Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On Passion and Purpose

Today I watched delightedly (and belatedly) while Damaris Phillips cried tears of joy as she was named this season's Food Network Star. I'm a sucker for these types of competition shows, be it Cupcake Wars or Design Star or, back in the earlier seasons, American Idol. I love a good competition and, finally, I've figured out why.

There's a passion and dedication that oozes out of the competitors. Each person who has made it to the televised competition has convinced judges that they have what it takes to be a star. Their love of what they do shines and drives them to be the best, to make their dreams come true.

That passion inspires me. Seeing people pursue what they love publicly, with as much effort and commitment as they possibly can makes me want to do the same. But sometimes it makes me check myself.

Could I leave my family for weeks at a time in order to get a job done? Could I stay up late every night, knowing I'd only get a couple of hours of sleep, so that I could develop ideas and work on manuscripts? Could I choose my writing over my friendships and marriage? Should I? Do I have to? Do I want to?

These questions run through my head all the time. Especially now that my free time, my writing time, is so very, very limited. I spend so little time writing these days that I wonder: Do I have the passion that I need to write the stories that are brewing inside me every day? Is it really my purpose to do so?

And then I sit down at my computer on the rare occasion that I have set aside some writing time, and the words start to flow. The ideas percolate and they spill out onto the page. I may not get much done, but that feeling of fervor, of desire and NEED, bubbles up inside of me and I think, "Yes. I have the passion. This IS my purpose."

Even when I'm not writing--when my days have become so full of diaper changes, baby play, and household chores that I'm way too exhausted to squeeze in even the tiniest bit of writing--that passion lingers. My spirit knows my purpose and I crave the opportunity to boot up the computer and put words together to make sentences that flow into paragraphs filled with meaning, paragraphs that pile up into stories that will touch someone else.

I look forward to those moments with longing and I know that, some day, I'll be the one displaying passion and purpose as I type on my keyboard, creating my newest work of literature. In the meantime, I'm directing that passion into my family, storing up stories that will find their way to the page when time allows. And I'm watching other people pursue their passions and live their dreams as a reminder that my dreams are still there, waiting to be realized.

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