It’s only been a little over a week since I got back from Wichita, Kansas, but it feels a lot longer than that for some reason. I guess if there are tons of things going on, days seem to just pass by in a hurry and after awhile get jumbled up into one massive memory where it gets hard to distinguish one experience from another. Maybe that’s why I like to blog since I can chronicle events I deem to be momentous and record-worthy experiences.
This past trip to Wichita was my third time going there. Why Wichita of all places? And why for the third time? Well, the connecting link is my friend, Matt. He just got married to his fiance, Judy, and I flew out for the wedding. I don’t really fly out for weddings but Matt and the friends I’ve made through him hold a special place in my heart so I made an occasion out of it. It was a beautiful wedding and I couldn’t be happier for them. Unexpectedly, during this weekend, there was one particular moment that I have a feeling will stay in my mind for a long time. In fact, I have not been able to stop thinking about it since I got back.
For the wedding weekend, we stayed at a nice hotel in downtown Wichita. Every morning we’d go downstairs to the dining area and eat a delicious breakfast. After we finished eating, there was an area to bring back our plates/cups but I noticed there were several tables where people had left their used plates, cups, napkins, etc. Then this hotel staff lady came along and cleaned up after the mess. She’d go around picking up the garbage and cleaning out the tables. Nothing unusual – apparently, this was her job. The thing is, she’d always say the most friendly greeting to us and offer to clean our table when we were done. When we told her we’d bring the dishes back ourselves, she kept saying that this was her job and she’s glad to do it. Her service to us was undoubtedly the best that I’ve ever received of this kind. She had a pep in her walk and it was clear her attitude toward her job was rather cheerful considering the menial labor she was doing. I couldn’t help but want to talk to her. So the last day before we left, my roomie and I went over to thank her and we struck up a conversation. We thanked her for being so nice to us and going above and beyond to clean up after everything. She kept saying, “This is my job. It’s no problem.” Then she said something that is still ringing in my head. When we mentioned that we had noticed some of the messy tables, she said, “I don’t mind at all. This is my passion.”
I kinda just stood there, listening to her voice. At first, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. This… cleaning dirty tables….was her passion? How could this be a passion for anyone?
Her voice has continued to ring in my head. I don’t even remember what she looks like anymore but I keep hearing her voice. This is my passion. And I believe her. Her actions prove it. Her words affirm it.
I think about passion often, probably most often about my own. Lately, I wonder if my passion is real or genuine or strong enough. Sometimes, I wonder why my actions don’t prove it. All I know is, I want to live like that. I want to get up in the morning and be passionate about whatever it is I have to do that day – if it’s cleaning tables, folding laundry, keeping the books or making music… I just want to be absolutely passionate about it. And I wouldn’t even have to say a word. You would just know it by looking at my life.
When it comes to passion, I’m pretty sure I over-think what it is that I do and not think as much about how I do it. But now I’m thinking it matters much more how I do the things I’m currently in the position to do and not so much what it is that I’m doing. I’m not defined by what I do, but I may be defined much more by how I do it.
May I never, ever forget this.