Passion is an intense, driving feeling or conviction. I am passionate about my faith and connecting it to daily life. I am passionate about my family. I am passionate about physical exercise. I am passionate about being out in nature far from the peopled byways. All of these challenge and enliven me.
There’s a character in a movie titled Peaceful Warrior called Socrates. He’s a very wise and intelligent fellow who says, “Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is, most people don’t live at all.”
Passion, of course, varies in degree depending on the item in focus. Part of wisdom is the ability to discern the relative importance of various passions . . . how much dedicated effort can be justified for each. It’s an ongoing balancing act that takes purposeful concentration. But the sadness to which Socrates refers is having basically no passions at all.
Antonyms of passion are apathy, indifference, disinterest. Those characteristics make for an existence often leading to the feeling that life isn’t worth much. In Act 4 of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet says: “What is a man if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.”
To be sure, the upkeeping of various aspects of life – responsibilities that accompany the requisites of daily living – can be demanding. But I would posit that one needs to identify and pursue some passion that fans the inner fire of life which abides in every human being. A job digging holes might only be what pays the electric bill. Digging holes as an amateur archeologist might get the juices flowing at warp speed.
Part of the balancing act is to watch out that a passion doesn’t turn into an obsession. But, indeed, all of us need something(s) that spark life in ways that punching a time clock might not do.