Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

One Decision Changes Everything - Is It Serendipity?

"Wings and Clouds" ©Mary Montague Sikes
As I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, amazed as almost certain victory shifted to defeat in the blink of an eye, I thought about how one simple event can loom gigantic in the course of a lifetime. At the time, it might not appear so life-changing as it later turns out to be. I'm not talking about tragedies, but just something as mundane as turning down a job offer and accepting something else instead.

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?


4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The decision to write my first book certainly sent me on an unplanned path.
So did finally learning to play guitar.
Accepting Jesus probably altered my life the most though.
Wow, never thought I had any life-altering moments. Oh, and meeting my wife. That's four.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Wonderful examples, Alex, of life-altering events. Thank for sharing!

Julie Flanders said...

I can totally relate to this. A few years ago the environment at my job changed and I found myself very unhappy. I started volunteering as a writer to try and get some fulfillment and purpose back. If that change hadn't happened in my job who knows I don't know if I would have taken that volunteer assignment that totally changed my life. It's amazing to me that a really bad thing ultimately led to something so good. It's interesting to ponder these turning points in life and wonder what if. Great post, Mary. :)

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing your experience! I'm happy the bad turned to good. Things happen for a reason!