What is it that Ignites Your Passion??

All of us have something that stokes our fires, something that gives us Purpose and Direction.

When You were a little kid, do you remember adults asking you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”   My Father had dreams of becoming an attorney in the early years of his life.  He did not become an attorney, but His career flourished and he advanced into Human Resource work tied to the Civil Service for the Air Force.  My Dad was a driven person.  He started working for Walker Air Force Base in Roswell New Mexico shortly after he graduated from Roswell High School.  I was born in 1958, about 3 years after my Dad started working for Walker in “Base Supply”. 

            Base Supply stocked all the essentials for keeping things running for the Air Force Base there in Roswell.  My Dad started out as a Warehouse Employee stocking and pulling orders.  Everything from Air Plane Tires for the Jets that flew out of there, to the nuts and bolts needed to put shelves together all over that Air Base.  My Dad found passion for what he did for the Air Force. 

            One of the things I distinctly remember about my Dad was his Punctuality.  I can imagine him showing up early for his first day at the Base Supply Warehouse with a tight, crew cut haircut, starched pants and shirt, polished workboots and his sleeves rolled up ready to work.  My Dad was driven to provide for our Family.  In addition to his regular full time work with Civil Service, he was always looking for ways to provide extra income to help our growing family have what we needed.  My Dad always had a part time job to supplement what the Air Force paid him.  I was the oldest in my family.  Then came Fernando, Andrew and our Little Sis, Yolanda.  We were all about 3 years apart.  Baby Boomer generation for all three of us boys and then Generation X for Yolanda. 

            Both of my parents were born during the Depression years.  Making do with what they had and being Frugal and Saving was at the core of our Family Dynamic.  I believe this is part of what fueled the “Passion” for our family.  I remember my Parents always using the term—“You have to always get ahead”.  Get ahead of your Bills, Get Ahead of your Saving, Get Ahead of your Education, Your Plans, Your Journey into the rest of your Life.  My Dad advanced from working in the Base Supply Warehouse to the “Personnel” department, the Human Resources Section of Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis New Mexico.  When I was in the second grade at Pecos Elementary in Roswell, Walker Air Force Base was decommissioned.   My Dad was transferred to Cannon Air Force Base located next to Clovis New Mexico about 100 miles to the northeast of Roswell where Walker was located.  Let me share a story with You about the passion my Dad and Mom carried for our family.             

In addition to my Dad working at Walker Air Force Base and my Mom working as a hairdresser, they remodeled the first little house they acquired when I and my 2 brothers came into the world.  They did this with their own four hands.  Tiny, little, low ceilinged house in an old Barrio area of Roswell.  All they could afford when they wanted a place of their own when we were born.  Then after that house, my Mom and my Dad acquired a housing lot in a better part of town, close to Pecos Elementary School where I walked to and from every day.  My parents built a simple 3 bedroom, two bathroom, Ranch Style house on that lot—again with their own hands.  This was accomplished on weekends and after their regular jobs every day.  My Dad cut his teeth gaining skills and working with tools for all of his life.  With sweat pouring from his brow, He could swing a hammer, handle a posthole digger, or nail up sheetrock with the best of them.  My Mom was there every day cleaning up behind him and sometimes holding lumber for him as he made the cuts.  Passion and drive in both of them, to the very core. 

            Their efforts culminated in a brand new, simply laid out 3 bedroom Ranch with 2 bathrooms and a one car carport attached.  I have memories of me and my two brothers staying at my Grandmother’s house, the night my parents had the housewarming party.  Me and my brothers came back to the new house the next morning.  We found open boxes everywhere of 60’s style lamps, vases, clocks and other new accoutrements that had helped warm up our new home the night before.  My parents had eaten, drank, danced and sang with their Family and Friends into the wee hours of the morning to inaugurate our new home.  Their hangovers were starting to dissipate as we explored all the new additions to our home.  That was the first of 4 new homes my Parents built over their years together.

