Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Focused Passion

I can't seem to escape thinking about mortality lately.

Between my own father's passing a year ago, the slew of celebrity deaths that have happened over the past two weeks, and news Brian received last night that an old work acquaintance passed away, it's practically impossible to escape thoughts of death and life.

Life is just so short--life here on earth, that is.  I believe in Heaven and that I will live there eternally after I die.

With all that in mind, my finite brain has some questions churning around in it:

~If life on earth is a gift that endures for a finite amount of time, how should I live it?
~If life on earth is preparation for eternity, how should I live it?
~If life on earth is a gift from God, how does He want me to live it?

In other words, I don't believe this life is all there is.  However, I do believe this life has great purpose that impacts both the here and now, as well as eternity. The big question I'm left with is:  With all this in mind, how shall I live?

One of the answers I keep coming back to is:  with passion!

I realize these are huge questions that can't be summed up articulately in a short blog post.  I can say, though, that if life here on earth has a divine purpose, I want to embrace it and to live fully!

I want to take seriously the things that matter to God. I want to enjoy this earthly life to the full because it is a great gift!  Today is God's gift to me--an opportunity to get to know Him better, to love Him with my life, to love others, to appreciate the beauty in His Creation, to give thanks for my home, for my daily bread, for my dear family and friends. 

Amazingly, I think I take so much of it all for granted.  Days slip away lived passionlessly.  

To live a life of focused passion and love for God and others--I think that is my purpose.

Note:  My husband, Brian, wrote a beautiful post today reflecting on this theme.


Brian said...

Well said sweetie. We only have "the now." Our past is done, and our future is still in the future, but the presnt is here and I want to milk it for all its worth.

The only thing worth living for are the things that last forever: God and people. Life is all about relationships.

This side of eternity is simply a dress rehearsal for the big show.

Autumn's Mom said...

I've had these same thoughts swirling around in my head lately. I think I'm still struggling with my answers ;) I think I'm never happy with just the present...spend too much time in the past and want to race on into eternity. I need to focus more on the present and enjoy what I have more. Thanks for posting this!!

Dana Cheryl said...

I'm at an interesing stage in life & I've spent hours pondering the same questions.

I share your belief in God & an eternal life made possible through Christ's sacrifice.

Yet here I am on earth and what is that all about...?

My ponderings have led me to focus on choice. God loves us so much that He wants us to choose to love Him, to love the Savior, to love one another, to do the right thing, to be a person of integrity...

Choice is the reason that bad things sometimes happen to good people. It's the reason why suffering is in the world yet it's a tremendously precious gift. We are free to choose & that time and again brings me to the feet of Christ saying, "help me make the right choices".

Tracy you exude passion. It's a part of who you are everyday. I feel that through all that I've read & seen on your blog. You are gifted with it and you bless people's lives by sharing it!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'm an atheist, as you know, and yet I believe it was Jesus who said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand", which to me means just the same thing that you said...live this life with passion. And while sometimes it's hard to get passionate about the day to day, we can live our lives in the attempt to find passion there. And we can be passionate about our families and friends, as Brian said. Even if you're stuck in a crummy job, there is much out there to be passionate about. Even trying to bring some of that passion into your job might be worthwhile, and make it less crummy.

The idea of choice being why bad things happen to good people is beyond my comprehension, and probably one reason that I can't make the jump to believing. That leap of faith that would show me why people are murdered, or die in earthquakes, or tsunamis, all of that. I can't find the choice in that. I do understand that if you have faith, it becomes a matter of letting go and believing that even if you can't see the reason, God does, and he cares and loves us. But I can't get there.

Thanks Tracy. As usual, a very well written and thought provoking post. :)

Dana Cheryl said...

I absolutely love the thought provoking & intelligent conversations we have here. I find it very encouraging that we can come together & discuss such weighty topics with mutual respect & understanding.

J, I have tremendously enjoyed the many things that you've written. I always look forward to hearing your perspective. You're thoughtfulness & intelligence continually shine through your words.

I can understand where you're coming from & I deeply respect both you & your views. My own are often far different than the majority of my own Christian contemporaries. Many if not most of them consider Grace the greatest gift of God whereas I consider it to be freewill. This is just me and when it all comes down in the end I don't think it really matters where we hang our hat so to speak.

Again this is just me but I see that our will to choose whether we'll do "good" or "evil" is nothing less than just short of incredible. In my view God didn't make us to be His toys, His dolls. He made us to think & feel & decide to "do the right thing". Yet I see the point of people saying, "where's the justice in that?!" Because the innocent do suffer. Yet I think that the not-so-innocent suffer more perhaps. (Feel free to call me a left wing nutjob. I'm OK with that. :) Although I'm not really left of center my feet are firmly planted on the middle ground. :)

You're so right. It does come down to faith and for me a belief that we all made the choice to come here in the first place. I truly believe that we all loved one another before we were born. So much so that many of us agreed to step in & suffer in this life. To follow after Christ's example & be our brother's keeper because we know that many of those we deeply loved would make bad choices. We willingly did so in order to have the opportunity to be completely free & choose to come back to God & one another.

Again that's just my view & many would probably disagree. Yet I just wanted to share something so deeply personal because I feel that here is a very safe place to do so. And rarely does the opportunity present itself to talk about issues such as these.

And J I think that you're ability to seek passion in this life is inspiring. I truly do. I think it takes tremendous faith in something to get up every morning & I do not doubt that you life this life with far more compassion & joy than I.

Lots of love!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Dana, I think you might really enjoy this show that Ted and I watched last night. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking I'll watch it again and write a blog post about it myself. It's on Bill Moyer's Journal, and it's about Faith and Social Justice. Really well done.

Tracy said...

Hi Dana and J,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments! You've got my wheels turning now.

I can see how one person's terrible choice (ie. to commit murder) could result in an innocent person dying.

However, I don't think innocent people dying in a tsunami are experiencing such a disaster because of a choice they made.

Certain tragedies could certainly be avoided if people made better/different decisions. Other tragedies have nothing to do with human choice.

The question of why bad things happen to good people will always be one the hardest for me to wrestle with in my mind. However, I can't choose NOT to believe because of that one mind boggling question, just as I don't choose TO believe based solely on the fact that sometimes wonderful things happen to both good and bad people.

I have experienced some sad and deep losses in my own life. Losses that I know God could have intervened to prevent, but didn't. Still, I don't doubt His love for me. As it is written in the book of Job, "He gives and takes away." I still believe He loves me deeply, and He comforts me in my sorrow.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

You know Tracy, yours is one of the only blogs I would feel safe discussing this stuff on, and being totally honest about being an atheist. Thanks for such a safe environment.

I sometimes think that if I were to believe in God, it would have to be as someone who comforts, rather than someone who intervenes. Regardless of whether choice was involved in the loss or not.

I think you and Brian might really enjoy the Bill Moyers Journal that I linked to as well. Very interesting stuff. Esp. for someone going into the business, as Brian is. There's some discussion about the role of the church in encouraging compassion that you might enjoy.

Tracy said...


I'm so glad this blog feels like a safe place to discuss these important issues.

Brian showed me an article tonight that he recently read in World Magazine which featured an interview with Bill Moyers. I have seen his Power of Myth interviews with Joseph Campbell several years ago, but haven't seen any of his Journal pieces.

Mrs. G. said...

I say live passionately for God!