I sat – slouched a bit – in a plastic chair with metal arms. We were in a room in a semi-destroyed building that US troops now used as office space for various units in Al Asad, Iraq. It was cold. (Yes, it gets cold in Iraq). I had a brownish green polar fleece mock turtleneck on under my digi desert cammies. My head was bowed, and my chin just tucked into the top nook of the neck of the fleece for warmth (or simply comfort).
“This is it for you, Sarah. You know that, right?”
I lifted my head to look at Doc Davis through my puffy eyes.
He’d just finished explaining that today was the Day of Epiphany. That it was perfect that this was the day I had, seemingly out of nowhere, had my biggest breakthrough in regards to my struggles, stress, and trauma at the time. I’d let a big thing go. And I’d seen something with clarity for the first time.
We’d been working together extensively for weeks. I met Doc Davis at a time of utter crisis. At a time when it seemed I had support nowhere and was attacked everywhere, it was like this man rose out of thin air to save me. I know he wouldn’t credit himself for the “saving,” but I would.
(While we’re mentioning saviors here, I have to credit Dr. Hambrick for connecting Doc Davis and me. She, too, was one of my real world angels back then.)
After days and weeks of talking through nearly every major life stressor you could imagine – and some you couldn’t – for a 25-year-old female Marine Lieutenant, something lifted. And, in that room, God was there.
Doc Davis commended me for facilitating the breakthrough happening that day in our therapy session, and he told me that I needed to remember this day on the calendar for the rest of my life; that I could always look to this day and remember that I had the answers within me (and through relationship with God, as faith was part of what we talked about in these sessions); that I could remember that I did have the power, the gumption, the wherewithal, the insight, the intuition, the love, the compassion, the you name it, the IT, to manifest what I truly needed and wanted in my life; that I could shift the energy, my energy, when I really trusted and believed in myself.
And he was right. I always notice January 6th. I never talk about it, though. But with this self-assigned daily writing project I’m on now, I thought this was the right time to share this story.
The Day of Epiphany is a holiday not widely celebrated in the US, but it is one of significance for a variety of Christians in many other parts of the world. In fact, before the Christmas holiday was celebrated around the end of the second century, this was effectively the main winter Christian holiday. Considering that it falls 12 days after what we now celebrate as Christmas it always makes me think of the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
Some translations of “the Epiphany Feast” are “manifestation” or “showing forth;” by Eastern Europeans it’s oft translated as “manifestation of God” (Theophany).
I, myself, was in the Middle East when this holiday was first made meaningful for me. Kind of appropriate if you think about it, actually ☺
It was January 6, 2007, and it was near the end of my second deployment to Iraq, but two thousand years before it marked the day when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and was the first occasion commemorating His divinity according to Christian belief.
*Photo from Al Asad, Airbase, a pretty cush place in Iraq 🙂 with my best buddy at the time who also helped save me then.