Where does inspiration come from?
As I search for the answer to that question, my eyes meet the side of my cup, “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.” –Oprah Winfrey. Is passion the answer. With that, I am reminded of another quote:
“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.”
Inspiration does not come from passion directly. Rather, inspiration comes from witnessing passion. Passion is a quality that few people possess. It’s a quality that sets those few apart. For the trial lawyer, passion is what allows you to swallow your fears and stand before a jury and judge to make your case. For the artist, passion is what drives you through sleepless nights and hungry days to create your genius for the world to see. And for the soldier of the greatest country on this earth, passion is what gives you the ability to put your life on the line to fight for the grandest idea this world has ever known; freedom.
On Memorial Day we come together as a country to remember the 1,321,612 men and woman who gave their lives for the blanket of freedom we are blessed to sleep under each and every night. The 1,321,612 men and women who obeyed that yearning deep inside their heart and made that impossible choice: their lives for ours. There is no greater passion. And from that passion, truly no greater inspiration. No truer purpose.
Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that life is a journey, not a destination. So where does inspiration come from? Today I know it comes from watching those who have the bravery to make that journey with passion; the kind of passion that inspires.
The kind of passion I see in my best friend Phil. Phil and I went to high school together here in Tampa. He did the smart thing and went to Boston for college, and followed his passion to obtain a degree in photojournalism. This passion led him to far away lands where he discovered his calling; combat journalism. A calling which led him back to college for a second degree so he could enlist as an Officer in the United States Army, where he now proudly serves. Phil is a leader of men, and an inspiration to us all.
Today as I write this, safe in my local Starbucks, my best friend Phil is in a far away land, fighting for our freedom; living his life with passion. And on the eve of Memorial Day, I, the young lawyer, in search of the right words to say, need look no further than you Phil. And I would be remiss were I to close without telling you, thank you. I have told you before and I have no shame in sharing this with the world. Your passion has and continues to inspire me each and every day.
And to all those men and women who have so selflessly given your lives so that we can continue to have ours – thank you.