“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” --Howard Thurman
Have you ever watched a grown man turn into an excited little boy right before your eyes? Or witness a woman so filled with energy that she glows like a kid at the circus? Those transformational moments are Passion—with a capital P. They are life-giving not only for the participant, but also for the lucky bystanders.
We can find passion in the most ordinary of things. I can only imagine the delight and playfulness that God has for creation. Saturday, I had the pleasure of witnessing a man share his passion. Kevin Pogue is a professor of geology (among other things) at Whitman College in Walla Walla and this past weekend led a tour of the wine country land around the area.
While I enjoy a nice glass of wine, I am certainly no connoisseur; and, although I love digging in my garden, I distinctly remember being bored to death in my freshman geology class (Rocks with Ross) at Oklahoma State University. Saturday, however, the earth came alive and took on new dimensions as we stood in the hot Eastern Washington sun mesmerized by our tour guide.
We learned about basalt and loess (a fancy word for dirt) and the Walla Walla valley’s alluvial fan (a term I kind of remembered from geology class). We heard how finer grapes are produced when the root has to struggle for water. We were wowed by a vineyard planted in 30 feet deep river rock with flourishing rose bush sentries guarding each row.
All of those things were delightfully captivating and upon reflection I wondered how that happened to be. Now it could be that I have matured and my attention span increased since my freshman geology class over 30 years ago. Possibly it is because I have significantly more interest in the earth and creation that surrounds me every day. While both observations are probably true, I would have to say the magic of the day came in watching and listening to someone do what they truly love. Think about this, he was talking about DIRT for goodness sake.
Nevertheless, when he stood on the side of a small “Grand Canyon,” warned us to steer clear of the rim that has been known to “spontaneously disintegrate” and then said, “what the heck” and charged off the side of the cliff, he became a young spirit romping through the tall, probably rattlesnake-infested grass to show us what he wanted to communicate. While we gasped from our safe viewpoint and muttered, “Oh, I wish he hadn’t done that,” the earth transformed from just dirt and the man transformed from a middle-aged person into a passionate being that made even the most inert of objects (rocks and dirt) become exciting and interesting. It was truly a gift to behold and experience. Now that is Passion!
Oh, that we could all find what makes us come alive. Tell me. What is your passion? Do you know?
photos by bill hughlett (another man sharing his passion!)