07/27/2012 04:22 pm ET | Updated Sep 26, 2012

What Is Passion?

What is passion? I listened to a radio program the other day where two gentlemen were discussing the subject of passion. The host urged his listeners to make a list of their passions. To me, passion is a very, very strong word, so my list would be very short. There is something one likes or cares about, and then there is feeling passionately about something or someone.

I thought about this for quite a while, and initially felt as though I were lacking some vital quality. I know that I care deeply about many things. I read a sad story and feel the tears begin to well; I sit in a movie theatre and see a couple kissing and I feel their love; I see the newspaper and read about killings or floods or hurricanes and destruction of people homes and lives and I care deeply. That's caring. Still, I didn't run to help rebuild the homes that were destroyed. If I had, it would have defined passion.

Yet what do I feel passionately about? I worked for years and although I often bitched about things, I loved my work. I felt needed, productive and in my own way, proud. I knew I was good at what I did, and that felt wonderful. But what did I feel passionate about?

Ever since I retired a couple of years ago, people have asked me what I was going to do. I was advised to do charity work or go back to school and take some courses. I needed to feel passionately about a charity for me to give my heart to. I offered my services to the one organization that met that requirement. Unfortunately, they didn't take me up on my offer. I realized afterwards that what they needed from me was the ability to get people with money to fund them. Sadly, I couldn't help. I would have stuffed envelopes for them, and happily.

I love infants. I can make the most unhappy infant stop crying. I never tire of holding a tiny baby in my arms and soothing their pain and fears. I would have offered to help in a hospital where infants of mothers who have abused drugs during their pregnancy have sadly passed their addiction on to their children. Unfortunately, I don't live near any of these hospitals.

I love writing, but I'm not passionate about it. It's like love; it ebbs and flows and sometimes it simply wears itself out. My daughter Lori, on the other hand, is passionate about her writing. She works at her regular job all week, and spends many a night and most weekends at her computer working on her next project. She is passionate.

Is there nothing at this stage in my life that I feel passionate about? I remember being very much in love for a very long time. I was consumed with passion. I carried that feeling with me in a way that made me love the world and all that was in my reach. That kind of passion leads you into a wondrous feeling for all things. I wanted to keep it for the remaining years that I have. I considered it a good luck charm. It sounds so silly, but when you are filled with such passion, it fills your body with good health, a sound mind and loving feelings to others.

As I write this, what I realize is that my passions are people; those that I love and have loved. My children and grandchildren fill me with passion. I would do anything and everything for them. The man I loved made me want to do everything and anything for him. I need nothing back in return for my love. That is my passion. They are my passion.