Epiphany

Wikipedia defines Epiphany as: An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphanea, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of a sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. Epiphanies are studied by psychologists[1][2] and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.[3][4][5].

The Epiphany of Jesus Christ is the Manifestation of God as Man in the World. Emmanuel, God with us. It is most often associated with the coming of the Wise Men to the child Jesus. However there were many epiphanies before the Wise Men and God used different methods to enlighten those whom he was revealed.

He was revealed through prophesy:

(Here are a few)

Isaiah 7:14 (virgin birth) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin
will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Micah 5:2 (Born in Bethlehem) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are
small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler
over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Genesis 49:10 (From the Tribe of Judah) “The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and
the obedience of the nations shall be his.”
Jeremiah 23:5 (Descendant of David) “’The days are coming,’ declares the LORD,
‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and
do what is just and right in the land.’”

He was revealed to Mary by an Angel

He was revealed to Joseph by an Angel in a dream

He was revealed to the Shepards by 1st 1 then a host of angels

He was revealed to the Wise Men by a star

He was revealed to Herod by the wise men and the prophets

He was revealed to Simeon by his faith

He was revealed to the on lookers of Jesus’s Baptism, by the Holy Spirit in the shape of a Dove and by God’s voice from the heavens.

There are many, many more examples in the Bible, where an Epiphany of understanding of who Jesus is happens.

Epiphanies happen even today, as the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts, bringing us to faith, as the Word of God opens our hearts and eyes. I pray if you have not already had an Epiphany as to who Jesus is, that you do in God’s timing.

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The Eye Exam

The Eye Exam

I have vision insurance through my employer. Towards the end of the year, I started to receive reminders to use my insurance benefits before they ran out. It had been a couple of years since my last eye exam and getting new glasses. I found myself not being able to read with my existing pair any longer. My daughter also needed an eye exam and contacts.  My daughter called and made appointments for both of us last week.

My vision had indeed changed. My distance vision got better, but my close-up vision got worse.  With a new prescription in hand, I searched through the displays to find a new pair of frames.  After finding a pair I like, I place my order for my new glasses.  They will be ready by January 12th. New glasses for a new year.  Clearer vision.

20/20 Vision

After leaving the store, I got to thinking how 2020 was like a big eye exam for the world.  Identifying all the things wrong with our view of life. The irony was not lost on me that to have 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal clarity or sharpness of vision measured at a distance of 20 feet. Unfortunately, we (the world and our nation), did NOT have 20/20 vision.

Nearsighted

We found out many of us were nearsighted, and short sighted. We could only see what was right in front of our faces.  Some could not see past the end of their nose. People played the short game, lived for now, thought only of themselves and lived life as if there were no consequences for their actions and no tomorrow. YOLO

Double-Vision

Some people had Double vision.  They saw more than one thing at a time but could not focus on anything.  It is the ADHD of vision problems. A person with Double vision can not tell what is real and what is the phantom image. Easily misled to follow false information.

Lazy Eye

With this eye condition, the eyes do not work together, and the brain ignores input from one eye. Similar to the lack of cooperation between political parties, or not listening to other people’s perspectives, input or needs.

Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Retinopathy

Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Retinopathy are all eye problems that affect how much you can see at a time.  It is like having blinders on or looking through a hole in a fence or trying to read a redacted document or identify someone in a blurred image. You do not see the whole picture only partial data.  Information is incomplete and easily misinterpreted. Making conclusions using this partial data can end in incorrect assumptions and wrong decisions.

Cataracts

Vision with Cataracts is like looking at life through sheer curtains or dirty windows. You see that the image exists, but the details are missing.  You only have a general sense of what you are looking at.  The Cliff Notes of information with no depth.  An impressionist painting of life. You might correctly identify what you are looking or what is going on, but your success rate for an accurate identification and full view is low.

Far-sighted vision

A person who is far-sighted can see clearly far away but might miss something right in front of their face.  They look to the future, meticulously plan, work their plan, and live for the goal. In doing so they may miss the moments, fail to be present in the now and not appreciate the process of getting to the goal.

(The following are not Vision issues but rather issues with perspective)

Looking at Life Through Rose Colored Glasses

The famous phrase has been used to describe an unrealistic view of life.  Only seeing what you want to see and choosing NOT to see the reality of a situation. Lying to one’s self, to make themselves feel better.

You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

This usually describes a person who is overwhelmed by circumstances.  They are unable to see the big picture because what is in front of them is all they focus on.

The Eye Exam

Then the Eye Exam happened. 2020 happened.  We suddenly were given a new pair of glasses and what was really happening in the world was suddenly clearer.  Covid-19 was real, Racism still exists, our country is very divided ideologically speaking, people were dying, people lost jobs, businesses closed.

