Serendipity (part 1)

essay, non-fiction 4 Comments »

I’m reposting this piece here from my facebook notes at the request of several people~

Written: January 6, 2006

ser·en·dip·i·ty: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

Not every experience in our lives bears repeating—by a long stretch. Human nature, however, is such that we all are often compelled to remain noisy about those things that are inconsequential, at times even malign—the stories that should probably be kept silent. This experience though, is one that begs me for music and a voice to sing it loudly. This is a story of synchronicity and serendipity.

Many people believe our world happens in a random fashion. For me, this is incomprehensible, not to mention frightening. Fortunately, my mother raised me to believe that everything happens for a reason and happens just as it should. She would often remind me that this does not necessarily mean I will always know the reason. The thing that happens to me that I may not understand now, I may understand later, or maybe never. The things that happen to all of us are always a part of the bigger picture and not seemingly part of our own smaller picture—there really are no ordinary moments. In order to know this, we must all realize that if we subtractclarence one instance, one moment, from our lives it would change everything. I think about Jimmy Stewart and his role as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life as a glaring example. When he is down on his luck and disappointed with his life, he wishes he had never been born. And just like that, Clarence, his guardian angel grants George his wish. The beautiful lesson here of course, is that George’s life does matter and without him in the world he touches no ones’ lives—nothing remains the same.

One throw of a pebble in the water does change everything. It may take some time to feel the effect, but the ripples in the water carry energy, and that energy cannot be destroyed. I long for the time when everyone on this planet recognizes this fact. This is not a story of a string of disconnected coincidences. Simply, there is no such thing. This is a story of perfectly orchestrated synchronicities and how raising my awareness and truly seeing these instances as part of one fluid masterpiece have profoundly and forever changed my life. I know that anyone who reads this, will be left with a permanent imprint of the mystery in our everyday lives—and by “chance” you don’t agree with the premises of this story, the question of the possibility will forever be with you. And that by itself is good.

I suppose this story begins with Wayne Dyer, inspirational writer and author. One of his books, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem “happened” into my life about five years ago. My brother-in-law had called me and told me that another brother-in-law of ours had just been diagnosed with a serious and rare form of cancer. He was only forty years old and the prognosis was grim. I received this phone call in the evening and I was away from home, alone at a friend’s house high up in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains. I happened to be sitting on a bed and watched myself in the mirrored closet doors as I listened to the details of my brother-in-law’s illness. My shoulders raised, my posture sagged, and I looked as drained of color as the white walls around me.

After hanging up the phone, I pushed myself from the bed and began to pace. Within seconds I felt sick to my stomach, scared, anxious, and dark—that inevitable outcome of feeling boxed into a corner. “Go outside and breathe,” a voice in my head pleaded. I stepped outside into the chilly November mountain air, inhaled deeply, closed my eyes, let my neck fall back, and lifted my arms from my sides, palms up. I opened my eyes, exhaled a visible plume of breath, and searched the sky. The stars’ distance seemed further than I remembered. It was deadly quiet and this only exacerbated my helpless and isolated sense of doom. I walked back inside the unfamiliar house and rapidly felt as if I were sinking, that my brief attempt at treading the proverbial rough water was pointless. I sat down. I stood up. I wore a path from the kitchen to the living room genuinely not knowing what to do with myself. I cried. I turned on the television and wondered how even an actor could be laughing at a time like this. I turned off the television and headed back toward the kitchen. In the dining room on the table lay a book: There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer. Oh is there? I thought cynically. I picked it up and “randomly” opened it up to page 143. The bold print read: Chapter 7, Lord, Make me an Instrument of thy Peace. This first sentence of the well-know prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi, caused my shoulders to drop. Instead of reading below the chapter title, I looked at the last paragraph on the previous page:

Spiritual solutions mean you are an instrument for giving peace rather than demanding that you be given peace. This means coming to grips with the ultimate irony of a problem-free life, as expressed in the conclusion of the Saint Francis prayer. “For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Yes, we receive by giving, and this turnaround in thinking is essential to finding spiritual solutions. It begins with becoming an instrument of peace (142).

Because I was raised in a household with six children, it should come as no surprise that my mother constantly pled with us children to become instruments of peace. Consequently, my feelings of some relief from the recent news about my brother-in-law, was two-fold: the mere familiarity of the message and the message itself. In order to find peace, I was going to have to be a conduit of peace. This was my introduction to Wayne Dyer. This was a new start and I heard the message.

More tomorrow,


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