Emily M. DeArdo


What's your passion?

essaysEmily DeArdoComment
The biggest thing for me is the passion that I’ve always had for hockey. I remember growing up, no matter what I did in life, my parents always told me to try to do my best at it and be my best. I can say going through different things that that passion is the most important part. It’s not skills or talent or any of that stuff.
— Sidney Crosby

What are you passionate about? 

Is that a strange question? 

I don't think it should be. I think it should be something we ask people all the time. Instead of "what do you do", it should be, "What are you passionate about?" 

What we do doesn't really tell us a lot about a person. "I'm a manager at Widget Co." "I'm a speechwriter." "I'm a teacher." Sure, it can help us find some common ground. But when people used to ask me what I did, I told them, and they thought it was the coolest thing in the world. In truth, after doing it for about five years, it wasn't nearly so cool to me anymore. I worked to live, I didn't live to work--but I knew people who did, in my workplace. 

My passions have always been writing, music, theater, reading, cooking, hockey....I could keep going. I have a lot of passions. :) Some of them are dependent on other people, like theater. If I don't get cast in a show, then obviously I won't be doing a show. But that doesn't stop my love of it. 

Being good at something isn't the same thing as being passionate about it. You can be good at something and hate it. You can love something and be rubbish at it. (Like people who love music, but are tone-deaf) I love hockey, but let me tell you, I'd never be able to actually play it. I recognize my limitations. 

A great thing is when passion and work coincide. Now, for artists, it might never happen. It's hard to make a living from art. Everyone knows that. Some people are very lucky, and they succeed in that area, but not all of us do. But I think a mark of passion is doing it for free. I've done theater where I'm paid for my work. I've done more theater where I do it without any pay. And really, the enjoyment I get out of both is about the same. Sure, I like and Appreciate the money I get from doing paid shows. But it's not a requirement for me. If I hate the show, I'm going to hate it whether or not I'm making money from it. I put in the same amount of preparation and approach it the same way, money or no. When I'm drawing, I know I'm not going to get any money for it. I'm doing it because it's fun. 

It isn't always fun. There are times when the words aren't coming, when the scene's not jelling, when the lines on the paper look absolutely terrible. And that happens in anything. Sports teams lose. Plays flop. Books are panned in the New York Times. But people keep playing, acting, writing. 

We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
— Henry James

God made each of us for a unique reason. No other person can bring to the world what each of us can bring to it. Part of that is our passion. What do we love? What skills and talents has God given us to bring His beauty and truth to the world? Because that's part of what good art does, incidentally. It makes us think about the world and our place in it, and our relationships. 

If artists don't make much money off of their love, then those who love God "for a living" really don't. Nuns are often told that their lives are "wasted" in service to God. "What, you want to pray all day? What is that about?" But they love God and His people so much that they're going to give their entire lives to the service of them. 

God loved us so much he sent his only son to die for us. That's passion. That's love. 

A passion can really be anything. Crossword puzzles, Tudor history, football, politics, knitting, housekeeping, cooking, math, mystery novels, fishing, quilting, travel, oil painting, fossils--whatever. What do you love to do? Our lives need passion. We weren't designed to just do utilitarian things. We need passion in our lives. 

Find your passion, and dedicate work to it. It takes hard work to be good at something. Passion ensures that the work is enjoyable, even when it's really not. If you've seen the movie Miracle, you know about the scene where the players are skating back and forth across the ice in endless drills as Herb Brooks barks, "again!" That was not fun. But that's what's needed, to be really good at what you do. Hard work serves the desire. If you hate playing the piano, it doesn't matter how great you might be at it. You might be blessed with long fingers and great technique. But that's not any good if you hate it. 

Find a passion, and work at it. Enjoy it. They make life a lot more fun, and they serve the special gifts that God has given only you to have and perfect. 

What's your passion? What makes you excited to get up in the morning?