Isn’t it wonderful when in our lives we are in the right place at the right time and are lucky enough to experience a serendipitous moment? I have had a few of these in my lifetime, and when I experience them I always feel so very fortunate and blessed.
Of course, the photo above is a wonderful example of a serendipitous moment. My partner, aunt, cousin and I were driving along the coast of Cape Town after we had just united at a local train station. We had just been making small talk about the fact that it was the beginning of whale season. There was a chance we would see whales during the week we were together spending time throughout Cape Town. Moments after we stopped speaking, my cousin piped up from the back seat, “Hey, there, is THAT a whale???” Sure enough, the photo above captured what we saw. It was the ONLY time throughout the ten-day trip that we saw a whale.
My youngest daughter is adopted from China. She comes from a remote region of China and when she was adopted she was part of the third group of children available for international adoption through the small orphanage in her region. Only about 20 children had been adopted from this specific orphanage this far. As I was processing through the airport as I began my journey to pick up my daughter in China, I was talking to a friend in line next to me. I was in an international airport in the middle east, where I was working at the time. The woman behind me in line tapped me on the shoulder, “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation.” she said in a very thick Slavic accent. “I just adopted a daughter from China six weeks ago. I was here for three days on business and am anxious to get back home to her. Where is your daughter from?” I went on to explain that my daughter comes from a very remote region of China that she is probably not familiar with. To make a very long story short, her new daughter was from the same orphanage as mine, and was one of those first 20 children to be adopted out. We compared photos of our girls (in the same clothing and baby bouncers) and promised to remain in touch. We are now part of a group of over 300 families who have all adopted children from this remote region in China.
Both of these are amazing examples of when the universe lines up to provide us with a special gift. We are well aware that these moments are extraordinary and are to be cherished. I wonder what would have happened had my cousin not been looking out the window that day – we could have so easily missed the opportunity to see that gorgeous whale. What would have happened if the lady behind me did not feel comfortable breaking into the conversation of a stranger? We may have never exchanged stories, and she might not have joined our network of families with children from the same orphanage in China. These moments are not explainable and I believe they serve a great purpose – they remind us that the ways of the world are bigger than what we can understand or explain – and they remind us that the greatest joys can come in small moments when we least expect it.
Today, 316 days ’til 40, I will remind myself to be aware of the serendipitous moments that surround me. I believe there are more in my life than I recognize, and I strive to be alert enough to not let them pass me by.