Epiphany… a moment of sudden intuitive understanding.
My decades-old Webster’s Dictionary offers this definition which captures the outcome of a recent disconcerting experience quite precisely. It all began in November with a visit from our mail carrier. Among that day’s delivery was a notice from the U.S. Government regarding Social Security. I was quite taken aback by this because, in my mind, my mom had received the equivalent mailing just a few years ago. How had it happened that I’d suddenly reached my mother’s age? I admit that my unsettled reaction to this reality lasted for weeks. I found that I couldn’t remember a thing and that I ached all over. When I managed to remember to look at my to-do list, it seemed to take me longer than ever to complete each task. In the midst of my efforts, I unhappily pointed out, “Dear God, I’m getting old!” Fully expecting that I’d garnered a bit of the Lord God’s sympathy, I took a deep breath and hoped for the best.
A few days into this melancholy, I absent-mindedly tuned in to an interview on television. I was attending to email upstairs while my husband was in the family room watching. The guest piqued my interest when she shared that she was a newly published author. I abandoned the email and walked downstairs to listen more closely when this woman shared her excitement at having her first book published at age 73. This tidbit elicited a smile from me which remained intact as I ran upstairs to finish that email. Not long after, I was interrupted again by two familiar voices. Though this was at least the twentieth time I’d heard this ad, I ran downstairs again. This time, I watched as Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett sang a familiar Christmas Carol together. “When these two sing together, their age difference means nothing,” I told myself. Though their intent was to entice me to shop at Barnes and Noble, they inadvertently drew another smile from me. With that, I ran up the stairs to finally finish that email.
A week later, my husband, a dear friend and I attended a concert. For two decades, we had listened to Darlene Love sing Baby Please Come Home on David Letterman’s pre-Christmas show. Because Letterman is off the air and we were unlikely to hear her again, when news of this concert came, we immediately purchased tickets. The concert proved to be everything we had hoped for and more. Darlene Love is a consummate professional who made the tickets worth twice the price we paid. Throughout the concert, she related various experiences from her career. She also shared that she is 74 years of age. Suddenly, I realized that the Lord God indeed sympathized with my “age issues” as an uncontrollable smile overwhelmed me and my aching spirit.
On this Feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the Magi. These astronomers, who took their calling quite seriously, had observed changes in the night sky. They checked their charts and ancient writings regarding the unusual star which had caught their attention. When they realized the treasure which awaited them if they followed that star, they set out on a treacherous journey. In the end, they found the newborn king in whom heaven and earth had become one. In the end, they carried word of this miracle back to their people who otherwise would never have known the extent of God’s love for them. In the end, the Magi’s effort changed everything in their little corners of this world.
Epiphany… a moment of sudden intuitive understanding. Through these encounters with my own magi of sorts, I experienced an epiphany as well. That 73-year-old author, the Tony Bennett-Lady Gaga duo and Darlene Love opened my eyes to the importance of what each of us has to offer to those around us. Eligibility for social security has nothing to do with my calling. What I do with my unique gifts has everything to do with God’s invitation to use these gifts well. My personal magi have no idea that they transformed my fretting over getting old into a renewed commitment to embrace the opportunities God places in my path. There is still time for me to complete my half-finished books along with the many other adventures God has in store. The same is true for each one of us. In the process, we will all become magi who transform seemingly mundane moments into moments of sudden intuitive understanding of God’s love-driven plans for us all.
©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved