This week, I saw a story on TV about a little girl who has a serious illness that requires frequent blood transfusions. The story went on to say that less than five percent of Americans who are able to donate blood actually do. Her special circumstances have sparked a determination in her to make people aware of how important donating blood is, not just for her, but for the twenty-five percent of the American population who will need blood this year. When she isn’t in the hospital or promoting blood drives, she pours her passion into collecting new toys from local individuals and businesses to hand out to other children who are hospitalized. She is compelled to reach out to other sick children because she knows the healing that a toy given in love can bring to a fearful and hurting heart.
This story prompted me to think about how passion drives some people to reach beyond themselves to do amazing things. The entertainment industry is bursting at the seams with reality TV shows that showcase everyday people following their passions to sing, dance, or produce and market their own unique gizmos and gadgets. Then there is the woman whose passionate, yet often sensible approach to environmentalism has caught my attention and nicked my conscience. I also know many people in ministry whose passion for the Lord is almost contagious as they reach out to bless the community around them.
The next obvious question had to be, “Where is my passion?” I couldn’t let go of this question. What determines passion – is it a feeling? Is it the drive to make the most of natural ability? Or is it the heart’s unbridled response to life experience? I couldn’t rest until I found the answer. Finally, I had to stop and ask myself why this was so important. I realized that I wasn’t really looking for my passion. I was looking for my significance, my value. I needed to know – What makes me worth the air I breathe and the space I inhabit on this earth? Now that’s a question I can answer: But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, the One who got you started. I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you. That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. I’m with you. (Isaiah 43:1, 3-5a, The Message, adapted) I only need to read Psalm 139 to be reminded of how intimately God knows me because he created me and he is with me always. 1 John 3:1 tells me that God loves me so much that he calls me his child and Romans 8:38-39 explains that nothing exist now or ever that can separate me from that love.
My passion exists in the words I write and the photos I take. It’s in the music I sing, the quilts I sew, and the worship I bring in my daily life. But my significance, my value, derives from being a child of God, wholly and dearly loved. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV)
About the pictures
Landscape - Marshall Island (August 2009)
Grasshopper - Toronto, Ohio (August 2009)