of passion in others. There is one small indicator that helps the exploration of personal vocation: that sense of calling that provides fuel for why we do what we do.
I watch body position. I look for the moments in a conversation when someone gets animated. This is a starting point. Frustration over getting cut off while driving or being stuck behind an unaware, glacially slow person in a grocery store line is not often the source of a living-giving vocation. Yet, even small, relatively surface-level pet peeves that provide momentary frustration can help identify deeper principles and driving forces.
When do you lean forward in your chair or pound the table? What topics get you animated? If you don’t know, ask someone you trust to watch you. What you discover may help you understand why you do what you do; not the result you aim for, but the belief that fuels you.
I would love to hear what it is: just not while I’m in the shower, ok?