“Hey Dan, I’m hungry. Wanna go in on a pizza?”

“It’s 9:00pm, Clayton. Why would I want to eat pizza now?”

“Because it’s delicious! I need a buddy to share it–so you in?”

“No, Clayton.”

“Come on! You’ll love it. Let’s get a pizza.”

“Where are you going to order it from, Clayton?”

“Papa John’s. It’s my favorite.”

“Ugh. Seriously? I think I must’ve had too many of those pizzas in college–I’m not interested.”

“YOU DON’T LIKE Papa John’s?! Are you crazy?”

“Clayton, What’s so great about Papa John’s?”

“It’s fresh. They’re generous with the toppings. You should try it again–I promise you’ll love it.”

“Ok Clayton. I’m in.”

He was right. It was delicious. But to this day I’m not sure it tasted so good because it was fresh–or because Clayton’s joyful passion was making it taste better.

Clayton was one of the surgical technicians I worked with at the hospital. Great guy. He died last year. Aneurysm. He was 37. Shocked us all.

Clayton was passionate about lots of things. He made the world better. In his death he gave life to others by donating his organs. His funeral was too far away for us to attend. Instead, we went to Papa John’s in his memory. To this day, when I eat Papa John’s, I smile and remember a passionate friend’s contagious love for something–how his joy changed my experience.

Never underestimate the power of your joy.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2