Belated Epiphany . . .
Belated because, so often, words only come when they’re ready. Or is it when we’re ready?
Shadowing the Magi
Tingling, needy, marked
by the long quest—the divining,
then hope, my superstitions
giving way yet again
before anxious relief—this is how
I enter. Taking a knee,
it seems you scarcely breathe.
Does each intake feel
like your first? Maybe
we both look struck, luminous
as the baby’s skin,
starlight still pulsing there. Hush,
friend, the holy has come
so gently we dare approach.
Dear ones, I hope your days are unfolding gently.
Each January I seek a word or phrase expansive enough to guide me throughout the year. Then I line up my lettering pens, print out my theme. Mirror, journal, dashboard, fridge; a pocket, a purse—I spread my reminders around.
But last year, nothing. Several months passed. When would the words come?
Although belated, I chose a single letter, instead. There’s a story, of course: “Alphabet of Presence.” (I hope you’ll read it here: Abbey of the Arts.)
So, amid last year’s viral mayhem, cutthroat opinions, and global grief, I became a disciple of “B.”
Oh, I hope you’ll try it! Once you settle on a letter, you’ll find invitational words pop up everywhere: media, billboards, conversations. Surprise livens the day. Sometimes, it’s downright heady, like sipping chilled champagne, little stars among your teeth, on your tongue, all down your throat.
A word is a launch pad. Are you game? For starters, borrow a few of mine that start with “B.”
Watch the classic movie, “Babette’s Feast” (free here).
Bestow a kindness. This passage has inspired many a prayer, email, and letter:
“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted … to comfort all who mourn … to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
Create a collage. Repurpose images beginning with your letter of choice, using old photos, magazines, junk mail.
Compose lyrics for a tune you love. I piggybacked mine on “Morning Has Broken”:
Beauty before me, Beauty behind me,
bridging our spirits, bountiful Lord;
Brimming within me, moving beside me,
timelessly guide me, forevermore.
Practice breath prayers. Are you grieving? This one helps me:
(on the inhale) Alone, yes, (exhale) but never abandoned.
Ponder questions like these:
What blessed me today?
Who blindsided me?
Where am I broken?
What might yet be born, and what must I bury?
Whether my idea was belated or perfectly timed, I found choosing a letter provided spontaneous, small epiphanies throughout a long, difficult year. And whenever I get bored, there are 25 more.
But . . . I’ve yet to exhaust the beauties of “B.”
There is always a journey. Sometimes, a cave. Often, a star.
In closing, here’s what I hope I’d have said, had I joined the Magi that day:
Take my coat, little one,
you’re shivering. How new,
this now we share, the first
of many yet to be known—by you,
by me—slowly, slowly going
home, by a different way.
Friends, if you choose a letter, I’d love to hear about your experience.
And please, if you’d enjoy more posts similar to this one (ideas, resources, links), let me know . . .
Explore “Alphabet of Presence” here: Abbey of the Arts
You might also enjoy Epiphany and the Epic Icicle
Lastly, welcome, new subscribers! I’m so glad you’re here.
And thank you to all who’ve journeyed with me for so many years.
Apologies for the incorrect citation of scripture, and thank you, Lynn, for alerting me!
Collage and “B” photo, by yours truly :>)