We saw people and jobs differently.  Suddenly grocery store clerks, take out food workers, delivery people, teachers, and healthcare workers were getting a lot more respect. Parents started spending more time with their children. Meals were eaten at home. People were not over scheduled, because there were less choices for how to spend our time.

We started to appreciate family and friends because we could not see them at all or as often or we lost them. We got creative on how to run our businesses and do our jobs. Virtual, Streaming, Zoom and Teleconferences became a norm. We suffered and fought and got a fresh perspective on LOTS of things.

Now 2020 has ended, we gladly ushered it out, waved good-bye with no tears in our eyes, said adios.  Through it all we can look back and honestly say – hindsight really is 20/20.

Jennifer Boberg 01/01/2021

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Eye Contact Part 1

After I was raped and my rapist left, I lay on my bed crying for about 15 minutes.  I knew I needed help.  I had been sleeping in nothing but a T-shirt.  I threw on my robe and went upstairs where my roommate was.  I woke her crying and spilled out what had happened.  I had already called the police.  They arrived in just a few minutes.  Ironically I had called the police the night before, because I thought I had heard someone outside.  The same police officers who had shown up the previous night were the ones who responded to my call this time.

The officers were very nice.  They took my statement and checked my apartment and around my apartment and then they transported me to the hospital.  The officers even tried finding the rapist right away, grabbing some guys before we even got in the patrol car to see if I could ID anyone.  I couldn’t.  It was generally agreed on, that whoever it was, probably had cased my place the previous night and was the reason I had heard something outside.  A call was made to the Director of the little Black Box theater I was Stage Managing for because she was also a rape victims advocate.

When I arrived at the hospital by robe and T-shirt were collected for evidence as they had semen on them.  I was given a hospital gown.  Otherwise I was naked.  The officers asked questions, the hospital staff asked questions.  But what stood out most was the eye contact, or lack there of.

You see I wasn’t visibly hurt.  There were no bruises.  I was not beaten.  I was not restrained with anything but his hands and body.  I had one small, tiny nick in my neck where he had held the point of his knife.  You had to look to see it. I didn’t apparently look like a victim of rape.  So hospital staff looked at me sideways, or not at all.  A black nurse asked awkwardly about the race of my assailant.  He was black or mixed. She reacted as if she was physically hit.  She was not looking at me at all when she asked and received the answer to her question. Was she ashamed?

I rape kit was used to examine me internally and to collect evidence. Then I sat and waited or alternately answered the repeated questions of what happened by different people.  After what seemed like a very long time, I asked if the examinations were over and if I could wash myself as his smell and semen were still on and in me.  No one thought to offer me the chance to clean myself.    Hardly anyone made eye contact. I was told I could shower when I got home. No one thought that the idea of him on and in me was freaking me out. I was directed to a bathroom with a sink, where I did a basic washing.

Finally someone said I was free to go home.  I was naked, except for a hospital gown.  I had arrived by police car with no purse, money or transportation back.  I looked at the hospital staff and asked them how I was supposed to go home and wearing what?  They had no answer.  No one had thought of that.  My friend finally showed up and she brought me some clothes and slippers and took me home, but all I could think of was how the hospital treated me like I had done something wrong and how the staff could not look at me in the eye.

 

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The Blame Game

In most cases of rape, the victim is not just victimized once. They become a repeat victim through the blame game.  As if being attacked sexually by someone isn’t bad enough, now other people make it your fault too.

In my case I heard;

You chose that neighborhood, you should’ve known better = It’s your fault.

You kept your windows open, you  should’ve closed and locked them = It’s your fault.

You didn’t try and fight him?=It’s your fault.

Other women hear;

If you dress like that, you’re asking for it=It’s your fault.

You have too much make-up on=It’s your fault.

You were dancing sexily=It’s your fault.

You went out by yourself=It’s your fault.

You were drinking=It’s your fault.

You have big boobs=It’s your fault.

So basically because you are a woman=It’s your fault.

Bull Shit! It’s his fault!

 

 

 

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Scents and Sensibility

A scent can bring back memories as easily as a photograph.  Unlike a photo, however, a smell can sneak up on you and hit you unsuspecting.

There are distinct perfumes and aftershaves that I can still identify in one sniff and that will bring back memories of specific people or events.  My Nana wore L’Origan by Coty, Paris.  My Oma wore 4711 a traditional German Eau de Cologne by Mäurer & Wirtz. My Mother wore Tabu Cologne for Women by Dana. My Sister-in-law wore L’Air du Temps, a women’s perfume by the French fashion house Nina Ricci.

My Father wore Aramis for Men.  An old boyfriend wore Pierre Cardin,  and Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche.  And I can still identify when a man wears Grey Flannel or Polo for Men. For years I bought my Brother-in-law the Avon aftershave colognes in the bottles shaped like vehicles. My husband does not wear aftershave or cologne, but he buys the scented deodorant and body washes, usually a Sport scent.