            When we moved to Clovis for the transfer to Cannon Air Force Base, my parents rented a house on Las Palomas Street in the middle of the city.  We lived there for 1 year where my Mom was the Den Mother of my Cub Scout Troop.  The new house they had built for us in Roswell was empty for that year while they weighed their options for another home to buy or build in the Clovis Community.  After a bunch of looking and weighing out their options, they decided on something bold.  The idea was my Mom’s.  My Mom and Dad knew the roots of our family would be sunk deep into the Clovis Community.  They ended up scratching up a down payment for 5 acres of land located just outside of the western border of Clovis proper.  They were making plans for a new house there when my Mom had a Eureka moment.  She made the suggestion to my Dad that they have the new house that they had built in Roswell—moved to the 5 acre tract they had put money down on.  At first my Dad was scoffing the idea, but after some research and number crunching and losing tons of sleep thinking about it—He decided to make my Mom’s idea come to fruition.   

            In the Summer between my 3rd and 4th grade years, my parents had the pier and beam house, busted away from the foundation. It was outfitted with long steel beams, and big tires that created the house moving trailer. It was then ,slowly driven the 100 miles from Roswell to Clovis.  The movers ended up coming across a narrow bridge as they neared our acreage.  They ended up having to jack up the trailer carrying the house and take off some of the outside tires and narrow the trailer in order to get across the bridge.  My Parents had to weather the trepidation they felt as the huge trailer slowly made its’ way across the bridge with our home perched on top.  They brought it farther down the road and made it to the site, where my Dad had repeatedly measured, and meticulously built the new foundation for the house.  They carefully placed it where it needed to be, lowered it onto the new foundation and everyone breathed a whole lot better.  After a few days, the process was painstakingly finished as more supports were put in place and all the plumbing and electrical was hooked up.

 I remember the night when our family moved back into the house we had grown up in.  It was absolutely magical to be able to roam the house and remember where it had been and then looking out the windows, to realize where it was now.  One of the best memories I have of my childhood.  That was the home where I lived until I graduated from Clovis High School in May of 1976.  That home had about 1500 square feet in its’ entirety but then a couple of years later, my parents almost tripled the size of the house with a family room addition and a 3 car garage.  Think about the Passion required for my Parents to move that house from Roswell to Clovis and have it put down on land they had managed to acquire.

Passion was one of the traits my Parents imbued me with.  Passion became one of my strengths and one of my banes as well.  It fueled my drive, ambition and my search for my path.  It helped me accomplish goals in my life and revealed things for me.  My quest for perfection instead of excellence also drove me bonkers sometimes.  My Wife Lupe and my Children can attest to that.  They weathered my vehement tirades and deep slides into emotional turmoil over the years. I am very fortunate that they still Love me today. 

            At some point in my early life someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up?  I had absorbed the fact that my Dad had dreams of being an attorney.  I ended up answering that I wanted to be a Lawyer when I grew up.  My Dad was close by and he heard what I said.  I was in my teenage years at the time and my answer to the question ended up putting me on a path that my Dad started cultivating for me.  Through my High School years and into my early years of College, being an attorney was what my Father had tried to set my foundation for.  It was something he was trying to live vicariously through me.  As my college years passed, I came to realize that being an attorney was not what I wanted to do with my Life.  This caused a ton of rift between me and my Father.  It took me many years to finally find peace with the fact that this is My Life and no one else’s.   My path has been winding, confusing and varied.  Now 38 years later after what was supposed to be a temporary stepping stone into something else in my life—I have come to realize that I am where I am supposed to be. 

            I carried overwhelming Passion into my work as a Phlebotomist.  It scared me like no one else I ever witnessed training or supervising.  It also drove me to gain skill, experience and helped me find Compassion for the Patients I served over the years.  Where are You in your work as a Phlebotomist?  Over my many years of experience I witnessed so many people that came into Phlebotomy, using it as an entry into the Medical Field.  Some of them had Passion during their short tenure for the experience.  I also witnessed some that lacked Passion and true care for the Patients they were called upon to serve.  I remember seeing the “Shine” in the eyes of some of those new people I trained and helped establish, lose its luster and heartfelt commitment over time.  The work changed for many of those people from a calling to just a “job”.  I was one of those that experienced those feelings during my long tenure.  My eyes lost their shine.  Now, all these years later, I realize that I was put on this path to help me grow as a person.  I was put on this path to help me find empathy, compassion and connection with those I serve.  My eyes shine for what I do — again…

            Even if your experience as a Phlebotomist is a means to carry You into something else You are trying to accomplish, I hope the “Shine” in your eyes, never diminishes.  I hope lasting Passion and Fire accompanies You, wherever You are on your path…   

When You are searching for Fire and Passion on your journey…

Remember to “Lean, Lock and Roll into it…” Steven…