Something in my gut didn’t feel right. There was a tension in my soul that was tugging at me. It was strong and I couldn’t shake it. I was about to do something that was risky. I was about to do something that could have a ripple effect in my life. Worlds were about to collide. I was about to take my wife duck hunting with me.
It’s a frightening thought for most of us. Most of the guys I know who enjoy outdoor pursuit have successfully categorized their worlds and like to keep them separated. I am this way. For many of us our pursuit is a sacred place. It’s our escape. It’s our quiet space. Whenever I get a chance to go out in the woods there is a small part of me that is selfish, and I’d be willing to bet that you are no different.
We headed south toward the swamp and I was excited to introduce her to the wonder of waterfowl, but still a little hesitant to let her in on the magic. As a duck hunter I know that once you behold the wonder, sounds, and beauty of wild ducks flying, working, and communicating you may never be the same. Ultimately the desire for her to see and understand why I am so passionate about these birds and the pursuit of ducks became greater than my hesitation about compromising my worlds.
We set up on the levee right at sundown. At this particular swamp the ducks come in to roost at twilight. We sat down up against the brush so that we would blend in. The sun painted the sky a brilliant pink and orange mixture. The sparse clouds broke up the rays of remaining sunlight. It was beautiful. Then the real show started.
We sat quietly as the ducks began coming in. The stillness of the air gave way to the chatter of ducks as they flew home for the night. Their wings rhythmically beat the air creating that unmistakable sound. It’s the sound that makes my heart rate change.
Few words were spoken as we stared at the sky while hundreds and hundreds of ducks descended on the swamp out of the fiery twilight sky. I snuck a look over at Emily and she was glued to the horizon, captivated by the display. I smiled because I knew she’d caught a glimpse of it. In that moment something clicked in my soul.
There is a transaction that takes place internally when we share our passion with someone. When we step beyond the comfort of our sacred places and allow someone else to experience our experience something happens that we don’t often realize. Just like using a match that is aflame to light another match, when we share our passion and take someone along we can ignite passion in them. It’s powerful.
It’s an easy thing to describe in the hunting or outdoors context. No one who likes to hunt just arbitrarily decided to become passionate about the pursuit. Every single one of us was introduced to it by another person. For some of us it was a family member. For other’s it may have been a friend. Maybe it happened when you were a child, or perhaps it was later in life. The truth remains that there was a point in time when someone in your life invited you into their passion and something inside you came alive.
What I’ve learned, and what is amazing to me, is that passion is always contagious. The particular activity where we discover our passion may not be contagious, but passion itself is contagious. Every time I invite someone into the woods for their first time, something changes. Not every person I’ve introduced to hunting went on to become a hunter, but every person I’ve invited into my world experienced my passion. When we see passion burning in someone else it resonates in our soul and our passion awakens.
As my wife and I were walking out of the swamp that night she looked at me in the moonlight and said:
“I get it now… I get why you love it so much.”
When I invited her into my world she saw my passion, and, while I don’t think she’ll become a serious duck hunter any time soon, my passion caused her to consider hers.
That’s the power of bringing someone with you. Whether you love to hunt, fish, paint, build, or any other passion that burns inside of you; bring someone along. Let your fire ignite theirs. It may be the greatest gift you can give them.
Not only can you inspire people by passion on your passion, but you can realize a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose in your life. People want to be led. We want to be taken on a journey. The people in your life are no different. God has equipped you with skills, talents and passions to lead the way. No matter what you love, what you’re chasing, or where you are in your journey, you can be an influencer. You were made to be significant. Share your passion with the world around you make a an impact.