I hear someone say, “I had an epiphany!” and I just role my eyes. There are some words in our English language that are overworked and misused and I’ve always felt this is one of them. I put it right in the same category as “epic” which is used to refer to just about any idea or event that someone likes these days. Just Googling the word “epiphany” brings a 7,570,000 hits that range from wine-making (Epiphany, 2010b) to music (Epiphany, 2010c) not to mention the 514,000 hits that come from Googling books with that word!
So, it is with fear and trepidation that I now add my voice to the throng exclaiming, “I had an epiphany!” Yet I find that it is the only word to describe yesterday’s experience. This sends me searching for context...
Merriam Webster’s web site defines “epiphany” as
(from Greek epiphaneia, “manifestation”), festival celebrated on January 6; it is one of the three principal and oldest festival days of the Christian Church (including Easter and Christmas). It commemorates the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his divinity, as it occurred at his Baptism in the Jordan River and at his first miracle at Cana in Gallilee (Epiphany, 2010a).
Now, I’m not saying that what I experienced yesterday is on the same level as the proclamation of the Diety of Jesus Christ! Maybe Dictionary.com’s second definition relates more closely to what I experienced:
a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience (Epiphany, 2010d).
Yeah...that is definitely closer. And “what,” you may ask, “was this sudden perception or insight into the essential meaning of something?” As you might remember from my last post, my research interests kept broadening instead of narrowing. While this may seem like a trivial matter, it’s extremely frustrating when I have needed to create a small study. I found myself designing something that I really wasn’t that passionate about simply due to the time table of an assignment. All the advice I had been getting told me to tailor each assignment toward my research interest and since I hadn’t even come close to an area of study it was becoming increasingly more difficult.
Then, initiated by a simple, commonplace occurrence of a conversation, it “suddenly” came to me...a small study that is directly related to a research direction I am passionate about! I felt like telling the world! And although it wasn’t a spiritual revelation, it was an experience that I will never forget...that day...that time...that place where I found my niche in the research world!
Epiphany (2010a). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from
Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
Epiphany by Christette Michele (2010b). Retrieved September 29, 2010, from
Epiphany (2010c). Retrieved September 29, 2010, from Amazon.com
Epiphany (2010d). Retrieved September 29, 2010, from Dictionary.com