Passion is a strange thing.

It is eerily similar to a flame. It can be stoked into a blaze. It can be transformed into a furnace. It can burn brighter than anything else. It can do all of these things, but only if it is cared for properly.

Before it is fully formed, it is more vulnerable than anything else. It can be swept away by a single whim, lost among the workings of the human mind. Once it is lost, it can hide forever under the turmoil of day to day life, slowly suffocating in the doldrums of everyday thought.

Though once it is forged into its true form, nothing can touch it. Pain and depravation cannot scratch its surface or harm it. Nothing in this world can weigh it down. It is truly free, from anything.

It is difficult to cultivate such an unusual essence. In the beginning, passion needs constant nurturing, a continual stoking of the fire. It needs to be nourished and cherished, or else it will fade out, like an exposed, solitary candle. The lightest touch can spark its fuel or remove it from thought completely. It is simultaneously fragile and invulnerable.

Passion: does it rule over us, or do we rule over it?

Passion can give meaning to a seemingly worthless cause.

It can breathe life into even the most hopeless enterprise.

It can move mountains and recreate the world.

It can do all these things, if only you let it.

So guard your passion, nurture it,

And share it with others so it can burn brightly,

Not only within you, but through everything you do.

Kindle the flames until they burn brightly enough for everyone to see.

If you cannot share your passion or express it properly,

Then it will slowly fester inside you,

Charring your insides instead of shining forth as a beacon.

Passion is vital. It is the thing that gives your lungs a reason to breath, your blood a reason to flow.

Nothing is as sad as seeing someone abandon his or her passion

because of social pressure

because of financial hardship

because of complacency.

So burn as brightly as you can,

As long as you can.

Unlike a flame,

Your personal fire never need go out

And a more intense inferno does not mean that the blaze will consume everything and collapse on itself.

Unlike a flame, the brighter it burns, the stronger and longer your passion can shine forth, burning beyond this year, this school, this life.

The conception of following your passion is a strange one,

And one that seems entirely egotistical:

It’s all about what you want to do.

With all those saying to give yourself to others and live to serve,

It seems counter-intuitive to focus on yourself and dare to ask the question:

What is that I want to do?

With this question comes responsibility far beyond the household chores of mom and dad.

With this question comes a responsibility to first,

Find your passion

And second,

To work as hard as you can,

As long as you can,

And as desperately as you can towards that passion.

For those that choose to work counter to their passion,

It is akin to metaphysical suicide:

Nothing of what made you, what defined and refined you,

Will be left.

All that will remain is an empty shell.

Don’t sacrifice or change your passion for anyone else or anything outside of you.

If you choose to do so, let it be your choice alone,

Let your heart guide you to a new passion

Because learning what drives you is vitally important.

You cannot even begin to

Find your place

Find your purpose

In the world until you answer the question:

What is your passion?

So go out now, and bring your passion to bear against a world of oppression, a world of hope, a world of injustice, and a world of grace.

Let your passion run free,

let your spirit run wild,

let your soul be what it was meant to be,

let passion spill forth from every vein and soak the world,

harness it and set it loose upon the world.

So leave this experience, this program, this school,

Ready to go out into the world and make a difference.

With your determination, your mind, and your passion ready to ignite:

Go forth and set the world on fire.

— Post by 2010-2011 Resident Gray Jackson

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