She meanders through the bar, looking for him. Is he the young brunette in the snappy sport coat? The suave middle-aged businessman? The dimpled crooner at the mic? Where, oh where, is Mr. Right?
She has her audition plan all worked out. When she sees a likely candidate, she asks him if he’s single, if he’s gay, and if he’s working. If he passes the first battery of questions, she kisses him full on the mouth.
If the magic feeling doesn’t hit her, she walks away.
In the end, using this highly questionable method, she finds Mr. Right, and wedding bells ring. Why? Because this was a movie. And Hollywood has done a number on us when it comes to defining passion, love and romance.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “passion?”
Do you think of “flowers … chocolates … promises you don’t intend to keep,” like the little butler in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast?” Do you picture sweaty bodies driven by irresistible urges?
You may be surprised to learn that the root word for “passion” is the Latin patior, meaning “to suffer.”
Originally, this word pointed to “the last suffering of the Savior” and described the final events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The other word from the same root? Patience.
In The Broken Way, Ann Voscamp puts this together beautifully:
“Passion has much less to do with elation and much more to do with patience. Passion embraces suffering because there’s no other way to embrace love. Love isn’t about feeling good about others; love is ultimately being willing to suffer for others.”
Well, now. That puts a whole different spin on this passion thing. For all of us.
Turns out passionate love is not a matter of trolling for someone who can make us happy. It’s not even limited to the romantic and sexual love of a married couple.
Jesus never married, but when it comes to passion, he is our prime example. He laid down his life for those he loved. He did it in a thousand ways for his disciples long before he endured the cross.
And then he did it for all of us when he took the thirty-nine lashes and hung on that tree.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, besides the sexual/romantic piece, passion also means “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction … ardent affection … a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.”
Passion is not limited to couples; it’s an emotion common to all human beings. We are created to care deeply, to give of ourselves , to live out of conviction.
This is as true for the celibate single as it is for the mother of young children. It’s a dynamic between good friends as well as loving spouses.
So now it’s Valentine’s Day, the holiday most focused on romance. Maybe this year, you can take a fresh look at what love and passion really mean.
Maybe this is a good time to celebrate what and who you are passionate about — in other words, what and who you are willing to suffer for.
Maybe it’s your husband or wife, but maybe you’re a single parent, and it’s about your deep desire to raise your children well. Or perhaps it’s your ardent devotion to a cause that God has laid on your heart.
Or maybe your focus is on your passion for the One who originally defined and exemplified passion for you — your Savior and Lord, the lover of your soul.
Mr. Right pales by comparison, doesn’t he?