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epiphany - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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A sudden appearance or bodily manifestation of a deity; a sudden, intuitive perception of the essential meaning or significance of something, usually initiated by a commonplace occurrence.

Note: The proper noun Epiphany names a Christian festival, observed on January 6, to commemorate the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles.

When we sent our first child off to school I experienced a jarring moment, an epiphany. I had been teaching young children for many years, advising parents on a wide range of issues, including the best and most painless ways to separate from their youngsters at school. When my own time came, I found that all my good advice to others was impossible to follow myself.... I felt like a midwife friend of mine who had assisted in the births of hundreds of babies before her own first child was born. In the middle of labor she cried out, “I’ve told hundreds of women, ‘you can do it,’ and it can’t be done.”

—William Ayers * To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (1993)

* During William Ayers's tenure with the Weathermen, he and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, along with others, were responsible for setting off small bombs between 1970 and 1972 at the New York City Police Headquarters, the United States Capitol building, and the Pentagon. The charges against Ayers and Dohrn were dropped only because the FBI was found to have used illegal methods of attaining information.

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