I have got a nasty cold. You know what’s so annoying about colds? You can’t do anything to make them go away. You just gotta deal with them… “rest and fluids.” So I’m propped up in bed with a glass of orange juice and an (empty) pint of ice cream watching Julie and Julia. Love this movie. I just got to the part where Julia Child has moved to France but hasn’t yet started cooking…
Julia: “What should I do?”
Paul (her husband): “About what?”
Julia: “Well, I don’t really want to go back to government work. But shouldn’t I find something to do? …I saw a notice on the bulletin board of the embassy – hat making lessons…”
Paul: “You like hats.”
Julia: “I do. I do…”
Paul: “What is it that you really like to do?”
Julia (without hesitation): “Eat.”
They have a good laugh. Then the scene cuts to her hat making class… it was pretty much a bust.
Julia: “I was thinking of taking bridge lessons.”
Paul: “You like bridge.”
Julia: “I do. I like the idea of bridge.”
Cut to bridge lessons… which turned out to be a bore. She ends up on a hunt for a French cookbook in English. Which leads to cooking classes. Which eventually leads to her writing her own cookbook – “for the servantless American cook.”
You can’t fake something like that. Or make it go away. Or replace it. Bridge was never gonna be her thing. Because her thing was food.
My brother and I send each other links to what we want for Christmas. It’s a little less than sentimental, but it’s kind of like a tradition, which makes it sound a touch sweeter. In any case, this year he wanted a night vision scope, to hunt coyotes and other small rodents. And I wanted the Complete Word Study Series by Spiros Zodhiates (it’s kind of like the king of Bible dictionaries, at least that was the word on the street). See, my brother really likes to shoot things and I really like words. And at the core, whatever we really like to do is inherently just a touch bizarre. Because it is something like counter to our culture to really like something – like to like it to the degree that we would be willing to give up things like hat-making and bridge in order to pursue it.
Because like Julia, we may like hats. We may like the idea of bridge. But what is it we really like? What is it we would be willing to commit to at the expense of the other things you like but don’t really like? What is it we would do with all our heart even if no one was ever going to know about or respect it?
See, Julia Child took her passion and she went for it. Like whole-heartedly went for it, and I think she’d still have gone for it with just as much joy and bravado even if she’d been less “successful.” There is something contagious about going whole-hog for something. It’s catching. Even if you don’t catch Julia’s passion for cooking, catch her passion for passion.