Of 'Epiphanies' and 'Ah-ha! Moments'

At the corner of Fourth Street and Muhammad Ali in downtown Louisville, you might see a bustle of activity on a typical weekday afternoon: cars buzzing by, people walking to meetings or lunch, etc. But March 18th, 1958, Thomas Merton saw much more than that. At the corner of Fourth Street and what was then Walnut Street, Merton experienced what he called an epiphany. Dr. Paul Pearson, the Director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, says that epiphany can be summed up in four words: people aren’t inherently bad. The writings and art of Thomas Merton in the following years would extrapolate on that simple realization that Pearson says changed everything about the way Merton viewed the world and everyone in it. It’s been 50 years since that epiphany, and next week a celebration will mark the transformation of the famed Trappist monk at the Muhammad Ali Center.

You can hear my interview with Dr. Pearson in this week’s Studio 619.  We’ll talk about Merton’s beliefs and how he illustrated those thoughts through writing and art. Another part of the Muhammad Ali Center event is a panel discussion featuring Louisvillians who have had their own personal epiphanies (Dr. Pearson calls them ‘ah-ha! moments’).

So now I’m wondering – have you had an ‘ah-ha! moment’? One of those realizations that changes the course of your life? Maybe it’s switching career paths, looking at a relationship in a completely new way or coming to terms with a lifelong struggle… you can share your epiphanies and ‘ah-ha! moments’ with us by leaving a comment.

Studio 619 airs Sunday morning at ten on WFPL.

State of Affairs also talked about epiphanies this week… you can learn more here.