The Cost of Passion

“Our generation wants to be passionate about causes without suffering for them — yet “passion” means “to suffer.” Are we ready to grow up?” –Alex and Brett Harris, The Rebelution

This little quote piqued my interest when it popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, so I decided to do some quick research.  I looked up the word “passion” on, and scanned down to the word origin.  This is what I found:

The origin of the word “passion” is from the Latin words for suffering!  Not only that, but the very first actual definition for the word listed was the PASSION of Christ.  For my non-Christian readers, here is what is meant when we refer to the PASSION of Christ:

The very first definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary for the word “passion” relates to brutal suffering and pain.  The 2nd definition just read “obsolete: suffering”.  It wasn’t until the 3rd and 4th definitions in the Merriam Webster Dictionary that the idea of emotion, devotion, or love came into the meaning of the word “passion”.  And yet, for some reason, when people talk about “passion”, they usually mean that level of care and devotion to an idea, cause, or a task.

We tell teens to pursue their dreams and passions, but do we ever warn them how hard that can be? Do we ever tell them to find a passion worth grueling stress, anxiety, and… well… suffering?  When we talk about passionate people, passionate teachers, passionate workers, what have those people had to endure for their passion?  What battles have they fought?  What roadblocks have they faced and conquered?  How much effort has gone unnoticed, behind the scenes, without outward recognition?

And when we do finally do open our eyes to the cost of passion, there is one more question.

Is it worth it?

Yes.  A thousand times, yes.

So when you find your cause and become really, truly passionate, watch out.  It’s hard, wonderful, scary, and beautiful.  And that’s when we can change the world.


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