Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The question that must never be asked.

First of all, kudos to anyone who caught the Dr. Who reference in the title. (If you don't know what Dr. Who is, go find out, it is a great show!)

But seriously...what am I talking about? Today we had a guest speaker in my careers class. Everything was hunky-dory at first. She told us about her job and why she loves it, then she brought out this oversized deck of cards.

"This is called a Big Picture Deck." she explained as she scattered the cards across an empty table. Instead of the traditional four suits, numbers and faces, each card had an individual photographic image. "I would like each of you to choose the card that represents your passion and then tell me about your passion."

Dun dun dun!!!! She hadn't actually asked the question, but it was implied. What is your passion? This was so not fair. I wanted to raise my hand and say, "But, but, but...I don't know! I need more time!" This was, unfortunately, not an option. So I improvised.

Ever since getting the happy news that I would be joining the summer Study Abroad program I have had travel on the brain. I don't know if travel is my passion, but it is certainly something I want more of in my life (check out My Dream Board to see more of this). So I began searching through the deck for a picture of luggage.

I didn't find luggage, what I found instead was this:

A compass.

We took our images and divided into small groups to share our pictures and our passions. One of the girls in my group had a very specific passion that she shared in detail. I was impressed and intimidated. Even so, when our guest speaker asked if anyone would like to share their passion with the whole group, I volunteered.

I told the group that I didn't know what my passion was. I told the group that I was currently suffering a bad case of travel-fever, so I had sought an image associated with travel. the middle of my impromptu presentation, I was struck by a sudden thought. So I added that it seemed significant that the image of travel I had lit upon was a compass.

Compasses do symbolize travel, but they symbolize much more than that. They symbolize direction. I shared with the group that I was currently on a journey of self-discovery and that it was fortuitous that this compass would so succinctly encompass my quest for direction.

There is poem, a song really, that JRR Tolkien wrote that I love. If you have seen The Lord of the Rings, then this will be familiar to you, and if you haven't seen LotR, shame on you!

"The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can. Pursuing it with weary feet, until it meets some larger way. Where many paths and errands meet, and whither then I cannot say."

I have always found this to be extremely poignant and inspiring. I love the idea of "the road goes ever on and on." It seems to suggest that no matter what life throws at you, life goes on, and that is good. The part that has always touched me the most, though, is the last line, "and whither then I cannot say." The future is always a mystery and that can be scary, but this poem makes it seem exciting.

In fact, this is not the first time I have considered the compass or these words an important symbol for me. I have a few tattoos and I plan on getting a few more. Each tattoo marks some specific event or self-realization that I want to memorialize. The design I am most eager to implement next is that very line, "and whither then I cannot say," wrapped around the edges of a compass.

I am beginning to feel empowered by my search. Self-discovery may not be my passion, but it certainly seems to be my path at the moment. And I must pursue it with weary feet until it leads me to the next step!


  1. Nice. This is a great blog. Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Thank you! I look forward to your comments. Thanks for reading!