I planned to visit a church member who was placed in a care facility in Searsport. A friend of the church member asked if she could come along. I said, “Sure.” We hopped the 7:00 am ferry, got in my mainland car, and with coffees in hand we set out for Searsport. The conversation was light-hearted and the time passed quickly.
The visit was wonderful. The church member was delighted to see their friend and I was glad to see the progress they had made. I offered to pick up lunch so the two friends could visit.
The car wouldn’t start. I tried 3-4 times – nothing. Oh great. No lunch. Who do I call for a tow & where is the car garage in Searsport? How do I get my passenger back to Rockland for the 4:30 pm ferry? Ugh!
I return to the nurse’s desk and share my plight.
1. Nurse 1: “Today is the day we, the nursing staff, order sandwiches from the local shop. We’ll just add 3
more sandwiches to our order when we call it in about 10 mins from now!”
2. Nurse 2, “My husband is friends of the owner of the garage on Route 1. You know the one just before the
gas station? I’ll call him to have his friend come get your car.”
3. Nurse 1: “Hey, don’t they sell bus tickets at the gas station?”
>Sandwiches arrive, lunch is eaten gratefully / tow truck arrives
>Nurse 2 drives me & my passenger to the gas station/bus stop
4. I enter the gas station/bus stop to purchase a ticket to Rockland for my passenger
The bus arrives at the ferry terminal at 4:15 pm just in time for the 4:30 pm ferry home. Perfect.
5. As I leave the store, my passenger comes up to me smiling & excited,
“You won’t believe who is filling their truck up with gas? So-&-So VH Resident! They are willing to
take me back with them. They have a 4:30 pm car reservation. I’ll get home just as we planned!”
Fate? Luck? Or Serendipity?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Serendipity (serənˈdipədē) Noun
“The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for”
“The occurrence and development of chance events experienced in a happy or beneficial way.”
“Serendipity is a noun, coined in the middle of the 18th century by author Horace Walpole
(he took it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip).”
Serendipity - Fate - Luck
Serendipity: finding/seeing/experiencing coincidental events/circumstances as having a connected meaning.
Serendipity is always experienced as GOOD.
Fate: is seeing/experiencing events/circumstances as inevitable and often adverse outcome
Fate can be experienced as Bad or Good.
Luck: a force /events/circumstances that brings good fortune or adversity.”
Luck can be experienced as Bad OR Good.
Serendipity is when bits of moments come together, like layers of a fruit salad, (I had to bring in fruit – a nod to our Fruit of the Spirit sermon series) to create these unexpected hopeful/helpful connections or meanings – especially when we aren’t looking for any. When we serendipitously come upon the “I needed to see/read/hear… that today” while running errands or in a time of uncertainty or even crisis, Serendipity can feel like Grace.
As a person of faith, I don’t believe these encounters are coincidence or happy accidents. I believe God is working through these “chance encounters” or “aligning of events.” They only become serendipitous once we are open to see the alignment as a gift of grace; to see the work of Divine Presence in our lives.
Serendipity = a string of grace-filled moments that could only happen by Divine Design.
My journey with cancer has offered me several moments of Serendipity = Grace.
1. This just happened to be my mammogram year
– radiologist said mammograms rarely detect this type to tumor and then said,
“You have been given a miracle.”
2. The timing of my diagnosis with this sudden lucid time for David
– a opportunity for healing some of the pain of our relationship
– comfort & friendship while he still has some memory
3. It’s like the tumor “knows” the Liturgical Year – if all goes as planned
– 12 weeks of chemo ends Thanksgiving weekend
– 4-6 weeks off before surgery: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany
– 4 weeks healing after surgery before chemo & maybe radiation start again – Lent
– chemo should end Holy Week or just after Easter
4. My front deck steps need to be repaired before winter, but I couldn’t get anyone to look at the job
– my neighbors had a carpenter working on their house Monday of this week (Aug. 29th)
– I asked if he might have time before winter to make the repairs.
– He said he had nothing lined up for the rest of the week and he’d do it before Labor Day weekend
*10:45 am Friday, Sept 2nd the repair is done & better than I ever dreamed for a “quick fix.”
*I even have a railing!
There’s too much happening, too much to be a coincidence.
Serendipity = a string of Grace-Filled moments that could only happen by Divine Design.
God of serendipity and grace,
Open our eyes to the miracles all around us.
Gently remind us to put down our phones and lift our gaze to notice the work you are doing in the world. You speak to us in a million different ways, if only we would listen.
Help us to hear You whispering to us in unexpected ways throughout our day,
encouraging us and reminding us of Your Presence.
Help us to be that voice of encouragement to others who we encounter on our journey.
Thank You for loving us and being with us. Amen
Prayer by Kelly Johnson posted on https://theglorioustable.com/2017/09/devotion-god-serendipity/
Grace & Peace,