What a thought-provoking prompt. I have to start off saying something that is hard to admit. Were it not for this challenge, we wouldn’t be talking about it on my blog. Because in my humble opinion, I’ve never been very passionate about causes, as recognized by demonstrations, riots, and marches.
I wanted to be heroic even as a child, without enduring or even understanding the sacrificial part. LOL A few years ago I met a woman who had marched with Martin Luther King at age 10. In spite of my own lack of passion, I was in awe of her and how she followed her heart at such a young age.
As an adult, I randomly give to support causes such as homelessness, animal shelters, and scholarships. I tithe and give offerings to the church to support the projects they define as important, but I’m not a philanthropist. I am also skeptical about how the money gets used. I hate the constant phone calls to contribute to some cause or another, so I am jaded to some extent.
I’ve never been in a tornado, hurricane, flood, earthquake, or bombing where everyone was in the same fix and anyone who could, helped. I am glad that our church does send a portion of our contributions to help people in need all around the world. We have made random donations to help in crises. I don’t have any super skills that I would consider helpful in time of a crisis, unless panicking helps.
When featured on the news, I admire and am astounded when little kids see a need and sell lemonade or build a cardboard theme part to raise money to give to those in need – families torn by tragedy, kids in the hospital and other things that touch their hearts. They touch my heart and make me feel guilty for not being more passionate.
Teen Passions – No External Causes
I think it takes a while for passions to develop as you notice more inequities and tragedies in the world around you and as things happen to you. People in long-term survival mode don’t usually have energy for causes. At least I didn’t.
During my teens, my immediate family was simply trying to survive my parent’s divorce financially and get established in a city, school, and job 2,500 miles away from family, friends and any professional network my mother might have had.
The Viet Nam War was in full swing when I was in high school and college. I accidentally got caught up in a protest march when walking in downtown Portland to or from classes at Portland State University.
My brother was too young to go, my father too old and disallowed from even fighting in WWII, and my grandfathers were way too old. So, I had no personal ties to the war. At that time women didn’t go into combat military service.
My political/geographic brain didn’t compute how the United States was going to be taken over by Communism if Viet Nam fell under Communist rule. The Domino Theory seemed like gibberish to me, so I tuned it out. In my heart, I didn’t approve of young boys/men being forced to go into military service, but my sense of empathy and eminence of impending disaster was not strong enough to make me passionate. My brother came of age after military service was no longer mandated. Maybe my accidental march made a difference?
I also got caught up in a housing shortage crisis while keeping my boyfriend company while he stood in long line at Portland State to try to get student housing. We must have looked approachable. A reporter filmed us and maybe talked to us – I don’t remember too much, but I ended up on the 6:00 o’clock news, and my mother freaked out. I was still only 17 or barely 18 and my dad paid child support for me as long as I lived with her. We were super poor compared to how our lives were before the divorce. She was passionate that I didn’t get married or move in with HIM, which was kind of a new thing back then. I guess he got student housing. Maybe standing in line with him made a difference. We broke up so I don’t know.
My teen passions consisted of:
- Boys, of course
- Roller and Ice Skating
- Water Skiing
- Taking care of mom/house, brother and myself while Mom worked.
Married Years – 1st 20 Years
I was already in survival mode from my teen years. It was the mid-seventies and eighties. Recession was in full swing. I dropped out of college because working was more important at the time and financial aid evaporated after my first year.
My husband had Gaucher’s disease which is a nasty genetic disease if you want to look it up. Most doctors hadn’t heard of it. He lost his job after we had been married less than a month. I lost mine right after we got back from our honeymoon. My boss apparently thought I had chosen the wrong man to marry. I should have been passionate about sexual harassment in the workplace, but I didn’t take his flirtations seriously. However, I wasn’t passionate about my work, I didn’t want my job back, and I certainly didn’t want to work for Bill. I got another job right away, so I didn’t feel overly damaged by the experience.
One month into his new job, my husband broke his hip. We had been married three months by this time and I was 23 and panicked. I should have been more passionate about getting a teaching degree. After a hip replacement, he eventually got a job selling fabric all over Oregon and we moved away from MY scrawny network of family and friends. That lasted about a year, then he lost his job and needed another hip replacement. He was 29 by this time and couldn’t work. The dentist I worked for part-time retired, and I suddenly needed a new job in a tiny town. That worked out poorly, and I began selling magazines door to door. You can imagine how well that worked out.
