I’m blessed with having an epiphany every now and again and I love them. The sun shines just a little brighter, there’s just a hint of a skip in my step and laughter is just a little easier to come by. The epiphany can be a beautiful thing if I just remember that I had it for two or three weeks in a row. If I do, as I did with one two summers ago, they can lead to an absolute and positive change in how I view the gift that is my life. If I don’t, if I don’t concentrate on my new insight, I’ll slip back into my old way of doing things and the inspiration is lost. I had such an epiphany this morning and it centered around the new possible cause for concern that I wrote about the other day… My mother’s discovery of a pre-cancerous polyp which translates to the possibility of having to go through a test to see where I’m at.
It should come as no surprise that once I shared this information with friends, several of them had stories relating – stories of people they know/knew who received similar information then found out they had full-blown stage four cancer once they got checked out… Oh how happy I was to hear these stories (not really, you should understand that the sentence is dripping with sarcasm). I reacted, in the immediacy of the moment, as most people do – every little mole I’ve got might to be pre-cancerous… “Is my spleen hurting, or is that my kidney, or my stomach, or may back – because I have ‘The Big C'”? Well my back hurt because I slept funny, I’ve been up on my check-ups and the few moles I do have are all just fine… The reaction is fairly normal I think. Then comes the desire to “not die”, followed by a whole host of other emotions – yesterday was my day for them and I was fairly discombooberated all day. Then I woke up this morning, and that’s where my day of nervousness became useful…
I did a quick inventory of my life. How do I act toward others, what do I bring, rather than what do I take? Am I really being the best husband and father I can be? Am I living up to the ideal that I know I should, for God? If any of those crazy thoughts from yesterday were actually true, would I be ready? That’s where I had my epiphany, driving down the expressway two miles per hour below the speed limit, cruise locked in, 20 miles from my office. I realized there is room for improvement. This was not, however, a doomsday “Oh my God, I’m hit… I’ve got to reshape my whole life so I can get into heaven” epiphany. This was a happy version. This was a “I’ve got a great, healthy, sober life, fantastic wife, smart and respectful kids, a good career and I do my best in all of those… But there is room for improvement. Again, and I wish I could put this to words better, this was more of a relief than cause for deep concern because while there is room for improvement, at the same time I know I can do better. The one thing I can liken it to is that it’s like riding a century – I’m at mile 90, I’ve been hurting for 20 miles, but I know I can make it that last 10 miles with a smile on my face, I just have to dig a little deeper and I’m there. I had the same thing happen on my half marathon last week… I was at 10 miles and hurting pretty good, I wanted to slow down even further and take it easy, but I knew if I gave it just a little more I could finish strong and do better than I ever had – I finished 10 minutes under my previous personal best, from ten years ago (I was 32). Yes I had to dig deep to keep from slowing down and yes it hurt a little bit, but I had it in me and I did it.
So immediately after having my epiphany I set about shedding the few fleas I have (or at least the few I know about today) by calling my mentor and discussing it with him, this afternoon I’ll speak with my wife about it and I’ll probably call a couple of other close friends to let them in on it because they’ll all help me stay honest and keep my desire to do better fresh. I am really looking forward to taking this next step, the last time I came up on something like this resulted in the best summer of my life (2011). Maybe I can make this one last even longer.
There is a glaringly important point here: Being excited about this morning and looking at this as an opportunity rather than a burden was a choice.