Today is the feast of the Epiphany, and I had an epiphany, well sort of, a mini one.
Today was not great for me. The first day back to ‘real life’ after being home for the holidays is always extremely hard for me. Going from waking up and watching tv with my sister, snuggling with my mom on the couch when she gets home from work, playing family board games after dinner, and siding with my dad over what Netflix movie to watch, to waking up all alone in a freezing basement apartment 3 hours away kinda sucks.
I was sad this morning, and I let myself be sad because
it takes a lot of energy to become happy on your own.
I decided that something needed to be done about the freezingness of my apartment (mostly because I complained to my mom and she insisted that I tell the landlord) and so after consulting with my landlord I went to inspect the furnace, and by accident I SET OFF THE FIRE ALARM. And I know you’re thinking ‘big deal’ just press the button that turns it back off. BUT THERE IS NO SUCH BUTTON. It is not one of those normal fire alarms, it looks like one of those push lights that you click to turn on the light, but it is NOT it is the thing that if you press it an ear-splitting fire alarm goes off. I live in a 5-unit apartment building with a corner store attached and all the fire alarms are attached so then I had to go and try to apologize to the store and my neighbours.
I was seriously stressing out about this, this was all my fault, would the alarm ever turn off?
Eventually my fantastic landlord and his wife came and fixed the alarm, and also told me that it was so cold because all the vents were closed from the summer when the AC is too cold for the basement, so yup felt like a fool for that too, but all the adults told me it was okay that I didn’t know. So its okay.
And then after all the stress and anxiety of that alarm never going off and me being responsible for ruining everyone’s Saturday was over I decided to focus on some other stress so I picked ‘schoolwork’ and the 30% of my thesis project that I’m supposed to have done by next week that I have done nothing of, but am not at all motivated to do (which also stresses me out). So then I went to the library and did a tiny bit of work – and then I decided to go to mass for the feast of the Epiphany.
And here’s where the little epiphany comes in. Today is the 12th day of Christmas, the day when the wise men came to meet Jesus and offer Him gifts. And the priest today said in his homily that it was Jesus that was the greatest gift, Jesus is the greatest gift.
And I thought about these past 12 days of Christmas, I thought about the time that I spent with my family at my cottage and at my childhood home, and I thought about the time I spent with my friends at the Catholic Youth Conference ‘Rise Up’ in Ottawa, and I thought about how the Lord has blessed me with so much joy this Christmas season.
In high school religion class I learned that happiness is not the same as joy – it’s probably one of the most important things I learned from that class, or I hope it was because its one of the only things I really remember. But I learned that happiness is fleeting and joy is everlasting. Joy comes from God and it comes from knowing that His plan is great, it is loving, it gives a future with hope, it never disappoints.
At the end of mass, in the final blessing Father said that Jesus’s light was so bright it brought the magi to Him, “Go out and let your light shine in the darkness”. My epiphany was that I was hiding my light all day today in my little, cold, basement apartment.
I was literally holed up underground hiding my light.
And I was hiding the light of joy not only from others but also from myself. I let my sadness, and my stress drown out my happiness from this day. Yes at the end of the day I am still alone in my cold, basement apartment, yes I am still lonely and a little sad, and a little stressed but I remember now that there is great joy within me. I will find that joy bubbling out of me again soon, and so I will wait patiently until it does, and I will not allow my light to be hidden in the mean time.
To joy even in sadness.
– Amanda Ho, originally posted in The Realness Project