My Rapist, he wore traditional Old Spice. Yes he was freshly showered and scented. Why? He broke into my apartment before dawn around 5 am.  What had he done? Woken up extra early, showered, put on cologne to get ready to Go-A-Raping?  Just like you and I would shower and get dressed to go to work?

After he had left and I had called the police, they asked all the usual questions to help identify my attacker.  What did he look like? Hair color, eye color, skin color? Could I estimate how tall he was?  What was he wearing?  Could I identify him if I saw him again?  Since I was awoken out of a sound sleep to my rapist on top of me with his hand covering my mouth and nose and a knife to my jugular, memorizing those type of details was  not my first thought. I even remember him saying, “Don’t look at me! Close your eyes!”

With the threat of being stabbed, plus the fact that I was not wearing my glasses, as I was sleeping, I didn’t really try to look.  Yes, I  did remember some details after I had calmed down, but one of the most easily recalled details was his smell.  He smelled clean, freshly showered, and was wearing cologne.  One of the police officers happened to be wearing the same cologne.  I asked him what it was, “Old Spice”, he replied.

Needless to say, I do not like the smell of Traditional Old Spice Cologne.  Even though it has been almost 28 years, that scent can bring back all the details of that experience as if it were yesterday.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband bought body wash for the shower.  Usually he gets a sport scent, Old Spice even makes Sport scents.  this time he got traditional Old Spice scent.  He came out of the shower and I immediately recoiled  from him.  At first I did not know why.  I just knew he smelled wrong.  When I went to take my shower, I saw the bottle on the shelf and immediately knew why I did not want to be near him.  That evening on my way home from work, I bought him a different body wash.

I was raped 6 months before I met my husband.  I told him the stories, but he didn’t know me then.  It’s not real to him.  I told him about the Old Spice and to never wear it.  in fact when Old Spice came out with the other fragrances, I had to check them first, to make sure they didn’t smell like the original.  He forgot.  I’m not mad at him.  He accepted the new body wash without question.  The Old Spice body wash is still on the shelf in the shower.  Why haven’t I thrown it away?

Scents are powerful memory triggers.  Old Spice triggers one of my worst memories.  My nightmare memory. My rape. Do I let that scent, and that memory control me, have power over me?  Maybe I have been unable to throw the bottle away because I don’t want to touch it.  Maybe I have needed to face it, face the fear, face the memory of my rapist in a vulnerable place like my shower, and not recoil from it.  Not back down.  The memory will never go away.  It gets pushed aside by the present and regular life, resurfacing from time to time, triggered by something.  Something as simple and yet as powerful as a scent.  Maybe the sensible thing is to throw it out.  Time to put this memory away again.

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An Open Window

In 1993 Melissa Ethridge wrote the song “Come To My Window”

The sultry lyrics invite her lover with the lines;

Come to my window
Crawl inside, wait by the light of the moon
Come to my window
I’ll be home soon

A Different Window

The summer of 1988,
Less than 3 months after my father passed away,
trying to be an independent adult of 22 and living on my own,
I was sexually assaulted, no let me rephrase that,…raped.
Raped by a stranger who broke into my basement apartment by entering through an open window.
An open window that was open because it was a hot August night.
An open window that was open because it was a hot August night and my apartment did not have air conditioning.
An open window that was open because it was a hot summer night and my apartment did not have air conditioning or security bars on the windows.
Was the open window with no security bars an invitation to enter my apartment?
No it was not.
I was sleeping.
I awoke to a stranger on top of me.
I awoke to a stranger on top of me with a knife to my throat.
With a knife to my jugular vein.
People asked me if I tried to stop him?
With a knife to my jugular vein?
Did I try to stop him, pinned to my mattress with his body?
Did I try to stop him with my mouth and nose covered so I would not scream?
Did I try to stop him when I could not breathe because his hand covered my mouth and nose so I would not scream?
No.
No, I did not try and stop him, because I could not.
No, I did not try and stop him because I could not risk dieing from a stab wound to my neck.
No, I did not try and stop him because all I could think about was that I wanted to breathe and how could I convey that without getting stabbed in the neck?
No, I did not try and stop him when he did allow me to breathe and I convinced him I would not scream.
So, is that consent?
No its not.
When he was done,
When he was done, he went through my purse, as I lay crying on my bed.
He robbed me of what cash I had and berated me for not having more money.
Was there more money somewhere else?
What about upstairs?
My roommate was upstairs.
I told him there was nothing upstairs. It was empty. Praying he would not look for himself and find my roommate asleep in her bed too.
He did not go upstairs.
He left.
He left the same way he came in.
He left through the open window.
The open window that was open because it was a hot August dawn.
The open window that was open because it was a hot August dawn and I had no air conditioning in my apartment.
The open window that was open because it was a hot August dawn and I had no air conditioning in my apartment or security bars on my windows.
I did not invite him in.

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