I Had an Epiphany and it Hurt

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ever had an epiphany just reach up and slap you in the face? One of those moments where clarity becomes so bright sunglasses are required. Yesterday I received such a slap; it knocked the sunglasses off, an epiphany.

By definition an epiphany is:
 
(1) a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.

Even by definition warns it will strike you. My epiphany was a word, one we hear and associate with entitlement, honor or something special. The word was privilege.

Yesterday while waiting for Ms. Twisters Lexus to be repaired I sat in the café. To customers everything there was free; Danishes, bagels, drinks and yes, chili. A privilege, a perk and a slap in the face. An epiphany that slapped me so hard I about choked on the free root beer.

Not a mile down the road is an assisted living community, another privilege, another slap in the face. A privileged place where families put a loved one and assume all is well. It is their privilege to be served surprise meat with brown gravy and do not speak out in fear of retribution.

Two miles down the road is a school, a privilege and a slap. A place where being yourself now days is not an option. It is the different child's privilege to attend and be bullied into suicidal thoughts and/or attempts.

Three miles down the road is our unemployment office and the local homeless shelter, a privilege? Oh, let me slap you. Of course you are privileged to have a place in line so we can make you feel like toilet paper stuck to our shoes.

The homeless shelter, for sure it is a privilege. Is it not a privilege to have others look upon you as an alcoholic, a drug user or a criminal? No one needs to assume you are in the line above, lost your home, your family and all self-respect, where is the privilege in that?

Can you see my epiphany yet? We traveled just three miles in my fair city and guided you through just a sampling of these so-called privileges. We as a society have begun to re-write the definition of the word privilege.

It is a true privilege to live in a place where such amenities are offered, it is not a privilege to assume those receiving these amenities feel it as such. The true privilege here is we have the ability to change.

We can change our perception that someone in assisted living is having a ball. That they love eating surprise meat with brown gravy and do not want to be bothered with your phone call. This our perception not theirs.

We can change the perception that our children, unemployed and homeless feel privileged at this particular moment. Being bullied, belittle and believed to be beyond hope is not a privilege. These are ugly stigmas of reality.

This weekend think twice before you use the word privilege. Put yourself in the shoes you think should feel privileged and ask, “Is this truly a privilege?” What is your definition of the word privilege?


For me it is having blog friends like you. Thank you to everyone who is helping spread the blog love. Now if it were only that easy in the real world.

Peace…



33 comments:

Mary Vaughn said, 

Privilege - something I've earned. Respect of others.
Although I've worked since I was 11 with a short interruption I don't consider my unemployment a privilege.
Great piece!

February 11, 2011 at 8:29 AM  
Vicki Rocho said, 

We take so much for granted, don't we? I'd like to say I've earned all I have, but the truth is I've been extremely fortunate and it wouldn't take much to put me on the other side of the equation.

February 11, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Summer Ross said, 

Great post Jules-
I explain to the girls that a privilege is something that is good and wanted- I tell them they are privileged to play the x-box. I tell them it is something given freely- like a gift or person. Its 7: 15 AM and I can't word it any better than that LOL

February 11, 2011 at 9:16 AM  
Karen Walker said, 

Thoughtful post, Jules. Since I've had several family members in assisted living facilities, I have an understanding of what it's like to make that decision and let go of life as you've known it. To have no control over what food is served, when food is served, when you can make an appointment to go to the doctor. I guess I never saw it as a privilege for them to live there, just something that was necessary. I'd like to find a new paradigm for myself, but haven't yet.
Karen

February 11, 2011 at 9:42 AM  
Melissa Bradley said, 

Your post is very thought-provoking and I appreciate it very much. In my neighborhood, we have a lot of unemployed, homeless, people barely keeping their heads above water. The Poor. It's rough here and we often get told that we're leeches on society and we should be grateful that there are things like unemployment. And grateful to take people's charitable handouts. Oh don't complain, because beggars can't be choosers and if you'd just get a job and be smart about money, you wouldn't be here, now would you? Sorry for the rant, but this is very personal subject for me.

February 11, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Paula said, 

How very true. For me privilege has to be earned. Like the privilege getting to know you step by step.
Love and hugs

February 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
Alex J. Cavanaugh said, 

Now I have a lot to think about on a Friday.

February 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Jilda said, 

those slaps are really painful!Ouch, I felt them all the way in Alabama.
Great post, I love to be slapped!

February 11, 2011 at 11:11 AM  
The Golden Eagle said, 

Great post. Privilege . . . this really made me stop and think.

February 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM  
Bossy Betty said, 

This is perspective we can all use! I remember watching a well-dressed woman across a table at an expensive restaurant eating and complaining how poor she was.

Oh, and her SUV was parked right outside.

February 11, 2011 at 1:33 PM  
Kindros said, 

Privileges to me are something you earn or are entitled to. Too restrictive for my tastes.

New follower. Have a great weekend. :)

February 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM  
Holly said, 

Peace, my friend. Honestly, there are a LOT of PRIVILEGES I wouldn't consider a PRIVILEGE, myself. As someone who is DIFFERENT and worry regularly about stigma and being considered ungrateful for the PRIVILEGES bestowed if I venture outside of what others consider acceptable. Thought provoking...

