Some might answer for a lover, a child, or a pet. Others might say it's for a profession or creative passion. Some might think it's a silly question and respond matter of factly, "It's just what the heart does!" Still others might answer embarrassed and confused, "I don't know..."
It might even be a combination of the above.
Reflecting on my trip to Alaska, Victoria, and Seattle, I thought I would be most affected by abundant wildlife and nature's grandeur.
I was wrong.
While Mother Nature and her beloved children were breathtaking and certainly sights to behold, they didn't strum my heartstrings as much as the stories of two women I met on the trip.
The first woman was our tour guide on a bus tour of Denali National Park. At 21, she moved to Alaska and immediately fell in love. Well into her 50's now, she talked about her passions with such conviction of the heart, that I could physically feel her spirit.
The second woman was a former champion of the Iditarod trail sled dog race held in Alaska each year. She retired to the state of Montana, and recently moved back to Alaska. She now helps train and manage Alaskan huskies for another former Iditarod champion who offers tours at his home for folks who would like to visit with the huskies, their pups, and to learn more about the Iditarod experience.
What struck me most about this woman was the animation in her body and eyes as she talked about the race. When it came time for questions, the audience asked a lot about technicalities. The burning question in my heart was this.
"What do you love most about the race?"
Her eyes became misty. I sensed I had plucked a heartstring or two. Her answer was simple.
"The dogs," she whispered. "The way you care for the dogs, and they care for you."
We think that we have forever. That spectacular dress is still hanging in the back of your closet just waiting for the perfect occasion to dress her. Your creative plans are gathering dust on your desk or in your drawer because you just aren't ready. You've been planning to say or do something with someone who is meaningful to you, but the time is never right.
If not now, then when?
I've heard Tara Brach share in her podcasts that the biggest regret most people die with is the unlived life. Not doing what they really wanted to do. Not saying what they really wanted to say. Tara offers a reflection that is quite powerful.
What if you only had a month to live? A week? A day? An hour? What would matter most?
The other day I finished watching A Little Chaos. In one particularly scene, Andrè is lighting multiple candles in the darkness waiting for Sabine to come down and see him. It's the perfect metaphor for his need to awaken a dying passion both physically and figuratively.
Who or what will light candles to illuminate the dark corners of your heart? Why does your heart beat?