Great and Wise, Marty’s amazing doctor, once told me a brief story about a bad weekend he once had. He told me he was home with his family and he just didn’t feel himself and was being a bit of grouch around the house. Apparently Mrs. Great and Wise caught on to the bad mood kind of weekend he was having and sent him out of the house, to work. He said he went to his clinic, talked with a couple of patients and actually saw a couple of people and immediately felt better. This is a guy who loves what he does, who is driven to help. What I heard was a man living his passion.
I read and follow the blog of a woman I have never met named Kit. Kit is a remarkably multi-talented woman who occasionally posts videos of herself playing Native American flutes she has made. She once posted a succession of videos of her working and smoothing and then playing one of her flutes. What I saw was a woman passionate about what she was doing. I don’t know Kit, I admire Kit, and I could see through the filter of the electronic maze how much she loved what she was doing.
My trainer, Gretchen, loves to make me sweat. She has this really delicious and wicked smile when I groan just a bit as she hands me the medicine ball. She starts her day somewhere north of 6 a.m. with something called a boot camp which I suspect is about as bad as it sounds. She is still jazzed, smiling and challenging at the end of her day because she loves what she does. Gretchen is driven to physically challenge herself and her clients because of her passion.
Marty was a passionate woman about many things. Marty would play the piano until this one little spot in her back really started to ache. I can’t tell you how many times I watched her play, eyes closed, head moving just a little to the beat of the song, completely lost in the music. Our first major furniture purchase was a piano, it was not a nice to have, it was a must have because of her passion, her need to be touched by the music. She felt a palpable connection and passion to the piano and the music she made from it.
We once had the opportunity to tour the Sagrada Familia, a Catholic cathedral in Barcelona Spain. It’s been under construction since 1882 and is still only about ½ finished. That’s what I saw, this immense very elaborate cathedral that needed to be finished. Marty, looking at the church with different eyes and with a different heart was entranced by the soaring spires, the carvings, the stories the building told her. She walked around the building completely amazed with tears in her eyes, she was moved, I just kept moving and looking and watching her.
I have always been envious of people like Great and Wise, Kit, Gretchen and Marty. I always wanted to have a vocation or even an avocation where I felt great passion. It just never was.
Yes I loved and cared and was passionate about my family and my children. Yes, as a born and bred Texan I was and still am a Dallas Cowboys fan (as hard as that is now), but I have always struggled, I have always wanted to feel that burning, driving need to do some thing. On the whole I enjoyed my work, I loved working with people, but I never once felt a compulsion, an obsession to do it. It just never was, until…..
…..Until I saw Marty lying in the ICU at Parkland Hospital after the surgery from her first stroke. As I said, I had felt passion before, the good and bad kind, the love and anger; I just hadn’t felt it the same way I did when I first walked down the aisle of the ICU and into Marty’s curtained off area. When I saw her laying there with all of the tubes and machines and blood crusted in her hair I found my great drive, my beautiful obsession, my passion.
Marty always wanted me to be more passionate, more demonstrative about things, about her. She clearly went to a lot of pain and trouble to get me there. But there I am, what never was, is. I now completely understand and I feel the obsession, I feel the compulsion, I feel the need, I feel the passion. It took me 50 years to find my passion and it turned out, like so many things, it was always there, right beside me.