“Serendipity”—I remember using the word in conversation with my son, Eddie, when he was in third or fourth grade. He’s always loved words and he loved the way “serendipity” sounded; he loved the meaning even more. “It’s true, Mommy. Lots of things happen by fortunate chance. Like how come we found our cat right when Amy was leaving for college? I miss my sister, but now I have a cat!”
I love the idea of fortunate chance. Was it serendipity that I was housed off campus my junior year, where I met Jaque, who introduced me to Joe, who became my husband and Eddie’s father? Was it serendipity that my friend and co-author, Lynne Dorfman, attended the NWP summer writing institute the same year that I did? That we bonded over free writes and response groups and afternoon socials? How about the fortunate chance that brought my father to the mountain village where he met my mother between the end of the Great War and his mustering out of the army?
Clearly, much of what happens in life is the result of serendipity; happy accidents. “Man plans, God laughs.” Maybe serendipity is His way of saying, “Gotcha!” I’ve come to realize that there is no good outcome to be had by engaging in worry about the future (even in these very trying political times). Though we can’t sit idly by and wait for chance to make decisions for us, we can learn to appreciate the accidents.