The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Viewing by month: November 2008

The Epiphany

As defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: 

 

epiphany

 

1: capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ

2: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being

3 a (1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment

 

I can remember as a child hearing the word epiphany; I always associated it with church, or religion, especially around Christmas. Catholic families were urged to leave their Christmas trees up until January 6th, which was the Feast of The Epiphany. The day marked the arrival of the Three Wise Men (I pondered over using capital letters) in Bethlehem to offer gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn Christ. To this day Jackie and I still try to observe this tradition; funny how some traditions stick with you for years…..

 

I’ve had a lot of epiphanies during my childhood, adolescent, and adult years; in terms of the simplest definition, we all have. I remember my sons Brian and Christian 'discovering' their fingers and toes when they were infants and the look of complete surprise on their faces when they took their first step as toddlers. I remember my grandfather teaching me how to read a ruler, my Mom showing me how to be self-sustaining, my Dad giving life’s lessons in becoming a man. I recall how it felt being a father for the very first time. I remember realizing that it is possible to love someone unconditionally without fear of being hurt (thank you Jackie).

 

All of these are examples of epiphanies, or what I call 'aha' moments. We’ve all had them, haven’t we? I’m guessing that I’ve already triggered your recollection of several of your own 'aha' moments. I’m sure that some of them stand out more than others, which have been more important in their impact on your life.

 

It’s one of those 'aha' moments in my life that I want to tell you about today. This was not just an epiphany. In terms of who I am, what I am, and what I am becoming, this was THE epiphany, the one that truly changed the course of my life. Picture Redd Fox as Fred Sanford clutching his chest and exclaiming “This is the big one Elizabeth! Oh Lord. I’m comin’ Honey. Help me, please!” Get it? This was no ordinary aha. I remember that day as if it were yesterday……

 

November 5, 2006

 

Let me 'set the table' for that day by briefly telling you about a couple of things that happened leading up to it. I read a book (Get Glowing, by Ann Mincey), and watched a movie (The Secret). I’ll devote more time to each of these in the future, I promise.

 

After reading Ann’s book, and watching the movie, I knew that I needed to change some things in my life, or more specifically, the way I looked at life. Have you heard the saying “What you believe, you receive.”? I’m not asking if you believe in the statement; that’s a topic for another day.

 

Let’s just say that I realized that in order for me to have the things in life (tangible and intangible) that were important to me, I had to believe that I was worthy of them. So I had to change the way I looked at life and the way I looked at myself! And oh by the way, I was 53 years old at the time.

 

On the night of November 4th, 2006 I went to bed telling myself “Tomorrow I begin the process of changing who I am. Tomorrow I change the course of my life. Tomorrow the adventure begins.”

 

One final thought on that night: I fell asleep in prayer asking God to help me in my journey.

 

Have you ever experienced a day when you knew that you were on the verge of learning something, of discovering something, about yourself or something in life? I would liken it to reaching for a word that’s on the tip of your tongue, or recalling the title of a song, or the name of an old friend you haven’t seen in years. You know that you know something, you just don’t know, for the life of you, just what it is!

 

That’s the feeling that I woke up with on Sunday, November 5th, 2006. I believed that I was on the verge of finding out something about myself, something that would be an 'aha', something that was of great importance. I just didn’t know what it was! That feeling would stay with me all day long; so close to knowing, yet so far away….

 

When it happened…..

 

That evening I had to drive to the grocery store to pick up a few last minute items that we needed for dinner. While in route, I kept thinking about the old Allstate insurance commercial that pictured two cupped hands forming a 'bowl', with the announcer’s voice saying “You’re in good hands with Allstate.” Remember that one?  “Strange”, I said to myself, wondering why my thoughts were on that commercial.

 

I stopped at a traffic light with the image of those cupped hands still occupying my thoughts, lost in my own little world. I was jolted back to reality by a guy in the car behind me laying in his horn; the light had turned green. I didn’t move; I was too busy looking at my own hands. They had taken the shape of the hands in that Allstate commercial. No, I didn’t hear the announcer's voice!

