A little church crowd observation exemplifies a larger truth.

Typically I sit in the first two or three rows at church. I think that I’m there mostly out of habit and that the habit arose from being mostly late to church but that’s not what this is about. Nope, the other day (pretty sure it was a Sunday) by some small miracle I found myself at the back of the church. And let me tell you it was a completely different perspective.

As we stood to sing one of the opening songs my mind, as so often happens, wandered from my appointed task (singing) and I began to gawk around. I wasn’t being creepy or staring just observing while others worshipped in song. What I began to notice was that some people couldn’t or chose not to, stand still. Now, being a bit attention-challenged, I completely identified with the former. However it was the latter that got me thinking.

Many people move and sway to the music at church. Most of their movements, however slight, were I’m sure, unconscious. This little observation, as they so often do, made me wonder; why? As I rolled that thought around in my melon and it invariably banged into other thoughts like; “Boy, that was good coffee, wish I could have another cup” and “I really need to mow the lawn when I get home” somehow, again by some small miracle a hypothesis emerged. I think that often we feel things when we don’t’ realize we feel them. Some things touch us, reach us at our best, most basal levels and letting those things out or at least acknowledging them, might just make us happier.

I’m a poster child for distraction. I don’t lose focus because of a shiny object; the world IS a shiny object. That is to say, the world is not so much my oyster as it is my squirrel (Up reference there). So, knowing that things reach us even when we don’t realize they do is sort of encouraging for me and the human race in general. The fact is, we’re constantly pushing the important stuff down in favor of the unimportant stuff like mowing the lawn. We kill the passionate thought for the dispassionate thought, purely and simply. We could use more of that passion in our lives. We could help our own cause if we moved and swayed more to the music of life. Maybe we need to kick over the amp once in a while.

Personally, I know that if I were in a band I would be a monitor-kicker. I would need to kick one over just to express the feelings that the music brings out in me. The thing is I need that release; I think we all do. Too often I live not in a glass box of emotion but in a glass box of apathy, a glass box of ho-hum and a glass box of “what the hell”. This is not a good place to live. I don’t think I’m alone. And since I have all the expertise with a guitar that a fish does with a bicycle I do this writing thing. It’s my attempt on the one hand to express myself and on the other hand to reach others. Certainly partly because I abhor a fraud I don’t feel like I can recommend this to others without doing it, at least sometimes, myself. God knows I already have enough of those feelings rattling around in my melon. Still, with all those intentions I find myself going through the motions every day. How does one break out? The truth is, it’s complicated, or maybe it’s simple.

I took another “passion quiz” yesterday. I’ve taken so many of them that at this point they just sort of make me tired. Same old shit, different day but to be fair it isn’t the quiz that’s to blame for my jaded attitude, it’s the not doing anything about what it’s trying to tell me that hacks me off. See, I’m that person swaying to the music in church. I feel something moving me and yet I don’t even notice it or give it the time of day. And maybe the people swaying in church are ahead of me. At least they’re doing something with their feelings, as imperceptible as it might seem. They’re letting at least some of that stuff out. But we all need to take bigger steps.

I think Thoreau said men live lives of quiet desperation and if he were around today he would have said, “Men and women”. Billy Joel sang “Everybody Has a Dream” in the 80’s on “The Stranger” album. That’s crazy, huh? I need Outlook to remember my mom’s birthday but yet remember that album from over 30 years ago. I also remember getting caught singing the song in the shower at the fraternity. I didn’t think anyone was awake at 3:00 a.m. and the acoustics were great. See, there’s that thing again, doing something, giving in to feelings or passion or emotions or whatever, letting it all out there but only when no one’s looking. That needs to be fixed. But again, how? I wish I had the answer for you.

Some things I do know on this topic. I know that the answer isn’t in a “find your passion quiz” or in Nike’s urging us to just do it. I know that inherently there will be competition for your time and attention; competition that will come from big stuff (your job, family, kids, etc) and little stuff (the lawn, the leaky toilet, dinner). I know that letting this stuff out there when someone IS watching and when we do know we’re doing it is sometimes frightening. I also know from firsthand experience that it is completely 100% worth it. Take it from a guy that’s battled depression for over 30 years this little thing I do every day has kept me out of the dumps through a difficult and frustrating convalescence after surgery. Like those people that move in church without knowing it I didn’t realize until just very recently how healthy I’ve been in that department. I don’t know what your thing is and I don’t know if you’ll kick over monitors or quietly paint or write poetry but I encourage you to knowingly feed and release it. Take the time, make the time, it’s worth it.

I hope this gave you the nudge to pursue what has been subtly trying to stir in you or it confirmed that what you’ve been chasing is worthwhile. If it did and you know someone that could use that, please share it with them.

Every week I blog about life experiences and observations. If you would like to read more, click here and you’ll go to my home page. If you like what you read or just really like this post you can subscribe for free. Subscribing just means you will receive an email on Saturdays with links to the previous week’s posts. No spam or junk will come your way either as I never sell or share emails. Subscribe by clicking this.