Thankful for Serendipity: Following gratitude through a fortuitous chain of events

* This is week two of my month-long quest to explore what it means to be thankful.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a serendipitous chain of events? Where one chance encounter led to a unique experience which led to another turn of events? I believe these happen more often than we realize, and they can reveal beautiful Doorways along the way.

Over the last several years, I've returned to my love of reading. When I left my career of teaching, I was gifted with more time for the hobby, and when I discovered audio books from my local library, I was able to read twice as many books. I use GoodReads to track my reading progress and to write reviews which I share on Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my recommendation of a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

This began a chain of events that opened several Doorways.

As I reflected back on what happened, I recognized my gratitude at each step.

1) One of my Facebook friends (whom I knew from my volunteer work) commented on my review that there was a play adaptation of the book at a local theater (Verge Theater) that she'd been meaning to see.

  -- I am thankful that she followed my post and felt comfortable commenting.

2) Excited at the opportunity, I asked her if she wanted to go with me, and she agreed to meet me for the Saturday evening show.

  -- I am thankful that I had the courage to reach out to someone I didn't know very well in a social setting.

3) I purchased my ticket then my friend let me know she had to work Saturday night. I could have given up then, but I emailed the theater to ask them to change my ticket to the Sunday matinee (the very last show of the run). I reached out to another close friend, and she planned to get a ticket and meet me there.

  -- I am thankful that the theater was flexible enough to change my ticket and that I had another book-loving friend to call. (It was not that long ago that I did not have any close friends.)

4) Through a series of emails and texts, I was informed that both of my friends' plans had changed. The Facebook friend was now able to attend on Sunday, and my book-loving friend had to cancel due to unexpected health issues and a death in the family. 

  -- I am thankful that I have access to email and text to communicate with others and that I didn't have to go to the play alone.

5) After an amazing and moving performance, we headed for our cars. My friend asked if I needed anything, and I told her no. She walked with me, and as I pushed the button to open my van's door, we said good-bye. However, the ramp that usually deploys automatically had not come out. "Wait!" I yelled for my friend. "I guess I need some help after all." Following my directions, she was able to get in the van and try several different ways to get the ramp out. We finally found success, and I was able to load my wheelchair. 

  -- I am thankful for my friend's patient assistance. Had I been alone, the task would have been much more difficult if not impossible. I am also thankful for all the times that my ramp *did* work because it has maintained my independence.

I left the theater worried about my ramp but full of gratitude for the way things had turned out. I sat in awe of the way God works in my life, especially in a moment as small as a community play.

It's easy to let these types of linked moments slip by unnoticed, but if you follow along closely, you can find beauty and gratitude along the way.

When has Serendipity in a chain of events shown up in your life?

What if you list the moments step by step and look for the ways you are thankful in between each instance?

Some Doorways from this week:

  • Our dog, Riley, brought a near-dead mouse into the house a few days ago. I have an empathetic heart for all creatures, so when it started squeaking, I knew I had to get it safely outside. I was able to scoop it up in my dustpan and place it in my flower bed. The mouse may not have lasted through the cold night, but I took comfort in having made the effort to save it.
  • My sister unexpectedly sent me some pictures from years ago that she'd run across. It made me smile to remember our special sibling relationship.
My 8th-grade graduation
  • My van's ramp stopped working completely after the incident at the play, so I've had to rely on my four-wheeled walker to get around. This week,both my mom and my physical therapist took the time and had the patience to walk with me and help me get in my van. Their kindness is beautiful.


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