The Importance of Passion

Although I’m not a very good cook myself, I usually enjoy watching any food show that features the ascerbic, streetwise Manhattan chef and author Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain travels around the world, commenting on both the culture and the cuisine of the places to which he travels.

In one episode I watched, he visited the famed French Laundry, the restaurant north of us in Yountville that is renowned for its exquisitely prepared, and consequently expensive, menu. What was fun about watching this show was the delight that Bourdain displayed at watching the French Laundry’s chef, Thomas Keller, prepare these culinary creations. No detail is too small for Keller; he even prepares the food using vegetables and fruits that are specially grown for the restaurant.

In one memorable scene, Keller opened a fava-bean pod to show the camera the way the beans were nestled in the pod. With awe, he expressed utter delight at the way these beans were cradled in their covering. His awe and delight became Bourdain’s, and the audience’s — who among us has really taken the time to notice such details, and to find such joy in them?

And that’s the point of this reflection: that when one is living out of one’s Divine purpose and passion, every detail matters — and our delight in those details will in turn delight, and expand others. As John Ruskin once wrote, “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

May we delight in the details of our particular passions, and may our delight delight others. May our love and skill work together, today and every day.

—Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon

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