Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Epiphany of the Lord, the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.
An epiphany is a sudden perception, manifestation or appearance which is usually initiated by some simple or commonplace occurrence.
During Mass today, our priest spoke about his own epiphany. He spoke about his early life, his education, and his career as a chicken man. He spoke about his choice to adopt three teenage sons and the trials and tribulations of doing so. Most importantly though, he spoke about the day his sons urged him to pursue his calling. His epiphany. At the end of his homily he asked, “What was your epiphany?”
Sitting in that pew, I was inspired by his message, but completely perplexed by his question. I couldn’t think of my epiphany. I wasn’t even sure I had even had an epiphany. There I was, sitting in our church, and I couldn’t remember my “ah-ha” moment.
What if I missed it? I’ve always been spiritual and I’ve always felt close to God, but what if my epiphany had come and I missed it? What if I was too busy with my day-to-day life to pay attention to my epiphany? Could my epiphany have passed me by?
I contemplated epiphanies, and my questions, for the remainder of the day.
Then it hit me. I have had my epiphany. It occurred to me that most epiphanies seem to slap people upside the head and happen instantly, but mine was a slow moving revelation that felt like a tractor trailer slowly rolling over my entire existence. In other words, a not-so-sudden epiphany.
While epiphanies come from many different “normal” occurrences, mine came in the form of an unusual phone call. No, I didn’t speak to God on the phone, although that would have been cool, but my epiphany was delivered in a phone call with our mortgage company.
When our mortgage company chose to take our home from us, it could have been devastating. It could have driven me to drink, or worse, and it could have been a traumatic experience not only for myself, but for my wife, my children, and my entire family. But it wasn’t.
Once the initial shock wore off, I realized that things were out of my control. If I couldn’t control our fate, I sure as heck wasn’t going to allow the mortgage company to control it so I handed it over to God. He never let me down in the past, and He sure wasn’t going to start now. But this time was different.
In the days following our discovery that the mortgage company was taking our home even though we had made all our payments, I prayed. I prayed that we could keep our house, I prayed that it was all a horrible nightmare and I might wake up. I prayed it would “all work out”, and then I realized I was praying for all the wrong things (indeed an “ah-ha” moment).
So I started praying for God’s will. I started praying that His will be done. I started praying that He would reveal His plan to me. And so the real epiphany began.
When we realized we would not be keeping the house, we looked for a suitable place to live. We looked far and wide but couldn’t find the right place. We didn’t want to be homeless, and I knew the Lord would put us in the right place, at the right time.
He did, in more ways than one.
With each passing day, as the stress to find a new home increased, so did my faith. He revealed himself to me in ways I never thought possible, until I was closer to Him, spiritually, than I have ever been in my entire life. I realized things about my faith that surprised me. I realized my beliefs were not as “distant” as I thought they were. I realized that the only safe harbor was in the arms of God. God was calling me, and spiritually, I was home.
We had exhausted ourselves searching for a new home, to no avail. At the end of one of those exhausting days we were driving home, and I decided to take a different road than I normally take. And there it was, our new home. After weeks scouring the real estate market for the perfect place, our home was just sitting there waiting for us. Simple, small, and plain, but it was just what we needed, when we needed it. Heaven sent, if you will.
Looking back on those two months, I shudder to think what could have happened. Looking back on those two months, I get tired thinking about everything we went through. Looking back on those two months, I thank God for allowing me to go through them.
God was calling me. In fact, he had probably been yelling for quite a while and I, through the hardness of my heart, had been ignoring him. Once I began to listen He took the opportunity to move me, physically and spiritually, closer to Him.
So, when was your epiphany?