Epiphany: a sudden and striking revelation. A light goes off in your head and you feel the WOW!
Today, I took down the Christmas tree. Not an easy thing because we are simultaneously sizing down from a house to a small condo in Florida. As I try to pawn off boxes of ancient attic treasures into the arms of my children, I hear the nagging question: Where will our memories go?
I am awed at the accumulation. Each trinket has a story and a slender smile to ride along side. How did all these grow into piles and piles of things that used to mean something but got replaced with the better and brighter? As the heaps of things I am keeping tower over the things I am giving away, I have an epiphany.
What if life is like that? What if we hold on so dearly to things that have been treasured, and in our clinginess we lose the best, because our arms are too full to receive the promise there is for the future?
So it is with Epiphany, the day we celebrate the magi finding the child for whom they’d long been searching. As a New Orleanian, I cherish this day as it marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season. It is when those delectable king cakes come out each Friday at school and work.
But I’m celebrating the season a little differently this year. I’m vowing to switch the piles in my life, and leave more of my old things behind. Just like the wise men did, I empty my arms of treasure so they can embrace the promise of a future filled with hope and joy (even though everything around me says I should fear and cry).
What if the greatest gift I can give to those I love, is not these dusty relics, but presence and attentiveness as we journey together from our past into our future. Perhaps that is why it is called being “present.” It is a gift.
Of course, I’ll keep a few things too precious to let go—my children’s tiny handprint molds, the art they so lovingly created, playbills from stages long past. The rest I will let go. Where will our memories go as we venture in new directions, leaving the old behind? Right where they should: into our present, helping us to laugh a little harder, feel a little deeper, “launching us on every wave, finding eternity in each moment.” — Henry David Thoreau
May the light of life guide you all ways! Happy Epiphany!