AH, THE SERENDIPITY OF LIFE

img_0061Serendipity is defined by the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as meaning the faculty of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. If you google it, you might find @WHATIS.COM, the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking. At Wordful.com, it says the moments in life you never expect to happen but are glad that they did. Sometimes it comes down to perfect timing, total coincidence or just plain good luck. In Bedside Blessings by Charles R.Swindoll, he writes, “Serendipity occurs when something beautiful breaks into the monotonous and mundane.” He goes on to say that when we lose our capacity for “surprisability” and spontaneity, we settle into life’s rut.
As a young adult, I thought is was cool to say “Ah, the serendipity of life.” I had no clue as to what that meant but I thought sure it made me sound intelligent. (or maybe stupid to those who knew what the real meaning was.) I am a dreamer as well as an optimist and to my cool young adult mind, I thought it meant somewhere between having the joy of life all mixed up into a fairy tale. Now that I am well beyond those young adult years, I wonder what in the dickens was I thinking…or not thinking to be sure. As I looked up the word, serendipity, that somehow had popped back into my eighty-three year old brain, I began to think back on my serendipitous life. There were so many valuable and agreeable things in it that I had not sought for and some that I had and they all began to rattle around in my addled old brain and began to fall out like it was a sieve. My brain had soaked it up like a sponge when I was young and now, slowly but surely, it was beginning to seep out. 
When I was a small girl, I loved to play with paper dolls and baby dolls. It was my favorite past-time. Once I had a Queen Elizabeth doll that I adored, but I named her Princess Annie. I would pretend that she was me. I always dreamed that a tall dark and handsome knight would come sweep me off my feet and I would ride off on his beautiful white stallion into the sunset and we would live happily ever after in the big beautiful castle. So it came as no surprise that my tall dark and handsome knight came in the form of a Citadel cadet named Jack. Well, he wore a uniform and he was tall and extremely good-looking. He indeed did sweep me off my feet and we would ride off in the sunset and live happily ever after. The only difference was that he had a 1936 Plymouth that he named The Black Streak, that more often that not had no brakes, not a beautiful white horse. Our first castle was a basement apartment in Arlandria, Virginia (a little town located between Alexandria and Arlington). We loved this tiny little apartment which was our first home, our castle. I recall how he grunted and groaned as he carried my 103 pound self across the threshold. Mind you, he lifted weights that weighed 200 pounds but he thought it was funny to make such weird sounds.
Happiness was always close by and laughter could always be heard ringing through the echoes of our castle walls. We had very little money, but we had something so much better, love. Each castle got better as our marriage grew as did our love and our pocketbooks.
Our love became overwhelming at the birth of our first child. We were thrilled when I became pregnant but we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams the love that we would share for this beautiful little baby girl. It was magical. When our second child came along, I was not sure we could love him as much..how could this be possible? But it was. God seems to give us more room in our hearts than we can possibly know. It was true when our third child came along too. These beautiful babies were our treasures…our serendipity of life…valuable things not sought after…their love for us and our love for them.
We watched as these children grew into strong independent adults under our guidance. We would like to take credit for it, but I know that a higher power was looking over these children as they grew and Jack & I were just the gate keepers. We could not have possibly imagined when we met at ages eighteen and twenty that life was to give us so much, that it would be so serendipitous.
We had some hard times too, but it was the magic of our love for each other and our love for God that would help us work through these times. It’s funny, but I can’t recall what any disagreement that we had  was about. We made a point of settling our differences before we went to bed. (the best piece of advice that my Momma ever gave me.)
The years went by so quickly and we watched as our children learned to walk and talk, sing and play.  We watched as they went to kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college and got married and had children of their own. Grandchildren…another agreeable thing that we found but had not sought or looked for…a serendipitous event for sure. An event that would bring us great pleasure seven times over. Each child would bring his/her own personality into our life, their own laughter, their own dreams and we were privileged to watch them grow as our love would grow for them.  Our hearts would expand to limits we did not know could exist.
When Jack died after fifty-two years of marriage, I felt as if I had no dreams left. My tall, dark and handsome knight had left the castle and had taken my love and my dreams with him. I was no longer a dreamer as I thought my dream was over but I did remain an Optimist. I had been given by God enough serendipity to last a life time, Jack’s life time not mine. God began to show me that once He had made you a dreamer, you would always be one. He began to put serendipitous thoughts into my well used old brain and they began to leak out as memories. I also began to make new memories with my children and grandchildren and now my great-grandchildren. My Great-grandson, Kaiden, said to me once. “You know when you are young, your brain is like a sponge, but when you get old, there’s too much knowledge up there, it gets full, so it begins to leak out to make room for more stuff.” I believe this smart little nine-year old boy is right on the money. I look at him and I see an optimistic dreamer who is also a tall, dark and handsome knight who will one day be captured by his princess. I am sure he will experience the serendipity of life.
“Ah, the serendipity of life”….it may sound foolish to you, but for me, it had been a life filled with valuable or agreeable things that were not sought after but turned the mundane and monotonous into laughter and joy. I was richly blessed by God. I continue to experience my dream. Ah, the serendipity of life.