Serendipity or Just Life

Heading to Miami for work this evening, I couldn’t help but think of my father, who absolutely loved Florida. He died in 1993 and I’ve been thinking about him a lot as I work on writing the story of my burns and how they were healed (physically and metaphorically). His favorite book was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and right next to that was his dog-eared copy of Tom PetersIn Search of Excellence. By some small miracle, I was at O’Hare an hour before my flight and I ducked in to Barbara’s Bookstore in United’s Terminal B. Browsing along the small aisles, I hit the bookshelf with my bag and down fell How to Win Friends and Influence People, the special Anniversary edition celebrating the book’s over 70 years in print. Of course I bought it. Reading it on the plane explained a lot about my dad, who followed the Carnegie tenets to a “t”. I mean this was his bible. Now, I’d say I ran into some cosmic serendipity tonight. My friend and audio engineer Todd Hoyer would say, “Bah humbug, that’s just life, don’t make anything out of this.” So, I wonder dear readers — how do you distinguish when the universe is calling from when it’s just stuff that happens? Please tell me your experiences.

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One Comment

  1. Dear Anne Gallagher 8 (may I call you “8”?),
    for me, the difference is this — when it’s “just life”, I will forget it unless I write it down, but “serendipity” makes itself known because I can’t stop thinking about it. There just seems to be a cosmic rightness about the idea. Even if it has never been done before, or might seem peculiar or be misunderstood, I have no choice but to follow the idea.

    For example, at an evening choir practice many years ago, we would be rehearsing “Ode to Joy” again. There are a couple of minor things about the hymnal version of it that irritate me. I said “I wish there were a different tune we could sing this to…”, thinking it would be funny to choose a totally inappropriate tune. Ha ha ha. But then I started singing it to my selected, inappropriate tune. What a shock, I discovered that one verse of “Ode to Joy” fits the rhythm of the music perfectly, and fits into two verses of “Mack the Knife”. I couldn’t stop thinking about this. For years I wanted to sing in church, but it just didn’t seem to be right — is it humorous? derisive? A joke that nobody with else will get? I got my chance 2 years ago to sing it at a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and celebration at my church. For me, the difference is this — when it’s “just life”, I will forget it unless I write it down, but “serendipity” makes itself known because I can’t stop thinking about it. There just seems to be a cosmic rightness about the idea. Even if it has never been done before, or might seem peculiar or be misunderstood, I have no choice but to follow the idea.

    For example, at an evening choir practice many years ago, we would be rehearsing “Ode to Joy” again. There are a couple of minor things about the hymnal version of it that irritate me. I said “I wish there were a different tune we could sing this to…”, thinking it would be funny to choose a totally inappropriate tune. Ha ha ha. But then I started singing it to my selected, inappropriate tune. What a shock, I discovered that one verse of “Ode to Joy” fits the rhythm of the music perfectly, and fits into two verses of “Mack the Knife”. I couldn’t stop thinking about this. For years I wanted to sing in church, but it just didn’t seem to be right — is it humorous? derisive? A joke that nobody with else will get? I got my chance 2 years ago to sing it at a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and celebration at my church. This link is to a recording of the big debut of “Joyful, Joyful”. I was happy that people liked it. I hope you will too.

    Reply

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