I don’t know about you, but as I take stock of my life and the things I have being through, I wish things should have been rosy and cozy. “Why can’t lady luck smile at me,” I wondered. “Why can’t the fairies of Serendip show up with their encouraging words and magic wand to end all my problems?”
Yes, life is full of paradox. At a distance, it is not a bed of roses. However, on close observation, life is like a rose–rich in color contrast, harmony, beauty, ironies, twists and turns. (See my article, the Roses Will Bloom Again).
Because suffering introduces a man to himself and creates a philosopher out of the human spirit, I can’t help but think about two words: Luck and Serendipity. These words appear like recurring sign posts in our life’s journey. They are different words and yet related in concert and concept.
What is Luck and who in the world is Lady Luck?
I will give you a definition and a description. The Dictionary defines Luck as the fortuitous happening of fortunate or adverse events; fortunate. In short, luck is when good and unexpected thing happen to you like winning a lottery. This is the fuel behind the popularity of state lotteries and get-rich-quick schemes all over the internet and beyond. Yes, human nature is reward-oriented and risk-evasive. At the same time, you probably hear people talking about Lady Luck. Well, according to legend and myths, Luck is the ancient Egyptian god of good fortune. She is probably a goddess and that may be why people call her Lady Luck.
I guess the begging question is: “Do you believe in luck or destiny?” Well, I believe in God and not Luck. However, luck plays a role in the affairs of men. And that my destiny is shaped by my decisions based on my mental programming.
On the other hand, Serendipity is a faculty while Serendip (the root word) is a place. Serendipity is defined as the faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident. Like the cave man throwing stones together and discovering the spark of fire. Serendip is best illustrated with the folklore of the fairies of a town called Serendip.
Before the middle ages when serfs ruled Europe, there was a farmer who lived in a ranch with his family. One day, his son was riding one of the farmer’s horses and fell off the horse and broke his leg. The horse ran away.
The farmer was angry and devastated for the son’s injury and the loss of his horse. While brooding over his agony, the three Fairies of Serendip appeared and told the farmer that something good will come out of his misfortune. The farmer could not believe it and dismissed the talk as one of those fairy tales.
A couple of days after this incident, war broke out between Serendip and the neighboring town. The military decided to go around and recruit able-bodied young men to fight in the army. When the recruiters came to the farmer’s house, they saw his son nursing leg injuries. They also sought for war horses and discovered that the farmer’s horse was missing. They left without taking anything from the farmer. Of course they went elsewhere to continue their assignment.
Sooner than later, the war ended, the farmer’s son recovered and the missing horse was found. The words of the fairies came to pass as they predicted. Good came out from the bad luck. The farmer’s son could have died fighting in the army and the farmer could have lost his horse forever. Now, he has both of them intact.
What did you glean and learn from this story? Do you believe that every cloud has a silver lining?
Although luck was described as the god of good fortune, serendipity was also described as the goddess of fate. Do you see the similarity? Or, could you spot differences?
Your answers may be like Ontario: “yours to discover.”