Definition of Epiphany: a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
This week I’ve had two –both with men, both familial.
The first with my son during a telephone conversation from him, which I listened as he spoke to me about his life, responsibilities, wants and needs. As I listened, what I heard was a type of discontent. And, it dawned on me that this may be what I have often echoed to my own parents, and how sad it must have been for them to have heard this same discontent from me for years. I decided right then to consciously change this language to content, possible and hopeful with all persons one conversation, one day at a time.
The second epiphany came last night when I shared with my father the first epiphany and he listened and looked at me and then said, you must have forgotten how you were as a young girl – I did NOT expect to hear these words or the examples of heart ache he described thereafter. Yet, I listened. I apologized for the heartache I bestowed unknowingly on him and my mother.
And then, I shared my perceptions of what happened in my life at that time. As he listened, and he did, I knew he was hearing my recollection and realization much differently. It was a lot to absorb for both of us. And even as I share this now, I know that we will both never be the same. For me, I will be more compassionate, listen more, talk less, need less, and continue to strive for that balance, that art of contentment.
As Easter approaches, and Lent comes to a close, I will share something I offered up during my Lenten journey with Christ. My Lenten Fast was this – to choose NOT to engage in any negative communication with others or toward myself, and if I slipped up, I would deposit $1 in a jar to be given to an organization for those who are less fortunate than myself such as MANNA FoodBank recipients or Catholic Charities. I may have $10 in the jar to distribute – not bad for 40 days of commitment and what I’ve learned is that this will be an ongoing way of life for me – listen more, talk less, if I must talk, be aware of my choice of words. An acronym for the word ‘THINK’ is this: Is what you are about to say: Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind? If so, it’s okay to proceed, if not, it’s best to just listen or move on.
I’m often reminded that each day I have a choice to begin again – anew – to make amends where needed – that there’s so much to be grateful for – there’s always something to give back to people – the planet – that something is as simple as a smile – a thank you – it’s love in every form of kindness and respect to another human being, mother earth, animal, flower, tree, stream. Pick up trash, recycle, decrease use of plastic and anything else that will not decompose in a landfill – cook more – share what you have – care for self and loving self is NOT selfish. This year as in years past, I create a list of prayers and intentions for myself and those I love before the year ends, and at the stroke of midnight, I walk into the New Year of New beginnings with list in hand and a heart full of all that I would love to happen for myself, others, our planet, my community and the universe trusting that the God of my understanding hears me always and answers my requests in His time.