|"Wings and Clouds" ©Mary Montague Sikes|
I remember a time years ago when I taught third grade in the place of a public school teacher who was on a leave of absence for a year. Since the teacher was returning the next year, the superintendent offered me a position as the high school French teacher. I wonder what would have happened had I accepted that job. Instead, I took a job offer at a private school that was just getting started. The job was available on the condition that I add art to my professional teaching license. That meant I had to earn 12 hours in art classes during summer school to go along with the art credits I already had. It also meant the college had to agree for me to take more hours than they normally permitted in the summer sessions.
That decision sent me on an unplanned path. (Ironically, I also taught French in both the high school and elementary school along with art that first year.) Spending my summer in the art department at the College of William and Mary was life-changing. Later, the school where I taught even allowed me to leave early several days a week so that I could continue taking studio art in both sculpture and painting. I loved every moment of that special opportunity.
Now I look back at that decision as a turning point. It was certainly life-changing. Suppose the teacher on leave had decided not to return. Would my life still have shifted in the direction of art? Probably not.
Can you see an event or decision as a major turning point in your life? Is that serendipity--"phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought"? Or is it something else?