It is so easy to diminish a blessing by hoping too hard that it will happen again. Instead, we should respect and appreciate fully how lucky we were to have experienced that blessed event. To expect it to happen again is to diminish the specialness of the first experience. It can also decrease the potential for ongoing joy that remembering the unique encounter can give us, and replace this joy with disappointment.
This can happen in something we consider to be terribly important, such as romantic love. More often, however, it is with everyday things. What made me think of this is our recent, successful birding excursions in the forested area behind our house. Last year we were amazed to have an unusual bird at our feeder. The indigo bunting stayed at our sunflower seed feeder for a few hours one day in May. We have been watching for it to come again and hoping to see it. It has made us a little disappointed not to have seen it yet. That is the downside effect of a serendipitous event. Fairly minor in itself, but having the potential to diminish our joy.
To get really mundane with this idea, think of the first golf game you play after having an especially good one. You are joyful and pleased with your auccess, and can be tempted to think that you have figured out your swing. You expect your next game to be as good. Now, that is really setting yourself up for a fall!
What experiences have you had that stem from the under-appreciation of a rare blessing?
2 thoughts on “Respecting Serendipity”
Bob, Thank you for the reminder that, as the Cherry Blossoms should remind us, that all life is fleeting and that we should place ourselves fully in the moment and appreciate what we see/feel/are experiencing, rather than waiting for a repeat of that event.
I was taught that too long ago to remember and have recently been reminded several times of the concept. Here in NYC, Sakura Matsuri is coming at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens during the last week in April. I will try to visit either before or after the actual event – which is beautiful, but overwhelming in the number of attendees. And (I can hope, selfishly) sometimes the prognosticators get it wrong and the peak of the blossoms is actually different from the timing of the festival. Then you can truly experience the magic of Cherry Blossom time in New York.
Thank you again for the reminder to ‘be here now, now be here’. And thanks for liking my post, too.
I was moved by your post, Chris, and your singular, fluid writing style sparkles and grips one’s attention. Your comment here was generous and thoughtfully thought-provoking, enriching my understanding of what I had written and forgotten about. Look forward to reading more of your blog.