Last weekend I went to a cooking school with my father in law. We took an eight-hour grilling class. Yes, you read that correctly eight full hours of cooking. If you are shocked by this, so was I. I can honestly say that in the 9 years of formal schooling I have received, I have never spent 8 hours on anything related to a course.
The instructor of our grilling class was an interesting guy. He used to be a Mexican restaurant chef who then worked in a Japanese restaurant and then finally ended up teaching grilling classes to random people at this cooking school. His name was Tim, but he preferred “Chef Tim”, which I understood meant I should call him “Master Chef Tim”. He didn’t think that was funny.
Master Chef Tim lacked great presentation skills and he sucked at explaining things on a basic level. Nevertheless, Master Chef Tim was the perfect grilling course instructor. You maybe thinking to yourself, “Hey if Master Chef Tim sucked at presenting the material or explaining the material how could he be the perfect course instructor?”. Well if you read the title of this post you already know where I am going here. What Master Chef Tim lacked in general instructor skills he made up for with sheer passion.
Master Chef Tim is easily the most passionate man in the world about grilling. Throughout the course Master Chef Tim (MCT) would randomly break into explanations about random things he read on a grilling blog or would start talking about a new grilling book that was slated to come out in the fall. He talked about grilling theories and other chef’s attempts at new grilling styles. MCT even sleeps with a stack of grilling books next to his bed that he reads every night before falling asleep. The dude is addicted to grilling.
This amount of passion on the topic was infectious. I am not a big fan of cooking. Truth be told I would rather have someone else cook and then I eat and critique it rather than me slaving over a stove to make the dish. But even I, the worst cook in America was inspired and desired to participate in the course. MCT would talk about grilling with such a gleam in his eye that it made me question if I was missing out on the joys of cooking. I even came home from the class and made a 4-course meal for Conner the next day.
During the course I found myself constantly questioning what I was passionate about. I know that wasn’t the point of the course but that was my main takeaway. I saw a man who knew what he loved doing and was then doing it. As I sat there and watched MCT talk about some random chef’s philosophy of grilling I thought to myself; “Damn, I wish I was that passionate about something besides M&Ms.”. At one point I leaned over to my father in law and tried to talk to him about passion. This worked out about as well as you would think it would. He is not a very emotional or “touchy feely” guy, so all existential questions and crises go right over his head.
This raw passion on display left a massive mark on me. I have spent the last week trying desperately to find what it is in my life that I am passionate about so that I could find my purpose.
*Spoiler alert* I haven’t figured out anything.
Sometimes I think that I am passionate about technology and could work in my industry for the rest of my life. Then I start to read a blog post about new inventive technology or I have a conversation with someone who is really passionate about technology and I realize how little I care. I do this with every career option out there. I start with the career and then realize that I am just not that passionate about most of it.
These thoughts always lead me to the same place, depression. I always end thinking that I will never find that which I am passionate about and thus should just give up trying. I should just accept the role in my life of being an I.T. guy and move on with my life. I started to end my existential crisis here when I realize something. All of these things are just “means to an end”, what I am really passionate about is serving God, or at least it should be.
Sometimes in my life I equate my current situation to a permanent situation. I think that I mistake the temporary things for permanent ones. God is a permanent fixture in my life while careers, classes, degrees, bills, etc. are simply temporary. What I am passionate about isn’t a temporary thing but rather needs to be the permanent one. I have spent so long looking for a resolution to my existential crisis in the temporary reliefs of daily life that I forgot the only resolution is God.
This train of thought should lead us into drastic life change. If God is the only resolution to this crisis of mine, then the practical resolution looks a lot like Master Chef Tim. I should be so dedicated to the Gospel narrative and the fulfillment of it that I am daily sacrificing my time, energy and resources to accomplish it. If I am truly passionate about Christ my life should reflect that passion. It should be infectious to everyone around me that I am passionate about God!
I have not by a long short accomplished this. I still get mad at people when they cut me off and I get into fights with my coworkers about stupid things, however, I live under the reality that I am forgiven and called to keep trying. I am called to keep attempting to live a passionate life for God.