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Hartselle Enquirer

Where is your passion? 

By A. Ray Lee   

Columnist 

These cool fall mornings and temperate afternoons bring out deer as they begin to move into the open after remaining hidden in the shade during the blistering heat of summer. Recently two big does stood like statues and watched from a pasture as I drove by before they bounded away with their white flags waving goodbye. Later in the day, I read a sign outside a local business encouraging me to “eat, sleep, hunt.” 

As the thermometer readings fall, buck fever rises. Long before the opening of the season, the avid hunter has read all the latest copies of outdoor and hunting magazines while planning his strategy for getting the big one that got away last season. He has made sure his game plots have been planted and fertilized to assure the deer have found them and hopefully will be feeding on opening day. The hunter has sighted in his rifle more than once. He has purchased the latest in camouflage clothing and scent-proofed it. He has readied all his gear and now he anxiously anticipates opening day. 

When the dates of the season were released, certain days on his calendar were blocked off. In the coming weeks they will be sacrosanct, over-riding all other events as they drive his schedule until the season is over. The family must check with him before planning family outings. (I once had been asked to perform a wedding on a certain date, but it was changed until later because it interfered with the father’s special hunt on that day.) 

In Alabama, the passion of an avid deer hunter is matched only by that of loyal Auburn and Bama fans who flock to the packed stadiums cheering their team as it chases the elusive number one ranking. But I will leave that for later. 

How do I know these things?  As a much younger man I had a like passion.  But many things in life change as we age. Over the years my passion for the hunt gradually faded away until it no longer holds priority over my time or has the power to motivate me. Trophy racks mean little as they hang lifelessly in obscure places in my garage and adjacent office. 

But there is a passion that continues to hold sway in my life as I have aged. There is a transforming power in a passion for a worthy cause. As a young man I entered into Christian ministry with a calculated purpose to touch and influence the lives of those in the churches where I was privileged to serve. In my latter years this purpose has grown into an ardent passion that defies retirement and hopefully does not know bounds.    

Joshua, a great leader of Israel in her formative years, challenged the people in his farewell address to them with these words: “Choose you this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15.) Where is your passion? 

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