Is it Better to Be Passionate or Passive? (Can You Be Both??)

This past week, I came across the quote below from Sue Monk Kidd and it’s been rumbling around in my mind ever since:

“I had tended to view waiting as mere passivity. When I looked it up in my dictionary, however, I found that the words ‘passive’ and ‘passion’ come from the same Latin root, *pati*, which means ‘to endure.’ Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work . . . It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives falsely.”

Why did this catch and hold my attention?

I think it’s because I so often associate waiting with wasted time, hanging fire,  and, frankly, being annoyed.

As many of you know, I’m not a super-fan of people who keep me waiting and my husband has been known to remark that not only do I get out of bed in the morning as if I’ve been shot out of a cannon, but I am happiest when I have the sense he’s been shot out, too.

So what might happen if I change my modus operandi? If I decide that waiting is a time when I can ‘listen to the disinherited voices within, face the wounded holes in my soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places I might be living falsely’?


With this in mind, then, I’ve made the decision to try to view the waiting I do with, if not greater equanimity (let’s be realistic) at least greater curiosity.

I’m writing today to invite you to do the same—to live as passively as you do passionately.


If this approach to waiting makes you jumpy, however, take a look at “It’s Easier to Stand Up in White Water: aka Abandon the Quest for Perfect Conditions.”