My thoughts about my “Christmas Morning Epiphany” from last week have become grits as author Rummer Godden would say, thoughts that have lodged in my mind and demand to be written about some more.
Last New Year’s I wrote a column entitled “The Raspberry Resolution” in which I communicated my general disdain for the tradition of the New Year’s Resolution. This year I have decided not to have any resolutions. Instead I will seek an Epiphany.
My daughter has begun her New Year by being a three-year-old in earnest. One of her jobs as a three-year-old is to test every boundary that her parents set for her. She is very good at this job, a determined and creative student. So determined and creative that I actually looked forward to grocery shopping this week, strolling the aisles of the store: me, my list and my creaky shopping cart, spending an inordinate amount of time comparing the labels on cans of diced tomatoes, mindlessly fondling bags of frozen peas while I let my husband guard the boundaries on the home front. I don’t know how single parents do it. Perhaps my Epiphany will be one about parenting, and afterward I will become so skilled a parent that there will be no more meltdowns (public or private), “please”, “thank you” and “may I” will never have to be coached again, and toys will be picked up and put in their places without asking.
But no, that is not an Epiphany; that is Utopia. Sigh.
In the Western tradition, the Christian Epiphany centers on the journey of the three kings, following a star to places unknown, exploring the world around them, learning new things, seeking new truths. What they discover, what they reveal is the mystery of God Incarnate, God in the form of a human child. That is their Epiphany.
One of the really neat things about the Christian religion is that it invites people to constantly explore the world around them, to learn new things, to seek new truths, to challenge themselves, to grow intellectually, and in doing so, grow spiritually.
So when I make the conscious decision to seek Epiphany, what I am deciding to do is explore the world around me, grow, learn, challenge myself. Basically, I am deciding to live fully with all my gifts rather than merely exist.
My daughter already does this, even when pushing on boundaries that my husband and I set. She wants to explore her world whole heartedly, to follow every star, which is why we require her to hold our hand in parking lots. Just last night she would have darted into oncoming traffic in her excitement at having spotted “Little Star”. She wants to pick up every shiny object, touch every furry creature. She’s fearless. She’s choosing to live life, to learn, to grow, and every day she has multiple epiphanies. It is amazing how much she is learning and growing right before my very eyes.
So maybe my Epiphany this year is a parenting one. Maybe I should be a little more like my three-year-old, and look to the Heavens for Little Star. Maybe I should try to push a little on those boundaries that have become all too safe and comfortable. Maybe I should explore my world and learn and grow intellectually and in doing so, grow a little spiritually too. Perhaps that is my Epiphany, at least one of them anyway.
May you have a blessed and ephiphany-filled 2010.
© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.