For me, Epiphany is looking beyond the membrane that separates the earth from heaven; looking beyond and seeing God’s glory. Sometimes that membrane is so thin that you can see heaven moving by – which is what the three Wise Men saw on their way to meet the baby Jesus (and which is the opening Gospel story for Epiphany). They probably verbally expressed their thanks as they left their gifts (which were the tangible thanks they gave).
The challenges of life can almost seal up the membrane – death, divorce, old age, drugs, brain-damaged children, violence, senility, unfaithfulness. That is Anne Lamott’s list (page 47, Help Thanks Wow). No doubt each of us could add some challenges from our own experience. In those moments, thanks is hard to come by.
But sometimes – often, grace can happen: “grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on… They become instruments of tenderness, buoyancy, exploration, hope” (pages 47-48). And, as she writes – and as I have often felt, the first and visceral response to that opening of grace is “thank you.”
When and how has that membrane between earth and heaven opened for you – and how have you responded?
Join me in reading and discussing Anne Lamott's new book, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, during the season of Epiphany & Gratitude (January 6 - February 12, 2013).
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