In reading one day (does it seem I spend a lot of time reading?), I found the history of the word serendipity. The word was coined by a 19th century English writer, Horace Walpole, who loved an ancient fable titled "The Three Princes of Serendip," (Serendip being the early name of the beautiful, teardrop-shaped island off the southern tip of India).
In the fable, the three young princes embark on a search for their fortunes. Alas, none of them finds a fortune. All three, though, discover things that are better than a fortune--truth, love, and opportunities to serve.
How did they make thse discoveries? They paid attention to things that other people miss and thus found unexpected joys and happiness.
Walpole explains his coinage of the word: "We do not have an English word that expresses that happy ability to find things that are better than what we think we are looking for." Thus was the word serendipity born.
I love this story. I love the very word serendipity. I love the sound of it, the smooth syllables that seem to roll from the tongue. And I love the idea that we can find treasures we aren't looking for simply by paying attention to what is going on around us.
In our garage sale travels, my friends and I use "serendipity" when we stumble upon a sale that wasn't listed and find a treasure we hadn't known we needed. (Who can resist a Chanel purse, after all?)
Have you had a day when you accomplished nothing on your to-do list but, instead, found someone who needed you? Did the help you extended end up taking most of your day? At the end of the day, did you feel uplifted? Life happens, and, when it's happening, we sometimes must stray from our schedule and pause to lift up another.
So, for today, I am grateful for the opportunities that serendipity offers.