Do you believe in serendipity?
Serendipity – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016)
As I listen to the stories people share with me and experience more of life myself, serendipity stands out ever more clarity. There are other words for it, Carl Jung used the term ‘synchronicity’, which David McNally liked as well. Regardless of the how you want to label it, one may wonder why events happening by chance would have positive consequences or benefit someone’s life. I don’t know why this happens. We don’t need to know the why to know something exists. I’ve taken note of some of the most impactful, improbable, coincidences and events I’ve experienced or heard about in the past year. They blow my mind while also providing me with a stronger belief in serendipity.
-While Branch Rickey was coaching at the University of Michigan, he witnessed a visceral display of emotion by the squad’s African American catcher, after the player was told he was not able to stay at the same hotel as the rest of the team. Rickey finagled his way into letting the player stay in his room, but when he got up there the guy was crying profusely, trying to rub off the skin of his hands. The player knew he wasn’t being accepted solely because of the color of his skin. Something given to us at birth. This memory was seared into Rickey’s mind and he brought it up to Red Barber when he hashed out his plan to break baseball’s color barrier.
-My mother went to DC at the age of 22 (back in the mid 1980s) with just $1200 and some optimism. I’d say things turned out pretty good 🙂
-Another story told in the book entitled, ‘The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told‘, featured a Micky Mantle autograph. A recent high school grad sent his year book to Mantle to get it autographed. When the book came back he could not find Mantle’s autograph. The man joined the Marines and was sent to Vietnam. An injury left him hospitalized and his family sent him the year book to remind him of home. As he flipped through the pages of the book, in desperate need of a pick me up, he noticed two pages stuck together. The Mick’s autograph had been there the entire time. He was overjoyed.
-During a night out (January 31st) at a bar, when my buddies and I finally sat down next to another group of people, we sat next to a guy who works with me, on my application, who’s birthday was 5 days from mine, and studied abroad in Granada. What are the odds? There must have been at least 100 people in that bar and to sit down next to the one person with all the commonalities was ridiculous.
-The first time I saw my buddy Sam in his uniform was at a Badgers football game. I arrived right at game time and was excited to see him on duty during the game. I thought I’d have to roam the entire stadium looking for him. When I got my ticket punched and walked into the stadium, he almost bowled me over. I was taking in the stadium, kind of oblivious to all the people around me, when I heard someone shout “Lucas! Watch out!”. Who could be shouting my name? Sam was right there dragging a belligerent fan to the detox center. What are the odds that at the precise moment I walk into the stadium, Sam crosses my path . It was the perfect moment to see him in action for the very first time.
-The stories I hear about how couples meet always seem to defy the odds. My grandparents are no exception. My grandfather was traveling over to Europe to see his family in Sweden. On the way he made a pit stop in Great Britain, where he took a bus tour to see the countryside. On the bus tour he met my grandmother. He was only in Great Britain for a few days and my grandmother wasn’t there for long either, taking a vacation to Europe to celebrate her graduation from college. They just happened to be on the same bus tour. And the rest is history.
There are way too many examples of this to think that life is just a random meaningless existence. Things happen and there is a plan that goes way beyond mine. I have to step back just to see the design.
I left the grocery store a week back and realized I forgot to grab mint for mojito. That’s annoying, wasting 5 minutes to head back into the store and grab the missing item from my list. I left the 2nd time and got all the way home. As I got through putting away all the groceries, I realized I was missing quite a few items I had bought (fish oil omega 3s, probiotic, emergenC, tomatoes, prosciuotto, deli turkey, grape fruit, apples, and carrots. talk about a healthy combo to miss out on!). I was not a happy camper. After putting away all the groceries that managed to make it back to my place, I head back out to the store, thinking that there was just an extra bag left at the check-out line I went through. Unfortunately, the missing bag was not at the check-out line and the grocer looked at me like I was crazy, but she kindly got me over to the customer service desk anyway. The customer service lady did not look at me like I was crazy because just minutes before she had gotten a call from some man who told her he had some groceries that he didn’t buy. They were mine! He had given the lady a list of the items and it matched what I had left. I went ahead and picked out the items a second time and everything was good. I was a bit frustrated this entire time. I wanted to get on with my afternoon without having to spend another 30 minutes going to and from the grocery store. As I left with the missing items, I saw a disabled girl in a wheel chair eating at the grocery store’s cafe. I immediately felt grateful for all my faculties and my frustration evaporated. Little moments like these coming when there are “problematic” events going on make me believe in serendipity.
I know that there’s a plan that goes way beyond mine
Got to step back just to see the design
The mind fears the heart but the heart doesn’t mind
No I may not be perfect, but I’m loving this life
No I may not be perfect, but I’m loving this life
(Trouble – Avicii)
A few weeks ago I had my first baseball practice since the injury. It was short, still felt like winter, dark out, but awesome. Yesterday, I had my 2nd baseball practice and it was exactly the kind of practice you want. Perfection. 75 degrees outside, sunny, mid-April day, exactly how baseball should be played. A little warm-up, infield outfield, a flat-ground, and some batting practice. Over the past month my throwing mechanics have felt slightly better each time I’ve thrown, slowly finding the motion from before my injury. My flat-ground during the practice was another major step in the right direction. Ripped off a couple nice change-ups, spotted the fastball inside and out a bit, and felt smooth/fluid with my throwing motion overall. There have been many moments over the past year where it has been hard to accept that everything will be good. That I will achieve my dream. However, with a belief in serendipity, comes a peaceful feeling of trust. Trust the process. Because the result will be for the best.