The word itself defines that time in my life three years ago: A sudden realization of great truth.
The Christian feast day goes deeper: The arrival of the Magi to the infant Jesus, bearing gifts and beholding the revelation of this child as the son of God.
In some countries, it is recognized in concrete terms: The Holy Day of Obligation.
Others mark the time with what they hold was seen: The physical manifestation of belief.
I ponder this all in my heart with each passing year and take it as my own: Divorce-iversary.
Pardon me if that speaks sacrilege to you. Honestly, the shift from being married to being not took me to great spiritual depths. I love that the day my divorce was manifested on a stamped booklet of papers before a judge, 18 long and emotional months after a sudden realization of great truth, releasing all obligation, an unfolding of the hope I held tight, happened over Epiphany. What a gift.
So I celebrate.
This is me totally wigging out when she told me how pretty I am back. Alright, this is really me having a caniption that I wouldn't have to tow Big Red into the dealership by a rope and that I'd have free XM radio for a whole month AND locks that work without violating child labor laws.
Deciding I needed to bring glad tidings of new transportation was not a sudden realization. I've known it was time for over a year. But I decided to drive that mother into the ground to save some money and push back any chance of a spontaneous purchase that once nearly led me to buy a PT Cruiser. Vanilla white. Used.
Har, har. People, this is one of the funniest you can find if you search on "funny divorce bumper stickers." The second place one is up at the top of the post. Please, someone, make this change.
The car I was driving -- we took to calling her Big Red -- was not meant to be mine. My parents loaned it to me for "a while", which became a year, before I finally handed over the cash just to own it. I never loved it like it was my ride to freedom. I never even liked it. I just drove it, grateful to have a relatively easy solution to school pick-ups and drop-offs and little escapes out of town.
Big Red had been in fender benders, gotten scraped up, and survived a couple of real bruiser accidents. For some reason, snow snuck inside the car and the windows froze up on the inside every time the temperature dropped. Then the locks shorted out and Lil E became responsible for locking and unlocking my car door from the inside to spare me the embarrassment of leaning over the seats in front of the school kids and PTA and God every morning. It still had a cassette player. The steering wheel was strangely covered in a make-up -like film that could not be scrubbed away. Then came the clanking. It was something about a u-joint, maybe? I just know it only settled down between the speeds of 37 and 40, making it too easy for me to speed in my unlocked, mix-taped, icebox of a car.
I scrambled at the end of the year to make the car purchase happen, but schedules and holidays stepped in the way. The next free day to visit the dealership just happened to be that one day. It seemed right, it seemed good, it seemed like the time to move on.
And so after a lengthy journey through the hills and strip-mall-lined frontage roads of the suburbs, after negotiations and numbers dealt by fast-talking and cigarette-waving salesman,after conferring with my dad, I found just what I was looking for, tucked in the corner of a paved lot as the sun set over rows and rows of shiny compact sports utility vehicles.
There it was, black as the night sky with inviting leather seats bearing the sassiest red-threaded stitching. I'd been seeking Graphite Blue swathed in gray leather, even had a vision of a charcoal-colored car. But there was the one I was meant to find, on the night it seemed right to make an offering for it.
I said goodbye to Big Red, one of the very last representations of that time, of these years I have made my way toward a new life. It had taken me far -- many more than miles. I climbed into my new car -- sleek and shiny and fully-loaded -- ready to hit the road again.
Where will I go in this baby? I don't know yet. Maybe the thought will come to me suddenly one day. Or maybe I will just cruise along this year, taking my time and enjoying every bit of this gift.Especially the heated seats.
Yes, this side of divorce definitely deserves heated seats.