Penny Cliff Guest Columnist
November 23, 2013
Many of us have experienced those “serendipity” moments in our life. You know, where things seem to unexpectedly, happily, fit together. Or moments of synchronicity, where there is a meaningful coincidence in two or more events. These moments happen all of the time where I work at the Thomaston-Upson Archives.
For instance, there was the time when Upson Historical Society Cemetery Chair Grady Kelley sat in my office sharing that he was concerned about the 19th century solitary grave of a little girl. He hoped that one day someone would come to find her. Skip forward a few days. A lady from California is visiting the archives and chatting to another visitor at one table. Grady is sitting, working at another. This lady “happens” to be talking about a grave she had been searching for, for years, and had no idea where it was. Yes, you’ve already guessed; it is the same little girl. Grady asked a few questions, and the connection was made. And, the lost little girl was found. What are the odds that a few days after a conversation about a child’s grave, a lady travels from California and happens to be in the archives on the same day and the same time that Grady is there with the connection she had so long looked for? Astronomical!
It happens all the time. It happens so much, that we tell new volunteers and employees that this is “normal.” Expect it. Sometimes, it is something big, sometimes something small. Recently, an individual was researching a particular person and someone went over to help. I heard the helper say that she needed to talk to a certain local lady who knew the information that the researcher needed. Just as soon as the words were out of her mouth, the telephone rang. I picked it up, and then I walked over to the group, handed over the phone, and smiled saying that this lady was on the phone. (No one had called her.) Serendipity strikes once again at the Thomaston-Upson Archives. Serendipity and synchronicity are constants for all of us who work and volunteer there.
But then, it is the same in life in general. I may call the happy occurrences, “serendipity,” “synchronicity,” or because of my belief in God’s hand in our lives, “Godincidences.” After sharing about some of these experiences, I was told that “They probably happen all the time; we just have to be open to see them.” That observation has stuck with me. I find myself being more observant, and actually expecting these connections in life.
This past weekend, my husband and I had one of our own: A small connection, but a special one. Our daughter was spending the night at a friend’s house, and for us that meant a date! We like to try new and different things, including trying new restaurants. And, we both like seafood. Whenever I want to try something different, I read the reviews. Tripadvisor is a review site that has worked for us. There were exceptional reviews of Montego Bay Seafood House in Griffin. The photographs online of the interior were of a lovely decorated room with fish netting, boats and fish adorning the walls. This was the place for us. I typed in the address to MapQuest and what do I notice? It used to be Manhattans. This is the restaurant where my husband pulled off a huge ruse about going to a Lions Club meeting (he even had his Lions Club suitcase), when he had planned to ask me to marry him. All the restaurant employees were in on it.
Thirteen years later, we were taken to our table; same restaurant, different name. Out of so many tables, we were led to the very same table where Bill had asked me to marry him (after getting down on one knee). This was our little piece of serendipity. The service was wonderful and I ate the absolute best shrimp (coconut coated) that I have ever tasted. What a wonderful experience. Although we were stuffed with seafood (Bill also enjoyed rib eye), we had to make room for dessert. Pleasantly, we found out that dessert was on the house. Our waitress had told the manager our story and we got complimentary dessert, just like we did 13 years earlier!
“Our” table is number 3. Perhaps some might say it was coincidence that we happened to end up at “our” table. But, I choose to think that life is much more interesting and fun in believing that we all get our unexpectedly, meaningful, happily-fit-together life surprises from time to time. And, in a world full of troubles, knowing that these events may be just around the corner, are the serendipity surprises that, if we are open to, may show up in the most unexpected ways.