Tamara Hill Murphy is a blogger and friend of mine from our days together at in Austin. She is also a wonderful blogger who writes about the “Sacramental Life” and living intentionally through the Christian seasons. She has such a creative mind and comes to these things in beautifully unique ways.
Right now she is hosting a series throughout the season of Epiphany (which lasts until Ash Wednesday, eight days from now), in which she asks her guests to walk through their own neighborhoods as a spiritual practice during this season of light. (When Jesus tells us both: “I am the light” and “You are the light.”
I loved getting to go through my neighborhood and share about what I love about our life here in San Francisco. I also loved thinking about our walks through our neighborhood of The Outer Sunset as a spiritual practice.
Here’s a bit of what I wrote. .
This is the view from my back porch on a clear day in winter. In the church calendar we are in the season of light. In the Outer Sunset of San Francisco, this is the season of sunsets, a miraculous time of year when it feels like almost every evening we get to watch the sun sneak away into the Pacific ocean. Much of the year here is covered in fog and the ocean is distorted from our view behind a canopy of gray. But, during Epiphany for the past two winters we’ve spent in our home, the sun has set with bright reds and oranges, unmarked by the curtain of fog.
I always feel sorry for the season of Epiphany. It’s a shame to have such a remarkable name and always be ignored. I mean, it’s got to be tough to be the season that shows up right after Christmas, to mark the day we ought to have taken our trees down and stored our decorations. To be the liturgical mark on the calendar when everyone sighs some relief before we all start up with preparations for Lent. Poor thing.
Ah, Epiphany. I remember when I first learned that word. I was a secret word-nerd in middle school and high school and would never have owned up to the fact that I loved learning the word “elaborate” in 7th grade Language Arts. It sounded so sexy on my tongue. “Elaborate!” Mr. Jester would say as he shuffled up and down our rows of desk and jingled the coins in his pocket, discussing the five-paragraph essay.
I didn’t learn “epiphany” until I was in 12th grade, in Mr. English’s (his real name!) British Lit class. He described it as an “Aha!” moment long before Oprah ever claimed the phrase. We would discuss the main character’s moment of epiphany, when she finally discovered what she was meant to know, recognized the truth that would change the course of her story.
My story changed when I moved to San Francisco over five years ago. I’ve lived here for more than four years, with a one-year jaunt to Austin there in the middle. We have lived in four different neighborhoods in the four-plus years of our life in San Francisco, and in each, we have come to love and appreciate the offerings of each particular corner of the city.
. . .