My Epiphany Came With An Action Button
I have always been reluctant to talk about my first and most powerful epiphany. It was one that I never shared with my children because I was afraid of the reaction or misunderstanding on how this incredibly important time in my life could have affected them because my drug use at the time.
Now that my kids are grown, I couldn’t tell my story in full without relating this very important event in my life. It was in a sense the beginning of my true journey.
It was the end of the summer, labor day weekend to be exact of 1970. I was twenty two years old.
I had been recently discharged (honorably) from the Army and moved to Philadelphia to start a new life. I was also starting to embrace the then popular hippie culture that promoted sex, drugs, rock and roll and anti parents lifestyle.
I was just allowing my hair to grow, beard taking shape, getting stoned at every opportunity, all the while trying to maintain a normal lifestyle by working, living in my very first apartment, and making new friends outside of the army, family and hometown.
Invited by work colleagues I was to spend a weekend of camping at Sunfish Pond via the New Jersey entrance. A two and a half mile hike up a well-worn path that snaked up to the top of the mountain. The Lake and its surroundings are part of the Appalachian trail that ran through the Blue Ridge Mountains from Maine to Georgia.
It was also a chance to get away from my weekend therapy of my apartment, music, friends, getting stoned and food.
I was surprised when getting to the top of the mountain and taking in the beauty of my surrounding.
As was the custom when there was more than a few hippies congregated in one place there was the sharing of pills. All sizes, colors and outcomes. I don’t know what I took but sitting around that campfire the first night I was soaring. Guitars, singing, arm in arm, I was in hippie heaven.
As the night wore on and those who couldn’t make it until the sun rose, many bowed out for the privacy of their tents or under a tree. I was getting my second wind and as the fire continued to blaze the conversation took on a bizarre twist.
About a half-dozen of us were locked into making plans of how we could build a viking ship on the mountain, roll it down to the nearest waterway, then find the open seas and leave the shores of civilization to discover new lands. (We were sure there must have been some not yet discovered.)
We planned to meet again at the same place the next weekend to begin building.
With the sun just peeking over the eastern horizon the remainder of our motley crew either fell asleep where they sat or made their way to a tent, any tent.
I believe if my memory serves me right, I was left by myself to tend to the fire. That is when I had my first and most powerful epiphany.
It was as loud and as clear and as straightforward as I ever in my life heard the voice of God. Although at the time God was not personal to me and I had no idea that epiphany was even a word.
What I heard was not my own voice or something I conjured up in my own mind.I know this because I lived with me for 22 years and I was quite familiar with my own voice. This was not my voice.
“You must give up everything in order to find the truth”. Is what I heard.
I didn’t even know what truth was. I didn’t know that I was looking for it either. But what I did know was this; that who ever revealed this sentence to me did so with such force there was only one thing I could do. Push the action button.
With the sun now risen, I packed up my things, said goodbye to my friends, headed down the mountain, went home, called my mom and told her I was leaving town, gave my apartment to a friend with all my possessions, quit my job, and with in one week I was on the road to God knows where……
The rest is history, almost to the day, one year later Jesus found me. My life was never the same again.
My journey within that year can only be described as unique and extraordinary. Indiana Jones would have been proud.
Most importantly, I am so grateful for God speaking to me and that I had the guts to act on it. No telling where I would have ended up if I didn’t. Perhaps still floating around in uncharted seas in our rickety Viking Ship looking for something to discover.
If you have an epiphany and it comes with an action button. Push it. Then hold on for dear life. I guarantee it will be a ride of a lifetime.