Everyday epiphanies – what do we do with them? Do we place them in a jar like fireflies and watch as the spark dulls? Do we act on them? Or soak in them like a bubble bath? I’d go all-in on a wager that says most of us do nothing at all. Does it even matter? Most of us aren’t going to make that huge change, sell all our things, start a blog about minimalism and move our family into a Westfalia van to roam the planet.
I love to talk about these big little pops of insight – these everyday epiphanies. I’m that embarrassing friend that posts vulnerable stories on Instagram and that wants to have a deep conversation at a loud bar. I love to come up with one-liners that catch your breath. And then, like you, I’ll go home and snap at my husband because I’m having a bad day, or I’ll be in a funk and not be grateful for one single damn thing, like an asshole, because I just can’t deal with life for the day. And then, like you, I’ll pull out of it and be back to myself, thanking flowers on my morning walk just for simply being.
Also like most people, I’ve never trained for an Olympic games. I’ve not swapped all my weekends and friends in pursuit of a physical goal that sets records. I’ve not had to overcome life-shattering loss, or combat a debilitating illness. I’ve not lived under the pressure of performing for years on years as the one percent that makes it into the NFL or on the radio.
I have heard the Dalai Lama speak about kindness. I’ve stopped on the streets of Abu Dhabi to hear a call to prayer, I’ve floated in the Dead Sea, I’ve hugged Queen Latifah, shaken President Kagame’s hand and briefed him on speaking to a crowd, I’ve started a company, and I’ve given birth.
I worked with a woman who said that we’re all fighting – either it’s for something, or against something, and that defines who we are. Great one-liner to stop you in your tracks. Everyone wants to think they’re the one fight for something, of course. However, I think it’s both. Binary ways of living rarely exist.
I really never felt like I had something to fight for. It made me feel ordinary and boring, and undeserving of success. It was the stories of overcoming that felt most authentic and deserving. Having to rise from the ashes gave credibility. I got used to waiting – almost hoping – for a shoe to drop, and that gave me even just an inkling of a victim’s hood to pull on and hide within. A victim of nothingness, only helping to keep me small.
Near the beginning of my career I learned all about making money for someone else, and like many young impressionable Millennials, felt that I needed to work for a non-profit in order to do something meaningful. I went and did that. It felt honest. For a while.
And then that wasn’t big enough, so I started a company that helps other companies give to charity and create giving strategies. The do-good margins were much larger. I didn’t have my own cause to fight for – my own deep heart-breaking passion, so I went to work for other people who did, or they hired me to help them find it. And yet, I still didn’t have it. Hand in hand with clients, under a business name I built, we helped thousands of people and causes. We gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars for good. And yet. And yet. Still not big enough.
Does that make my work impactless? Does it make me less worthy? I think it makes me me. I’m not the person working up to the big impressive goal, I’m the one smiling down at a fallen sock in the laundry, who stops for a moment to be grateful for it. Because a little foot lives in that sock, and that little foot belongs to my little boy, and that is everything. Everyday.
It is the little tiny moments that give me something big to fight for: more little tiny moments. More epiphanies that are about the everyday and the common. Instead of wishing away my peace in exchange for something worthy of applause to overcome and fight against.
Lord please, keep me in the everyday, in the small, feeling large.
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