Epiphanies

Yesterday was January 6, 2015. It is was 12th day of Christmas, as the song goes. This means something unique to me through my roman-catholic-New Orleans-infused lens. It means it is time for eating the first king cake of the season, taking down the Christmas decorations, planning parties, Twelfth Night beans,  the song We Three Kings, and that Mardi Gras season officially begins. Yeah Epiphany!  Today, I want to think about another definition of the word epiphany
e·piph·a·ny əˈpifənē/
noun: Epiphany; noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies
  • a moment of sudden revelation or insight

I have had my fair share of epiphanies. I want to share the single-most-grace-filled event (or series of events) in my life thus-far and certainly the epiphany which has helped me to grow the most. Let me give a shorthand version of the facts and then dig into some of the gracegrown nuggets which I hope can be a gift to you in your own life. boy meets girl. they marry at 21. they busily live life and have three children. boy discovers that he can no longer be authentically married to girl. they get pregnant again. girl despairs. girl goes to church a lot. girl has an epiphany. girl is gracegrown. Yep…this is going to sound a little crazy to some of you. I did warn y’all that I am rooted in a faith and I was first introduced to that faith as a catholic. The nice thing about that was that I had clearly defined rituals to move through when I was looking for some comfort. When I learned that I was pregnant with my fourth child, I was so, so sad. I knew that my marriage was in it’s final stage and I already had three kids under the age of five…saying that I was overwhelmed really is the understatement of the year. I was shaken. I was shaken to my core. Going to daily mass in the morning with all of the retired folks felt like a good idea at the time. The pace was predictable. I could cry quietly and not be noticed. I knew when to stand and sit and speak and listen…everything was scripted…it was just the place for me to be when I had no idea what to do or how to behave. It was lent. Those of you who have a catholic background will understand my reference, those of you who don’t…google it.  I was pretty numb through most of these services but one day, I tuned into the reading with such focus that it felt as if everything else just melted away and the story was the only thing that I could hear or think about. So, the gist is that Jesus is wiped out from carrying this cross for so long and he is probably about to pass out. The guards tag a random guy from the crowd and make him take a turn to give Jesus a chance to catch his breath. This random guy is named Simon. This was mind-blowing for me!  The idea that he could need help struck me in a way that it never had before. If there was anything that I was able to relate to in that moment, it was feeling broken and weak and unable to continue…I needed help!  I needed a Simon! I can’t remember exactly how it came to me but in that moment, I knew that the baby I was carrying was my Simon and that he was going to help me to carry my cross…so to speak…It did not come to me in some loud way. It was more of a comforting whisper without specific words that let me know that I could lean into loving this child that I was dreading and that he was not only not going to be a burden to me but he was going to be a gift. I have never felt so loved in my entire life. This is how my son got his name, my dear Simon. I am sure that there are events that you can look back on that carried you through a really rough patch. I invite you to think about those a bit. I invite you to be thankful for them and to see how they were grace-filled times which helped to grow you into whom you are today. They don’t have to be pretty or clear or big or in anyway religious to be gracegrown experiences. They are just a part of your story and we all have them. Speaking of babies…New Orleans king cakes have a plastic baby inside and whoever gets the piece with the baby in it gets to be king, or queen, for the next week.  They also have to host the next party. If you have not had a king cake yet, please do. Here’s what they look like: kingcake

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