I've been considering the various ways people arrive at their passions in life - that driving force behind what the do what they do. If the truth is told, every passion has it's own unique starting point.
Several friends have had family members impacted by cancer and that drives them to be agents of change and hope to eradicate cancer - sometimes specialized cancers (i.e., multiple myeloma) and others just cancer in general.
We tend to shy away from pain. Physical pain makes life uncomfortable and for some unbearable. Emotional pain feels too much like mental illness (and there are overlaps) so we don't talk about it and pretend it doesn't exist.
But pain serves a purpose.
We forget that because we take a pill any time an ache shows up. Pain means there's something wrong and it actually helps keep us healthy.
But there are other benefits to pain when we use that pain as a catalyst for something good. Some of the world's greatest literature and poetry have come from sources of pain.
When I evaluate my own life I must admit that there's an element of pain that drives my passion for orphans and at-risk children.
My own story, being adopted and not knowing who my biological parents were until later in life is a partial driver.
Growing up not feeling fully accepted by the people around me is another ... I related it to being adopted because I knew of no other adoptees for the longest time.
The heartache of working with homeless boys in Kiev, Ukraine - knowing that they had no future.
The joy that turned to terrible pain as the son I adopted takes his own life when he was in his early 20s.
It's all there... pain. My unique pain that drives me to want to help as many orphans and at-risk kids as possible. Passion derived from pain.
Those of us who are taking on lofty passions - ending world hunger, helping 147 million orphans and at-risk kids, curing cancer - often face additional pain as you struggle to raise your voice in the midst of a hurricane. There's not always an end in sight and I often find myself in deeper sadness knowing we cannot help everyone.
But those additional shots of pain help drive us on... moves our passion forward.