As a teenager, I worked in the scorching Mexican desert sun, cleaning up trash, landscaping, and washing, feeding, training, and changing the diapers of mentally handicapped orphans. I went to sleep at 12-1 most nights and woke up at 5 most mornings for months on end. There was no tv, no internet, no cell service, no distractions, and I loved every minute of it. Despite sleeping only 4-5 hours per night, and being physically active (working or playing) for 12-16 hours per day, I never really felt tired while I was doing it.
Any difficult task you really love seems a lot more difficult until you start doing it. Ask a runner, and he’ll tell you the same about running. Ask a surgeon and she’ll tell you the same thing. Ask a public speaker, and just about every one will tell you, speaking is most difficult and nerve-racking before you get on stage.
Just like the runner, the surgeon, and the public speaker, I was passionate about everything I did at the orphanage. Passion is energy. It’s energy that allows you to move mountains.
The exact same is true for your relationship.
It’s hard work to wake up 15 minutes early to journal or do daily devotions with your partner. It’s really difficult to come home after a long day of work and figure out a way to connect or draw closer. It has proved to be nearly impossible for most to accomplish the goals that they set with their partners while feeling that passion. Is that because passion is fleeting?
No! It’s because passion is a choice.
Passionate love doesn’t happen on its own any more than the runner gets (and keeps) a perfect physique just by chance.
The surgeon chose to study, day in and day out, so that she could save lives. The tired runner chose to wake up, day after day, to tire himself out more. And, the passionate lovers took deliberate actions every day to grow closer together. It was hard for all of them, and each had doubts along the way.
The image at the top of this article is a picture of Deborah and I in Cyprus. It was a long rainy day in a place that’s otherwise perfectly sunny all the time.
We were going to have a nice cozy, quiet time in, watching movies and drinking tea. But, all in one moment, Deborah bolted outside. And, of course, I chose to join her. We ran. We danced. We kissed. The rain kept coming, and we kept dancing. As fun and relaxing as the original plan may have been, we hardly would have remembered it..like we don’t really remember 23 out of the 30 days we spent there (estimated).
It was cold, wet, and inconvenient, but we were (are) passionately in love.
We regard that experience as something that drew us closer together, and it’s a memory that comes back every time it rains.
Passion often takes really hard work, and it always takes a deliberate effort. But, just like the runner, the surgeon, and the speaker will tell you, in the moment and after the fact, it’s always worth it.
I’m not trying to tell you you have to feel passionate love all the time. Imagine the runner, running every waking hour (it’s exhausting just thinking about it, isn’t it?).
But, do something every single day that stokes that fire, and do it deliberately.
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