Recently, a friend asked me what drives me, especially when I show passion for a task that in all likelihood is thankless and something most people are already ambivalent about. Truth be told, I didn't have a smart answer...no answer at all for that matter; but the thing about people is that they are a sum total of their reactions to all their experiences in life (past & present).
That brings me to the core of the story, this gem from times past. Recently, I recalled my first trip to Messiah College. The journey was a whole bunch of firsts for me: first time leaving home, being on my own, leaving the country, getting to the States, seeing a 5 pm sunset on arriving at Chicago O'hare etc. I was totally out of my element. I don't know about you, but when I get to a new place, I am totally hopeless; a fish-out-of-water.
At the end of all that, finally made it to Harrisburg Airport. Unless things have changed lately, Harrisburg Airport must still be really small; that only served to accentuate the fact that outside lay a complex world that I definitely wasn't equipped to handle. At that moment, I noticed from a side glance that two people who were looking at me. I had been in correspondence with the school so I was hoping they kept their promise to meet me at the airport. Sure enough, Irwin and Elaine were there for me. (They must have been told to look out for the "most-lost" looking individual)...they came looking for a "Robert" though, but I won't hold that against them :-)
And that was my first experience with Messiah College (stateside), and words can't capture what it meant to me. Now, some of my friends might say that since I went to a private college it was the kind of mommy-coddling they had to do because their fees are higher than public universities. But I'd argue that there's only so much that money can buy you.
As I write this out, I'm reminded of someone else who reached out to me in a big way: Stephanie Phillips. While I was back home making the transition to get to Messiah, she answered all my emails and gave me a heads up on what to expect. (...that first email I sent her would be fun to look at now, in retrospect; I was so scared when I wrote it). And she even showed me the ropes when I got to Messiah and was a great friend of mine, a fellow member of ISA/MK. Pity I haven't gotten to talk to her since she graduated.
Putting all these tangents together, they are some of the reasons why I get passionate about some things. A lot of people made great impressions on my life, but sadly I never got the chance to pay them back; I'm speaking of course of a "token" payback, because you never really can pay someone back for an act of kindness. However, you can "pay things forward'...if anything, at least in a manner that a predecessor already showed you, and as time goes by, you can learn more ways to show off the kindness in your heart, birthed from a Benevelonce above.
My sister told me recently,
all these material things you accumulate can be taken away from you at any moment. But the way you make someone feel, what you do for them in their time of need, no one will ever be able to take that from you
So I guess I'll keep her words in mind when I'm being passionate about doing what I do.
Thank God for a little pure passion, no matter how it's inspired within us.