Epiphanies are rarely so epiphanic, mostly because of the constant encroachment of self-awareness.
From a college communications course, I learned that, among countless other scales, people are graded on a self-monitoring curve. It refers to an individual’s self-awareness, or self-perception.
If you are a low self-monitor, most likely you tend to be intent of purpose, single-minded, your own person, as you are uncaring or at least unaware of the opinion or perception that others hold of you.
High self-monitors have highly sensitive antennae which are perpetually probing everyone’s concept of themselves, and unfortunately have a tendency, at least the ability, to readjust accordingly.
I was speechless upon hearing this, as a man might be at his first look in a mirror, and felt that on the scale, I probably wouldn’t even register, placing somewhere in the stratosphere above the charts.
Because I was constantly aware, or at least striving to be, of how I came across to other people.
This self-awareness carries over into my private thoughts, and disrupts them.
Additionally, a cynicism or wariness born of bad experience has taught me to analyze each and every emotion that broaches my threshold. So that, when an original thought seeks entry, it is subject to interrogation, and is brought in to the inner sanctum only after it has been robbed of the element of surprise. Thus, life-changing epiphanies are rare.
Also, I tend to accept self-critical analysis very quickly, so as to expedite the pain. You ever swallow a hot mouthful of food, taken too hastily, tossing it down your gullet to relieve your palette? It leaves no sense of the food in your mouth, no taste except that of scorched flesh. But you consumed it, after all, you tell yourself, and isn’t that the end of eating?
Doubtless, and yet the food wasn’t chewed properly, and it now sits at the bottom of your stomach in an indignant lump, refusing to be digested, and therefore not releasing its proper sustenance and causing instead a confused melee of indigestion as harried enzymes hurriedly surround it and are as thwarted in their duties as I am in search of the business end of a tangled fishing line.
I always get a little carried away with analogies.
In a state of aggravation, I scooped up the cat and headed to the garage to clip his perennial couch-shredders.
The cat, misnamed Adagio (def. - slow, leisurely) senses foul play in the offing and digs his claws into my torso.
Irritated with the cat’s frightened clairvoyance I stormed into the garage and dumped him on the floor.
And watched stubbornly as he frantically searched for a way out of the unfamiliar dungeon.
The errand became a lesson as I watched him desperately try to escape from a situation that he feared.
My irritation with a dumb animal I rationalized thusly. Did he not know I was simply trying to help him?
(Here I insert the reason for my aggravation: my ongoing struggle with diabetes, which at the moment wasn’t going as I wished.)
The obvious answer to the unspoken question immediately condemned me. Of course the cat didn’t know I was trying to help him. He was simply frightened of an unfamiliar and potentially dangerous situation.
In addition to suddenly feeling cruel, I was instantly stupefied by the parallel.
I opened the door into the house through which Adagio fled, and sat down on the step.
He fled only so far as behind the couch, where he stopped and sat, peering around the corner at me as if to ask, Why?. . . .and, What on earth was that all about?
The cat had a right to be terrified. He had no way of grasping the benefit of the uncomfortable situation.
I, however, unless I wished to plead my case as a dumb animal, was being distrustful and ungrateful.
And if God were me, he might feel the same irritation with the trepidation I feel before checking my blood sugar as the cat does before getting his nails clipped.
Thankfully, I am myself, Adagio is Adagio, and God is God, and He faithfully showed me again, yet in a new way, what I was, and who He was.
I felt spiritually childish, and petulant, and impulsive.
An animal has every call to be dumb, and faithless.
I do not.