Passion is a terrible thing. It makes a person lose all sense of decorum and modesty and dignity. It makes a love or a cause or a mission take top priority, so that a person no longer cares what others might think or say about him. It blinds a person to what is sensible and accepted and makes her stretch out toward the impossible.
Passion made the forgiving father embarrass himself in the eyes of his oldest son by running toward his prodigal son. Passion made St. Francis strip himself of worldly possessions and follow wherever God called him. Passion made Mother Theresa cradle filthy, stinking, dying strangers in her arms with great tenderness. Passion made Jesus stretch out his arms and die for sinners.
One of my favorite embodiments of passion comes from the movie Moonstruck. Ronny and Loretta feel a passion that they can not deny. Loretta tries to be sensible, to turn away from Ronny, but he explains passion to her.
Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.
Something about the way Ronny says these words to Loretta always strikes a chord in me. Passion is about loving with no limits. Passion is about giving it my all. Passion is about allowing my heart to be broken open and stretched until it hurts. Passion does not make things nice. It rocks the boat. It shakes things up. It will not be satisfied until it gives and gives and gives and ruins itself in love. I want to always keep that kind of passion alive in my marriage. I want to feel passionate about my love and my life and my calling and my work. I want to embrace all of life with passion and love.
For some reason, my eyes have been opened to the beauty and grace all around me in the world. My heart has been opened to love the people that I meet in my daily life. People tell me their stories and I really listen and I cry, because I care. I pray for people and I cry, because I care. Much of the time, lately, I feel like my heart is being smashed into a million pieces by the pain and beauty and hurt and grace I experience. It is exhilarating and frightening and immodest and passionate. I think I am learning to love.