Eventually my husband studied for the ministry, and I studied to become a teacher.
My passions during my first marriage.
- Passion for the cause of Christianity through involvement and giving in church
- Passion for education through teaching
- Introduction to the cause of women’s rights from a woman minister in the world of male ministers
- Nurturing a passion for women’s equal employment rights and safety which I pursued through involvement as the secretary of the local teachers’ union.
Married Next 26 Years
By the 1990s, I had earned my degree and CA teaching credential and was established (without tenure yet) in a teaching position. Mark had passed away, and I had remarried. Vince had been swindled in a business dealing before I met him, lost everything. He’d had some terrible times, so we commiserated together and went forth to solve our problems together.
We worked hard and built a life. He had a son and we helped him out quite a bit as he got started in life. I earned my master’s degree and administrative credential and began working for the County Office of Education. People told me that County Office employees did nothing, but I know from experience that we did “nothing” for about 60 hours + a week. We trained teachers to be more effective at their craft. We ran student events for the entire county, and we participated in networks of colleagues throughout the state to do the work of education in the state of California.
My primary working year passions for causes were:
- Passion about education for all which I pursued through my work.
- Passion about teaching critical thinking through social studies not just language and math which I pursued through work and social studies teacher organizations
- Continued passion for living the Christian life and finding ministry without ministry along with continued tithing.
Most teachers and administrators lose resilience and relevancy after a while. Or at least I felt that I was nearing that point and needed a change. I did not want to be the one that everyone took bets on when she was going to retire and hoped she would hurry up about it. I believe there is a time to retire and start something new. I adopted what I called it the George Washington philosophy. He served two terms and then stepped aside when people still wanted him to be President/King. I was not the queen of history consultants. I retired.
My passions for causes during my retirement years were:
- Passion for education and community exhibited through Kiwanis of Woodlake
- Passion for community and business exhibited through the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce
- Passion for history exhibited through the Woodlake Museum and writing the book Images of America: Woodlake
- Passion for nature and the environment through volunteering at the Woodlake Rose Garden and driving a hybrid car.
- Supporting local charities through our church and other random gifts
Another Big Move
We retired again and moved to Prescott in November 2020. My husband and I began establishing connections in the community through our neighborhood. We have not made any solid connections through church, and of course, we moved smack dab in the middle of COVID when socialization via gatherings screeched to a stop.
We started playing pickleball and made some great friends. Both of us have suffered injuries that have curtailed that activity as have some of our friends. Frankly, pickleball can’t be stretched to be classified as a cause. My passion for that sport has waned to a point of being non-existent.
Supporting the Cause of Blogging Challenges
With few geographic friends, I turned even more to my friends online. I never considered this a cause, but maybe it should be. That being said. The people who I know that blog have maintained their sanity during the worst crisis of the 21st century. They have built communities. They have flourished. I have been privileged to be a tiny part of that movement.
- Supporting Hammad’s Weekend Sky Challenge
- Passion for blogging – photo and writing challenges in particular
- Passion for communicating and maintaining sanity and good mental health through blogging
- Passion for living my faith in Christ without being obnoxious or sanctimonious about it and continuing to give support to the local community and needs around the church.
- Passion for opportunities and freedom from harassment for women but I’m not doing anything right now to help
- Passion for the environment by driving electric hybrid car, recycling, drinking almond milk, picking up trash, and recycling. (I know, big deal) 🙂
That all doesn’t sound like much compared to those who have sacrificed their life and limbs through military service or have gone overseas to provide medical service to communities which have none. I’m not like one friend who might be sewing for a play her grandson is in or buying gas at one station rather than another because of their stand on political issues that matter to her.
Listing out the causes that have mattered to me over the years took a lot of time and thought and pleasantly surprised me that maybe my life has contributed to others in small ways at least. Some of you might have laughed at some of my puny contributions to society but it’s my personal best for today and… th.th.th…that’s all folks.