Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seeking Serendipity

Today a good friend sent me this article: Why Serendipity is Better Than Control.  It's really fantastic.  First of all, I love Linda and Richard Eyre.  I have loved everything they've written that I've read.  They are LDS and New York Times #1 Best-Sellers ~ so though they hold true to the values that I grew up on as a member of the church and want to instill in my own children, but these clearly are not values exclusive to Mormon households.  The teach true principles of parenting.  

I found this article to be wonderful for 2 reasons.  

1. They taught a true principle.
2. It resonated with me.

Isn't that great?  They talk about how we naturally want to be able to control our lives, but that what we should really seek is the true definition of serendipity -- not the "dumb luck" definition that seems to be replacing it.  I know this.  And, I'm grateful for my faith that has really helped me the past couple months.  Really, it has been the scriptures, prayer, and a lot of other things that has helped me feel peace, and even excitement, during a difficult time.  HOWEVER.  I needed this reminder.  And after reading this article, I feel re-energized.

Again.  I'm grateful for friends who pay attention and act on the promptings that they feel.  Thank you Lisa.

Here's my favorite part of the article:

This marvelous word has been oversimplified and even corrupted quite a bit lately in popular culture, becoming the name of ice cream stores, boutiques, clothing lines and even the title of a major movie. Serendipity is often defined as "dumb luck" or having something good happen to you by chance

Its true definition, though, is much more interesting and quite extraordinary. The word was coined by a 19th-century English author named Horace Walpole, who loved an ancient Persian fable called "The Three Princes of Serendip" (Serendip being the early name of the beautiful, teardrop-shape island off the southern tip of India that the British called Ceylon and that we, today, call Sri Lanka).

In the fable, the three princes each go out in search of their fortune. None of them finds a fortune, but all of them, through their acute awareness and perception, find things that are better than a fortune — love, truth and opportunities to serve. They are able to make these discoveries because they notice things that other people miss, and thus find unexpected joys and opportunities.

Walpole, reading the fable, said to himself, "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." So he made up the word serendipity and defined it as follows:

"A state of mind whereby a person, through awareness, sensitivity and sagacity, frequently finds something better than that which he is seeking."

The fact is that we control so very little, and that God controls all. His gifts are all around us, along with his opportunities and incredible beauties, and we just need the awareness and spiritual sensitivity to see them. We can cultivate this awareness, and we can ask him for it. As we do, we use our agency to take the spiritual initiative that allows God to bless us and inspire us and guide us. Guidance is infinitely more valuable and more worthy of our pursuit and quest than is control. And serendipity is the mind-set or paradigm that can get us to guidance.

Control can seem motivating because it appeals to our lust for power and dominion. But it is a dangerous kind of motivation because it is unbridled by humility and can lead to the worst kind of pride.

With a serendipity paradigm, we are motivated by our desire to discover and deliver God's will into our lives. We begin to see life as a great adventure where our challenge is not to control but to perceive and to understand. We become as interested in learning to "watch and pray" as we are in learning to "work and plan," and the two sets of skills complement and enhance each other.

I feel like throughout this process, I have tried to put it all in the Lord's hands.  I've tried to let go of that control.  And it has helped me throughout the 2 years of waiting for this next adoption to happen.  Evenstill, I feel sadness when things don't go how I'd like.  Already, this morning I woke up feeling better knowing that He is in control and that the right baby goes to the right home.  But again, this article gave me a different focus.  And I so much look forward to that something...and in our case, someone...better than that which we are seeking. 

I know it'll happen.

1 comment:

Nathan Nelson said...

Oh Jenny. Adoption is hard. I haven't even adopted and I know it. I just wish things worked out the way we wanted - but at the same time, I'd rather have what the Lord wants...It's hard to wait, though, and put your heart out there. Love you.


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