Time and Chance

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Some days are made for reading, while others are for writing. Today is one of those days I’d rather read than write, but I’ve already missed three days of writing due to circumstances beyond my control. Isn’t it uncanny how life likes to remind us that we’re barely in control, if even that? I often get tripped up by thinking I’ve got it all mapped out. Life is defiant, and it challenges me. Mostly in a good way. Even though sometimes I downright hate being challenged.

I keep running up against Serendipity–the idea that puzzle pieces fall into place when we’re not looking. That 1 + 1 sometimes ends up unexpectedly equaling 6 Million. That sometimes the worm crawls into the mouth of the bird who slept in and woke up too late for breakfast.

Solomon, that ancient, wise Hebrew, put it wonderfully: “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Let’s just pause for a moment and think about that.

Basically, he is saying that life doesn’t always turn out as we think it should. Some days that’s a good thing–like when your car is totaled in an accident, but you walk away from the accident relatively unscathed. And other days it is the absolute worst thing: such as the untimely death of a loved one.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that life is a crazy, winding road full of unexpected events and circumstances, and I still forget this sometimes. If I could turn back time and give advice to my younger self, I would tell her to get comfortable with the unexpected, and to plan to enjoy every minute of it, instead of spending all her time trying to figure out how to get back on track.

The joy of the journey is not in arriving quickly at the intended destination, but in stopping to take in the scenery and to enjoy a picnic along the way on that major detour.

So that’s what I try to do these days–with varying degrees of success. I am much better at being open to possibilities now than I’ve ever been, and I am finding that these detours lead to surprisingly wonderful, if unintended, destinations. And then I stop fretting over the delay in getting to my original destination because I realize that life is for living. And that exquisite living can happen here, now, on these detours that are actually designed to show me that better things exist than anything I’d imagined or worked towards.

Serendipity (def.): the gift of finding (or being found by) good, valuable, and pleasant things when you are not looking for them.

May time and chance happen to you many times over this year.

Image credit: Zizie Zack

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