Thinking, trying to sort my thoughts and remain calm, I slowly answered. “V-a-c-a-s-h-o-n,” I said, but could feel a knot in the bottom of my stomach, knowing I was wrong.
“I’m sorry,” that is incorrect, the teacher said. Fully defeated and stricken, I went to my desk, swallowing hard, trying not to cry. Pulling out my dictionary, I looked up the word even before the next person spelled it. "Va-ca-tion" Singing the letters in my mind, I wanted to run back up to the teacher and say, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” Of course that was impossible, but that sing-song voice I heard when I discovered how to spell that word, has never left my mind. It’s as clear now as it was over fifty years ago. It’s caused me to be a person who is not “OCD” about spelling words right, but it set the stage for writing that would last a lifetime!
While my epiphany wasn’t anything grand, there are those throughout history who really did have impressive epiphanies that made a difference in many lives! Consider Sir Isaac Newton who observed the apple dropping from the tree that was catalyst for formulating the Universal Law of Gravitation.1
Another “thinker” includes a stem cell biologist, Lorenz Studer who studies human stem cells due to a bone infection he had as a teenager. While attending college, he met another student who shared his interest and the radical idea of replacing damaged cells was an epiphany that has had a long term effect on people dealing with Parkinson’s Disease.2
Barbara McClintock is yet another person who had an epiphany in the area of genetics. She was sure she was looking in the microscope wrong, but after time away from the problem, she returned and saw the chromosomes completely different. That revelation was to impact genetics from that time on.3
We’ve all been given minds to think. While we may not be geniuses or possess the ability to develop something grand in the scientific field like Newton, Studer or McClintock, we do have the ability to use our imagination to make our lives have purpose. We can use our minds to organize our days to be more productive, take classes that will improve our skills in our chosen field, or teach others the information we do have, and just have the sheer determination to allow information that travels through our minds to be worthwhile, or even give us that “Aha moment” when we figure out something awesome.
Having an epiphany is grand and it usually “sticks” with you. But even if you can’t recall any “real epiphany,” every one of us has had a time when something just clicked inside our heads! Reflect on your life to see if you can recall any of those “Aha moments,” ---when “the light came on!” How old were you? Was it a catalyst for something later in life? Did it change your way of thinking? Did it cause you to move in a different direction than you expected? I challenge you to use your epiphany do something creative and unusual, make a difference in someone else’s life or make a positive change in your own.