 

What I did see, at least in my minds eye, was my destiny. You see, at that moment I realized that all my life I had given control of my destiny to everyone else in and around my life. I had for years let other people, through their thoughts and opinions of me, dictate who I was and what I did. In one split second, in the blink of an eye, all the shortcomings, and doubts, and failures, and settling for less that had been a part of my life for so long seemed to melt away in the tears that were streaming down my face.

 

Time stands still. The earth moves. Wow. No more running from the past, no more hiding from the hurt. No looking back; the past doesn’t matter any more.

 

My destiny was mine to control, to shape, to fulfill; it had been all along. I wouldn’t give it to anyone else, ever again. Once more I offered a silent prayer, asking God to take my hand and lead me on my journey.

contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 11/24/2008 at 8:00 AM | Categories: Life -

Walking and Trusting

There is a phrase that I include in some of my prayers, but curiously enough, it’s always included when I say Grace before a meal: “…….help us to walk in Your way…..” I began using this petition a few years ago, but it has really been on my mind today. Why today? I can’t say that I’m sure. I can say that I have an awareness concerning every step I take in life, each and every day. I’ve never walked with these eyes, with this spirit before….perhaps that’s the reason……

 

 

I don’t have a problem walking in God’s way; that is, I don’t have a problem with trying to walk the way of Christ. I’m a human; I stumble, stray (never too far), and lose my focus from time to time. I don’t think that God is surprised by this at all. In fact, it is my humble opinion that God expects us to stumble, stray, and lose focus from time to time. It is during those times when we are getting back on track that we realize that God is all forgiving; He forgives us no matter what we do, regardless of the seriousness of the offense, regardless of how many times we commit the same offense, over and over again! How many of us can say that we would do the same? How many of us would do the same? I mean, would you turn the other cheek, time after time after time? As much as I hate to admit it, I probably wouldn’t. What a forgiving God He is indeed!

 

Walking in His way? Something I gladly strive to do each and every day that I’m given another day. Funny, I don’t feel like I’m obligated to do this; I try to walk in His way because I know that doing so makes me a better person; and it makes me feel good!

 

Then there’s the issue of trust, as in putting complete trust in Him…..giving control of my life to Him….letting Him have my problems…..living by His timetable instead of my own….letting Him decide what’s best for me…..offering my life up to Him.

 

It has been much easier to walk a different walk down a different path than it has been for me to put down mental ‘baggage’ that I’ve carried around for years. In this instance, mental baggage is actually distrust! You see, there are things in my life that I still cannot give totally to God. I don’t trust Him enough yet. How sad. How human. Do you have some of those ‘issues’ that you can’t seem to let go of? Perhaps, if you take this journey with me, we’ll both learn to let go of some things.

 

I welcome the challenge of growing in my walk of faith. And I look forward to the day when I have learned to ‘let go and let God’; to trust Him completely. When that day comes, and I pray that it will, I can only imagine the peace of mind that I’ll be blessed with. And I believe that “…help us to walk in Your way” will be more than a petition; walking in His way will be a reality.

 

 

contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

  

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 11/16/2008 at 9:37 PM | Categories: Faith -

My Walk in Life

A thought occured to me as I was trying to decide which post I should make on Monday morning. There are about twenty-five or so "offerings" in my laptop ready to go. I don't know why it has become a huge issue for me to decide which one is next....

I got up this morning around 4:30 and decided to finish reading The Shack, which is on the New York Times best seller list (it's on my recommended reading list as well). I won't tell you what The Shack is all about; I will tell you that it offers a fresh new perspective on not only the way we look at God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but a new way (for some of us) of having a relationship with Him.

I'm sorry....I took the "long way around" getting to my original thought, which I am sometimes prone to do! I'll continue.

I realized this morning that while my "focus" on the issues contained in this website is a broad stroke of the brush (faith, business, life, etc.), everything I do in life, every action I take, every step I make, points back to God. It's all about Him, my relationship with Him, and what He has done for me. What I'm saying is that while the offerings on these pages may fall into different "categories", they all center around what our benevolent Creator has done for me.

If you're comfortable with that, we'll be seeing more of each other!

Contact me: sam@theseedofhope.com

Posted by Sam Maniscalco on 11/14/2008 at 8:19 AM | Categories: Thoughts & Quotes -

Recent Comments
Powered by Mango Blog. Design by Spider Web Strategies