An epiphany while cleaning house

Published 10:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

By Steve Stricker

Yesterday, Friday, January 6, was the Epiphany of our Lord, the 12th Day of Christmas and official time to take down our tree and decorations.

However, the Catholic episcopal conference, who decides when to celebrate Epiphany – the 6th, or Sunday between Jan. 2 and 8, chose tomorrow. So, decorations up one more day.

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An epiphany is a sudden experience of something becoming clear, a paradigm shift in one’s thinking and commemorates the Magi (three kings) taking 12 days to arrive in Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus, manifesting to the world that this baby was an incarnate divine being (taking on human flesh) and born of the Virgin Mary.

The word epiphany is one of my favorites, along with gestalt, paradigm shift, and duh, used when something suddenly becomes clear to me and will forever be associated, humorously, with Ole Miss.

Once teaching an undergraduate Career Development class I challenged my students to contemplate their natural skills and interests in discerning a major rather than what their parents wanted.

One day after class a student excitedly announced that during class she had a profound epiphany, and was changing her major from marketing to elementary education. I was so proud of her.

Since Thanksgiving every day is an epiphany for me as I discern the will of our Lord as how I can next serve him.

Organizing my house this week was an epiphany when I saw what had been hidden – remnants of stuff from bedroom drawers, stuff from the guest bedroom closet in a pile, and a kitchen cabinet cleaned out in a tub, all waiting for me to sift through.

Stuff not seen, ignored, because this was stuff I hate most – sorting through decades of paperwork, discerning what was and was not important, where to store it, why, because unseen for years, never really needed to be seen again but when sorting through it was so meaningful.

I will take stuff a wee bit at a time, do something every day until tired or bored, and will eventually get it done.

My prayer to God was what do you want me to do for you next. God said rather loudly, volunteer at the Baptist Hospital and go back to daily Mass and the Eucharist. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a -swimming, six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Peace out, after over 2000 years, trust God, we got this.

Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at