The Presence of Passionate People
I once listened to a captivating interview with a statistician.
She said statistics were art, function and form, a powerful but not flawless way to make sense of the world. She was exuberant, accessible, had abundant vision. But more than anything else, the statistician was passionate.
Man, I thought when the interview was done, I've really shortchanged stats. I should spend more time with that. I dug up a couple articles, started one, and within the first paragraph, was bored stiff.
But that boredom was eye-opening for me: it wasn't statistics that were captivating, it was the statistician's passion for them. And passion, that raw gush of vitality, is contagious.
It's life-giving to be in the presence of passionate people.
To be passionate, after all, is to care, to be involved, to have our head, hands, heart tied up with the stuff of life - be it statistics, bee keeping, Italian cars, architecture.
That statistician kicked awake the passionate part of me, a part we all have, but which can fall dormant in the routines, demands, fire extinguishing of our modern world. It's a part that needs to be rekindled regularly, or else we can fall prey to disengagement, cynicism, a hardening of defenses and opinions.
I know now what that statistician was: she was alive and living with her wings fully extended. Which is available to any of us.
And if we aren't sure how to live more alive, why not start by putting ourselves in the presence of passionate people.