I have had a few awesome epiphanies in the semi-century I’ve lived. One day, I will write about them. I have had many epiphanettes, too. In sweet serendipitous simplicity, my most recent occurred not too long ago.
Early in November, I had lunch in the City with an old friend. We talked about movies. I had told him before of how the French film “Of Gods and Men” had changed my life and urged him to get it. He told me about “The Mission”. I knew about it, but had yet to see it. After lunch, we headed over to the Green Apple Bookstore, the place where I would like to be buried unless I die in the fall, and then I’d like to be buried in the holiday section of Joann’s. Anyway, since John generously picked up the lunch tab, I had book money….yay!! Well, to get to the point, “The Mission” was there and I got it.
Days later, I got around to watching it. It is a good movie, not as good as my aforementioned French film, but there was a scene that moved me and became a part of this three pronged epiphanette.
Robert DeNiro plays a slave hunter who captures natives in the south of Brazil and sells them to a slave trader. He eventually becomes a priest, and in an act of penance climbs the mountains to the Mission above the Falls with a load of his former wares: swords, guns, shields, etc. It is a treacherous hike, and his burden is very heavy. He allows no one to help him. Once he reaches the summit, he collapses under his load. His fellow priests attempt to cut the load from his back, but he refuses. He only allows the Natives to cut it loose. One Native cuts it off (in what seems to be an act of forgiveness) and hurls the load over the falls. DeNiro’s character weeps, the Natives applaud.
This scene immediately spoke to me since I feel like I have hauled a great deal of my past around like DeNiro’s burden. Inside my load were most of my regrets, all of the guilt and shame from my mistakes and some from other people’s mistakes, as well as the should’ves, could’ves and would’ves. I have been groaning over this load for a long time. My joy and gladness has been asphyxiated, and now it was time to cut it off.
The second prong in my epiphanette came when I purchased a CD at Target. I was looking for Engelbert Humperdinck’s Christmas CD, but instead purchased a Carpenters Greatest Hits CD (for $5.00). I listened to the Carpenters all through the ‘70’s. Karen Carpenter’s was the only voice I could sing along with and stay in tune. So in no time me and the girlies were singing “Top of the World” and “Only Yesterday” together in the car. That happy girl I was from the ‘70’s seemed to perk up and reappear. And I wasn’t ashamed of her and her nerdy music. Joy and gladness began to breathe anew.
The final part of the epiphanette prong is the feather of the turkey my daughter made at school. On each of the feathers of this art project she wrote something she was thankful for. One feather read “I am thankful for having a great life.” This little girl shares a room with her three sisters and her mom (it is a big room). She is joyful, she is happy and she abounds with love for Jesus and her mom. I don’t take any credit for this, this is her personality. Her expression of “having a great life” convicted me and reminded me of an excerpt from my devotional. Mrs. Cowman quotes George Matheson in her Streams of the Desert:
You may be very discontented with yourself. You are no genius, have no brilliant gifts, and are inconspicuous for any special faculty. Mediocrity is the law of your existence. Your days are remarkable for nothing but sameness and insipidity. Yet you may live a great life. (emphasis mine)
John did no miracle, but Jesus said that among those born of women there had not appeared a greater than he.
John’s main business was to bear witness to the Light, and this may be yours and mine. John was content to be only a voice, if men would think of Christ. (Feb. 24)
I have a great life too. I have had many difficulties, great difficulties at times. But I also have a great God. And He has been faithful to me through these difficulties. Eloisa’s feather reminded me of that, and her contagious joy and gladness also breathed new life into mine. While I carried around my bag of burdens, joy and gladness were anemic at best. I am cutting off the load… apologies only for my mistakes (not for anyone else’s) and then moving on, no more regrets, no more time given to hand-wringing and worry. Matthew 6:33-34 is my mantra. It is time for joy and gladness. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!