The Power of Passion
I live on the outskirts of a small town near Austin. About a mile and a half away as the crow flies is a driving range on the highway. Tonight, they had a fireworks show that just floored me. It was virtually non-stop with many going off simultaneously for 30-40 minutes, which I learned was shorter than the last couple of years. It was one of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen, and we were right at the scene of the action—I have ash and bits of unburned cardboard all over my hair and clothes. About half of the driving range was literally covered with the tubes and an army of about 15 people were down there setting things off, rushing from one stash to the next. They had patriotic music going, closing with Kate Smith belting out God Bless America. The finale tubes were maybe 50 feet away and consisted of a line of tubes producing about 3 minutes of non-stop streams of purple and yellow that formed a sheet of fire 50 feet tall with the sound of Niagara Falls magnified. I had to cover my ears.
It was a dollar donation to park, and that earned you a raffle ticket with dozens and dozens of prizes. There was a silent auction, and booths sponsored by groups within a local 7th Day Adventist church. There were a number of small business sponsors.
But the heart and soul of the show was two brothers (I think from that church), who have been doing this for the community for about 20 years. It used to be three brothers until one passed away. They just love pyrotechnics and so said, “why not?” I can’t imagine the expense of the event—not only were there probably $20,000 worth of fireworks, but they had several of those solar powered highway information signs advertising it along the highway, and local law enforcement for traffic control. They admitted the sponsorships hadn’t covered the full cost and asked for donations. This wasn’t some government sponsored event, just two locals turning their passion into a gift to the community. It was people taking charge and doing for themselves, not waiting nor wanting government to step in and take care of it for them.
As I reflect over the amazing evening, it is encouraging to see people like these brothers having a passion for something grand and making it happen annually for 20 years and counting.
Some may think of this as a waste of tons of money. I don’t know. I didn’t talk with the brothers long enough to find out what their true motivations are, but I have a hard time, on the surface, thinking God is displeased with them for bringing such joy to hundreds if not thousands of people, with simple, clean entertainment for their neighbors. Yes, it is an act of passion. It is also an act of agape, the unconditional love for others. No one is turned away, no one asked for qualifications, just “Come. Enjoy. Relax. Encounter Awe.”
What is our passion? What are we willing to make happen because we simply love it?
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