The novel I wrote, Duck Pond Epiphany, is the story of a Lee, a woman in midlife, and the challenges she encounters. Resilient and brave, she faces her circumstances with a renewed spirit, having decided that the time to live her life is right now. Helping her along her path is her loyal, funny, and downright irreverent friend Barb.
But Lee also relies on a lifetime of moments — epiphanies — knowing that when she trusts these moments, they seem to lead her to a better place.
I thought the concept of epiphanies would be fascinating to explore. Some people call these moments their “sixth sense” or their ‘“ah ha” moments. (If you are a woman, I bet you know what exactly I’m talking about.) But no matter what you call these very personal experiences, listening to your inner voice and trusting what you hear can often be exactly what you need.
Consider this email I recently received from a woman who had read my novel.
“ (My family) … was already dealing with some pretty rough hardships and then …” her mother had a massive stroke. She continued, “I kept waiting for the load to lighten, for good news to come and for the world to start shining again… and then I had my Geese Poop Epiphany.
I was driving to work, a beautiful sunrise. (I take the safety corridor, Highway 101, so I have the mountains in all their glory on my left and the glowing bay with sun reflection on my right.) Everything was glistening, the geese were amazing in their phenomenal V formations. I was just driving along, thankful to be in this wonderfully beautiful place we call Humboldt.
Then “Splat!! Splat!!” Those darned geese pooped (huge amounts) on my windshield – not once but three times. I was so ticked….and then I just laughed. I laughed out loud, turned on the wipers, shoved the poop aside and enjoyed the day.
I walked away from that moment with this: “You cannot control everything SO … enjoy the beauty and laugh at the poop.”
It truly was an epiphany. I walk lighter, I feel my own relief and happiness returning. The poop is still there, but I am learning to enjoy the beauty in everyday, really every moment. I am no longer waiting around for it to get better, rather just noticing what is good within all that the world presents.”
Talk about an epiphany! This woman was right up to her limit from very difficult circumstances and then, thanks to a flock of utterly clueless geese, her perspective shifted.
Most of us in the second half of life recognize that life can be tough. Sometimes it seems as though painful challenges, sadness, disappointment, and loss will never end. And the absolute worst? Getting hit when you are down. Now there’s a tough reality to grasp.
In the face of upheaval and exhaustion like this woman was experiencing, most of us try to pour on every coping mechanism we know. The love and support from family and friends is crucial. Seeking professional help may ease the burden. Relying on clergy and prayer may round out the picture.
But in spite of every trick in the book, there are just those times when it’s all just a huge painful slog. I know … I’ve been there, done that.
If you find yourself in this situation, my wish for you is your own epiphany, a moment in time that will help you get your perspective and allow you to open up to the small kindnesses and the beauty that are also part of our lives. These moments won’t make all of the pain disappear. Hardly. But as this woman discovered, you may “walk a little lighter” and feel a bit happier.