Introduction to Tiffany’s Epiphany
When a person discovers they have been living a lie, perhaps for generations, what does she do? In 1949 Lillian Smith, a southern white woman, wrote a daring book decrying segregation called Killers of the Dream. She created a giant problem for herself: when you love and respect the people around you and you realize their lives are based in fear and hate, what do you do?
When you grow up in a family of addiction and you are the only person in recovery, what does that look like. I know the answer to this question because I have been living this story my whole life.
I created Tiffany; she is fiction, and yet she is real to me. I know her struggle and I am enjoying telling her story. She is leading the way and I am taking dictation.
Is this story fiction or nonfiction? I think it is both. Let me know what you think.
Vicki Hannah Lein
Tiffany’s Epiphany #1: There is No Asterisk
Hello. My name is Tiffany. I am a good person. I must tell you that because I’m afraid you’re going to think I’m not a good person once I tell you about my epiphany.
Last week I was in church, where I am every Sunday, where I’ve been every Sunday since I was a little girl. I am a Christian. Christianity is the only true religion, specifically evangelical Christianity. All my friends and family are evangelical Christians. We want to save everyone from eternal damnation by converting them. This is what I have believed love is all my life.
Atheists have been persecuting us for decades, taking Christ out of Christmas and forcing us to take down Christian symbols on public land.
So, there I was sitting next to my husband, Holden, at church like I am every Sunday, And I do not know what happened. I have heard our minister say these words my whole life not every week maybe but many, many times. Here is what he said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
I’m sure you’ve heard these words. It’s what Jesus commanded us to do. And I have thought my whole life I’ve been loving my neighbors. Loving my neighbors has always been easy. Well, not so easy with Jamison who brags all the time about her new Gucci bags and must tell us about her latest vacation in the latest hotspot. I must work to love her when she is bragging, but I am a good person, so I try.
Last Sunday, for the first time, I heard “Love they neighbor as thyself” and I realized there is no asterisk! I’m not supposed to love just my family, friends, and neighbors, I’m supposed to love everybody!
Do you realize what “everybody” means? I’m supposed to love Muslims, and homosexuals, and prochoice people, and Democrats!
The blood drained out of my face and I began to tremble. Holden turned to me and asked me if I was all right, and I lied to him, and said I was “fine.” He obviously hadn’t noticed the lack of an asterisk. I looked around the congregation, and I could not see one other person who had noticed there is no asterisk on “Love they neighbor as thyself.”
I had never felt more alone in my life. What was I going to do? How was I going to love my neighbors, all my neighbors, and not get kicked out of my own neighborhood?
My body felt like I might get eaten by wolves.
How was I going to live my new life with this inconvenient epiphany?
I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know I must share my journey with someone. So, Vicki, would you post this in Facebook on your page for me? I don’t think anyone I know will stumble across it. I need to get this out and share it with people who won’t hate me, or I think I will burst!