A Note on Passions

Posted: February 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The other day, I told my eight-year-old that I hope he finds something, anything, a passion that he will make sacrifices for. He’s in second grade, and if there’s any indication of that now, it won’t involve math. He’s asking to play drums, so maybe, but baseball, basketball, and tae kwon do didn’t take.

My daughter is twelve. She’s not the perfect example of what I want for my kids, but I see glimmers of it developing. Just this last year, she started in piano lessons, and she’s somewhat of a natural. I don’t want to use the word prodigy. Our neighbor showed her a piece and she memorized it within a few minutes. My brother was in town for Thanksgiving and taught her the Star Wars theme. She’s very musically inclined, and I hope her passion for it drives her into great and terrible things, musically, but as of now, she has to be told to practice. I’d love to tell her to shut up, I’m trying to sleep. It’s been five hours now. Give the ivory time to rest.

Truth be told, my kids would rather lie around all day playing video games and watching TV than do anything with their lives. And it’s not even good video games. It’s Minecraft. If you want to build something, go build something. We literally have a basement full of Lego bricks.

I want that for my kids because that’s what I want for myself. I struggled for years in high school and college, and then out of college while I bounced around from employer to employer trying to find my place. I wanted something to engage me. I fought my passion and dreams for a long time, waiting around, praying that God would deliver me into some magic destiny he had for me. I woke up one day, frustrated, fed-up, that my prayers weren’t being answered the way I wanted them to, working a job that was getting me nowhere.

It’s a strange thing to believe in the Bible and to try to apply it to your life and to still operate with just a blind faith that things will happen on a random whim. Then I read James 2:19, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” Faith without works is dead. I can believe all day long for the life I want, but it won’t fill my bowl with ice cream.

I’m an independent writer. I’m not published by a major house. I’ve got my stories, and I’m making them come to life with little more than my passions and talents. And those passions have spurned me along to teach myself basic HTML, Photoshop, and several other programs that I would otherwise not care about just to be able to format .MOBI and .EPUB files. I have to stay driven because otherwise, my passion and dreams lie stagnant. And what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode?

My dad, for my entire life, (until recently) has been self-employed. If he woke up everyday and went to work, rain or shine, snow or drought, and he put in ten, twelve hour days. And not sitting behind a desk somewhere. He was an artist, a landscaper, a contractor. He did hard labor, and I know, because as a lad, I was forced to do it, too. Sure, I hated it at the time, but it was character building. It inspired me. To this day, I think back on the life my dad chose and I draw huge inspiration from him. He blazed a trail. That takes not only faith, but courage, determination, a bit of stubbornness.

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard at times. There are days where the house is quiet, my wife and kids are asleep, it’s cold, and I’m exhausted, but it’s only 10PM, and I could still squeeze out a page or two. Sacrifices for passion. I’d rather play video games, too. I play good games, like The Legend of Zelda. Action and puzzles, exploration, a plot. I don’t have the time I want to play games, though, because if I sit around playing games, who writes my books and tells my tales? My daughter got me this game for Christmas, 2013. I’m almost at the end. Just a few more months, maybe.

One of the biggest things that keeps me going is a random song. Airplanes by B.O.B. Not the radio edit. The version with Eminem. I’ve always loved Eminem’s music. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. His part at the end of that song is poetic in it’s profanity, but it’s the highest, simplest truth.

Talking about a hypothetical version of himself, he says, “Pretend he procrastinated, had no motivation
Pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind.” Here’s a guy, love him or leave him, that picked himself up by his bootstraps, who came from a trailer in crime-ridden Detroit, and changed his stars. He could easily have become another victim of the economic hardships Michigan continues to endure. He could have easily made one excuse after another why not to do what he did, but instead, he sacrificed. He made a few wise decisions, a few chance meetings, and now he’s iconic. He’s a legend in the music industry. He’s the best rapper out there, white or black, because his beats are crazy and his lyrical precision and timing are spot on. In the song, he goes on to say, “He’s gon’ have a hard time explaining to Hailie and Lainie these food stamps and this WIC shit. Cause he never risked shit he hoped and he wished it but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here.”

We can make whatever excuses we want to tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough, that we shouldn’t try, but at the end of the day, what will we tell our children that will make them proud of the life we’ve given them? That’s what keeps me going. I love doing what I do. It makes me incredibly happy and proud to publish books. Thank God for the technology and the companies out there today that allow people like me to take a story that may not exactly be commercial gold and share it anyway.

I love what I do, but on the days that I don’t feel like doing it, I push forward anyway, because I want my kids to know that I didn’t miss my chances. I want them to be inspired, and I want them to find their passions so that one day, they can make sacrifices and find their rewards.

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