(((HUGS)))

February 11, 2011 at 3:11 PM  
Jayne said, 

Jules, I've been to that Lexus dealer and I didn't consider the catering a privilege -- not when paying the $150./hr mechanic's tab. That's a privilege I can do without (which I do now).
Very insightful post and ideas. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I understand privilege, it's rather abstract. I think privilege comes from perspective.
Happy weekend! ;)

February 11, 2011 at 3:43 PM  
The Blogger Formerly Known As said, 

I like the idea of taking the love out to the real world. It’s something no one can have too much of. Something which is a privilege to give and receive. Have a great weekend, Jules.

February 11, 2011 at 4:44 PM  
Lynda Young said, 

Ah yes, wouldn't it be fabulous if it was that easy to spread the love in the "real world".

Thank you to you too for this wonderful post :)

February 11, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Velvet Over Steel said, 

Powerful & needed post!! Great job, Jules!!!!

I was behind a couple in line at the local 'discount' grocery store. He was horrible to both his wife and I assume their teenage son. He felt they were very 'privileged' for the food he was buying them and 'privilaege' for his 'taking care of him'. That was exactly his attitude and comments in so many words. His poor wife was not from here, very passively tried to stand up for the young man with them, whom this man was bossing around and ordering to do this or that. It was horrible and I felt like I was going to throw up. The man at the register has a 'panic button' to call the police & I could tell he was considering it... but the man didn't actually 'touch' them, but he sure was abusing them with his words and actions. So sad!!

Anyway, your post hits home to so many & I hope the attitude toward the poor, controled, homeless & abused changes/improves!

Big Hugh Hug to you Jules!
Coreen xoxoxoxo

February 11, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
floweringmama said, 

Great post Jules. I really hope it makes us all think what we're teaching our children.

Have a wonderful weekend!

February 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM  
Ella said, 

Great Post Jules, I felt the slap today, when I saw 3 people at Wal-mart with signs, to work for $, or in need. I felt the slap when I went to pick my daughter up from school and the mouthy kids in the corner, talking smack. I felt it again, when my husband asked me if I am going to the Cryptology Ball. The idea of wasting money on a gown and dressing up in a room of stuffy wives, makes me barf. I rather sit with the homeless guy and talk and offer him something to eat or $ to do so. I was so treated like I was a homeless bum, at the last Navy function.

Great post; I will be sharing your button, soon~ ;-D xXx

February 11, 2011 at 7:54 PM  
Green Monkey said, 

nice look inward!
mental and physical wellness is a privileged...

February 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM  
The Words Crafter said, 

I loved this post. Very thought provoking.....

I posted and passed around your blog love award today. I also have something for you on my blog today. Come pick it up :)

February 12, 2011 at 1:39 PM  
Arlee Bird said, 

I rarely use the word privilege. I guess I just take things for granite, as my mother would say.

Monday is Blog Love day on TOSSING IT OUT. I'll be displaying the badge you passed to all of us and spreading some more blog loving to followers.

Lee
Tossing It Out

February 12, 2011 at 1:47 PM  
Clarissa Draper said, 

I feel privileged to have great blogging buddies. I really do. They have been such a support.

February 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM  
Lola Sharp said, 

It's always a privilege to visit your blog, Jules. I love your giving heart and spirit. *hugs*

Love,
Lola

February 12, 2011 at 2:25 PM  
N. R. Williams said, 

I think you are a rare exception to life, Jules. You pay attention and consider all the things around you. I know you don't always feel like you're doing that, but you post speak otherwise.

I will soon be privileged by one of the above unless there is a miracle.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

February 12, 2011 at 2:59 PM  
Nezzy said, 

Thank you for this. I will pause and think before I use the word privilege next time. This was very well written sweetie and gave me allot to ponder on.

God bless and have a most beautiful weekend!!! :o)

February 12, 2011 at 7:02 PM  
L'Aussie said, 

Hi Jules. I came by to thank you for the lovely 'love' award crafted by yourself and sent spinning into the blogosphere. I got it from Words Crafter. Thank you so much.

I love your post today. Quite an epiphany. It really pays to take stock of how privileged we are and think of those less fortunate.

Have a good weekend Jules. You're a special lady.

Denise:)

February 12, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Flying high in the sky.... said, 

beautiful post! i have always felt a sense of gratitude for everything i have .. not taken anything as a privilege ...don't know but everything that passes by me humbles me.. as if it was not meant for me but by some grace happened... so inside me i am always this lowly person who is always grateful...not used to privileges ...

February 13, 2011 at 4:51 AM  
Tammy said, 

Very nice post. I had a similar epiphany once. Privilege used to be good stuff that's given to rich people. Now I see it as all the good stuff that enriches my life...including, like, breathing. Funny how I'm way poorer than I used to be, but I feel far more privileged. Anyway, thanks.

February 13, 2011 at 12:28 PM  
walk2write said, 

Great, thought-provoking post. Privilege is one side of the coin. Obligation is the other one. And yeah, somehow it always boils down to economics.

February 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Regina said, 

I have not had an epiphany slap me, but my muse has done her fair share of abuse. lol

February 13, 2011 at 9:39 PM  
Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said, 

What a reflection, Jules. I completely understand your message. Working with disabled, elderly and homeless population, I have learned very well that when they come to my facility, that's not their privilege. They have to do it because there is not other option.

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my stories.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Doris

February 13, 2011 at 11:22 PM  
Her highness, Samantha Vérant said, 

I have so much LESS in my life right now. But I have so MUCH more. And I'm so lucky! Nice post, Jules!

February 14, 2011 at 5:40 AM  
Tabitha Bird said, 

I totally got the slap in the face. I get it.

I am very blessed. I will think on that :))

February 14, 2011 at 6:33 AM  
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