The price of a real passion

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THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis

So, this week, we have had the opportunity to sit down and watch something as a family. We don’t have a telly and so to sit together, eating snacks and watching something that everyone likes is quite a feat. We found something on Youtube called “People are Awesome”.

This is a compilation of clips of film, showing people doing amazing things…climbing the snowy peak of a mountain, doing intricate jumps on bikes, backflips, base jumping, leaping off a cliff into the sea or skydiving…my personal favourite, which utterly terrified me, even from the safety of my couch, was the young men hanging from a crane, literally by their fingertips, the camera angled to show the ground hundreds of feet below them. They were relaxed, changing hands as if they were on a climbing frame in a park and I thought to myself “Why would you want to do that?!” I can understand the adrenaline rush from the other activities, but cannot see the pleasure in that one.

As I sat watching these stunts from all over the world, I marvelled at how amazing the mountains looked, and wondered what it felt like to leap into the unknown out of a plane but that is as far as it went…thinking was enough.

Part of my reticence stems from watching another popular compilation of film on Youtube called “Epic Fails.” This is almost like the outtakes of the other programme, where people film each other practicing tricks and, as the title suggests, failing miserably.

We watched as young lads threw themselves through the air, trying impossible tricks on bikes, skateboards or attempting a back flip and then watching as they crashed to the ground. We started off feeling sympathetic and saying “Oooh, that must have hurt!” but soon ended up saying “How can they be so foolish?!”

Back to my original thought of “Why would you want to do that?” On reflection, I have realised what it is; they have a passion to push themselves, to practice and practice until they get the perfect landing, the sense of achievement seeming to outweigh the bruised bodies/egos.

To have a passion for something leads us to do things that others wouldn’t dare to do…some have a passion for ending climate change, others have a passion for ending people trafficking and sometimes, it takes our lives being touched by something awful for a passion to develop…how many of us have felt passionate enough to raise money for a charity that has helped us during a really tough time?

Passion costs. Sometimes it costs us physically, in terms of bruises and torn muscles…sometimes mentally, when we have to try again and again to bring about change, our motive left open to being misunderstood…sometimes it costs us our reputation, if our passion is for a controversial subject like abortion rights. Recently, I heard that a politician’s passion to change laws to protect Christians living in his country cost him his life.

Unlike those young men cheating death hanging from a crane for their own gratification, I want the things I feel passionately about to count for something.