It’s not often enough I take time to ponder the meaning of a word. To understand its proper use when communicating, perhaps more meaningfully, to contemplate resulting thought patterns.

Some differences in definitions for the same word are slight, others noticeably measurable. In the case of the word “patron” (and I’m not talking tequila), one might overtly support the arts or an establishment. Generally, this support is by giving financially. For instance, if I’m hungry, I go to a restaurant of my choosing, order what I’d like to eat, dine and pay. The service provider thanks me for my patronage. If I frequent the eatery, they may get to know me by name, personalizing my patronage.

If inspired by an artist, writer or musician, buying their work is how I show support for their creativity. But if I’m truly passionate, and have the means, I might make a more significant contribution to one of their projects or specific need. However, in this scenario I’m likely part of a broader base of patrons, and the chances quite slim I’ll ever interact on a personal level with those I support.

As I see things, here’s what’s in it for me… in the first case, the satisfaction of a good meal is immediate, but doesn’t last. Giving money and/or time to those who’s creativity compels me, or a cause in which I strongly endorse, provides me the near-term fulfillment knowing I get to watch artistry, innovation and compassion blossom – flourishing in large part because of any size contribution I and others choose to make.

Maybe the point to this post is we’re patrons of what matters to us; and, though our patronage may not be known to others, our choices compel how we live, which WILL be known to others.

Epilogue: I’m not sure how, but I recently discovered that Saint Cecelia is known as the patron saint of music. She lived in 2nd century Rome, and her passion was God. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she “sang in her heart to the Lord” (Wikipedia). On her deathbed she asked the pope to convert her home into a church.

Many composers, bands, writers and musicians have created works in tribute to Saint Cecelia, a legacy resulting from of her passion. Check out the Foo Fighters EP dedicated to Saint Cecelia, it’s a free download!

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