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Fluffy White Frosting

Text by: Sue E. Peterson, passion pursuer and author of The Mourning Run

What does it take to live life to the fullest? Quotes abound, books tutor, and motivational speakers instruct, but often, the seed of passion is not fully explained or discovered. Perhaps each one of us views passion in a different color. For some it may be red hot, others see it as cool blue, and the younger set may behold passion as bright neon yellow.

Passion touches all the senses. It's a feeling, but again, different for us all. It might be charged with electricity. Comfortable like a big leather chair. Slippery like ice. Hot like a day at the beach.

Taste passion on your tongue. Salty? Sweet? Savory?

Hear it. Classical? Rock? Wind in the trees? Cars on the street?

© Jessica Ceason Photography

I won't lie, this topic has haunted me all month. I wondered if passion had eluded me or vacated my life as I traveled the twisty roads of my existence. Was passion a sock with a hole in the toe? Perhaps I avoided this editorial for fear I was barren of lust for life. If I looked in the mirror — could I see passion smoldering in my eyes? Would I discover I was worn out? Or, heaven forbid, boring?

Maybe I'm not the only one who hears the word passion and thinks it defines someone else.

During this month I have had a front row seat to the tragedies in some loved one's lives, events that easily knock the wind out of even the stalwart. Would I dare utter the word passion to these individuals? It's like asking a drowning man if he's enjoying the water.

But am I thinking of passion as something you only enjoy if all your ducks are in a row and floating on calm waters? Do I only see passion as fluffy white frosting? Is it a heightened sense felt occasionally? Is passion resting on the shelf, only to be taken down on special holidays, like linens and china, and then packed away?

Maybe I've got passion all wrong. Instead of being fluffy and delicate, perhaps passion wants to be well used and grimy, with its sleeves rolled up, in the middle of everything.

Is passion eternally young, never retired and tired? Is it always bubbling with enthusiasm? Is passion logical? I'm beginning to believe it doesn't think, just acts. It doesn't ask permission, just forgiveness. Passion is a wild child running barefoot through the sprinklers.

Do I need to ask passion for an endorsement, so I can let go and get my fingers pruny in the joys of life? I have it, but do I use it?

Perhaps passion is as individually expressed as the personalities who possess it. Case in point, as I write this, headphones are affixed to my skull, rock and roll is blaring at unsafe levels, feet are tapping, and my fingers are typing to the rhythm. I'm certainly not acting my age (thank goodness). I'm thinking I've got some passion going on.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

I know of a wedding reception that was decorated with one hundred and fifty assorted vases are filled with a variety of wild flowers. You can't tell me passion wasn't involved in that endeavor.

A good friend spent three days auditioning for a spot in a dance company. Along with sore muscles and burning blisters, passion was dripping like sweat off his body.

A teacher friend is going above and beyond to organize a storytelling festival for the children at her school. She does this because of her love of reading and the desire to instill that love in children. Her late hours without extra pay are driven by passion.

A friend has adopted seven children—in addition to the five kids she gave birth to — and some of her adopted kids have issues from their rocky start in life. I ask her, "Why in the world?" She attempts to explain, but the bubbling undercurrent is her passion to help kids get a good, stable start in life.

These examples belong to superstars we admire but seldom identify with. When the rubber hits the road of our reality, can we see passion? Is it fervor for reading? Love of baking? Itching for the flowerbed? Blood, sweat and tears for the job you love? Enthusiasm for your kids' activities? Serving friends? Thirst for knowledge? A burning desire to teach? Devoted faith? Hunger for music? Impulse to see the world? Attraction to the dance floor?

Whatever spells joy to you, let passion's hair down to pursue it. Paint it with your own special color. Taste it, feel it, give in to it. Let passion jump into the forefront of your life. Make your time on this big, blue marble extraordinary.