What passion fuels you? Whether it's your career, a relationship, a cause, or an emotional thill, you've got a fire inside for it, and want so badly to attain it, right?
Sometimes, though, I've noticed that my passion becomes focused or fixated on something that's, for some cosmic reason, not the right thing for me. But I don't see it that way in the moment, and I struggle harder and harder, chasing the thing that seems so right, yet is just - not.
My husband Frank and I were at the confluence near our house shooting a music video a while back. The "bad part of town" was just up the hill, and we were standing with our instruments, facing it.
Pretend we're facing the camera to picture how we were standing during this story. :D
As we were waiting for the camera crew to finish their drone shots, Frank noticed a couple walking down the hill, followed by their dog. Tagging behind the dog was a little kitten, grey and white. We assumed the kitten was part of the family, out for a stroll on the nice fall day. But as we watched, the couple bent down, picked up rocks, and threw them at the kitten. Repeatedly.
The little kitten was not deterred. She kept following those folks, even though they were abusing her. She was so vulnerable and so trusting. She wanted to be loved so badly and thought these people were her only choice of tribe. She didn't know that different people could truly love her. It was heartbreaking to see.
Just like the little kitten, sometimes I find myself chasing something that's just not the right thing. Something that's actually causing me pain or unnecessary conflict. Past things I've kept chasing even when they weren't right for me anymore include a teaching career, a band I was in, and romantic partners. I'm usually too deeply invested (or dense) to see this for myself at the time, but maybe (hopefully) you have more self-awareness than I do! For me, it takes an outside force/act of God to jolt me awake, show me the error of my focus, and redirect my path. It's not a comfortable thing.
In the case of the little kitten, an outside force in the shape of a banjo player intervened. Frank, his banjo on his shoulder, marched toward the scene. He swiftly nabbed the little kitten by the nape of her neck, carried her to our car, and shut her inside until we were finished with the shoot.
The little kitten was very confused and angry with us for separating her from the people she was chasing. When we got her home, she yeowled and clawed as we bathed her and combed out her fleas. She was uncomfortable with the physical touch of strangers and new environment. She definitely was not a fan of the prodding and poking at the vet's office the next day, either.
Little Kitten yeowling between our attempts at bathing her on the day we brought her home.
Do you like change? Probably not, especially when you didn't ask for it! But for me, it seems like those uncomfortable transition days are necessary, just like they were for the little kitten. I'm trying to practice embracing them when they come, because I (finally) can (68% of the time) see and believe that they're the indication of something better around the bend.
It took a month or so for the little kitten - whom we named Roxie - to get healthy. From fleas, to worms, to feline leukemia, to who-knows-what else, she had serious digestive issues that caused us to get real familiar with the Lysol and paper towels if you know what I mean. On the plus side, our old wood floor got more scrubbing than it had had in years!
Frank combing and burning her fleas a few days after we brought her home.
But one thing that we noticed in the first week or so was her devotion. She forgave us for the shock and the change to her world, and she became very affectionate, curling up on my lap and purring louder than Frank's Mercury outboard buzzing down Fontana Lake. Because, after all, what she'd wanted the whole time was just to be loved.
Don't we all? I think that, deep down, that's why we have drive and fire in the first place. We're seeking acceptance, community, love. But it is so hard to find the right person, or friend group, or job where we truly feel valued for who we are. It's so easy to chase the wrong thing.
Roxie, now healthy and about 1 year old, basking in the morning sun in her favorite chair.
Maybe reading Roxie's story will help you see the light if you've been in a season of chasing the wrong thing, too. If so, I hope you can find the courage and support system to let that thing go.... really go.
When you do, and once you've healed, you'll make room for a new, nurturing, wonderful thing to take its place.
Take it from Roxie - it's worth it!
Roxie and I resting on a recent afternoon. Photo by Frank :)
Peace to you, my friend!
Allie Lee is 1/2 of Frank & Allie Lee and 1/4 of The Freight Hoppers. She teaches Wernick Method Bluegrass Jam classes and camps and manages social media for those three businesses. She's a former 7th grade Language Arts teacher who always had a love/hate relationship with writing but a great love of grammar. She lives with husband Frank Lee in Bryson City, NC with their step-daughter and herd of rescued indoor/outdoor cats.