Serendipity. I love that word. I remember asking my mom the meaning of it when I saw the neon-lit sign hanging in the window. Serendipity was the new ice cream parlor in town. “It means a happy accident,” Mom said. The definition on Wiktionary: “An unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected, but fortunate, discovery and/or learning experience that happens by accident.” Maybe a better definition would be: divine intervention. During these past few weeks, I’ve become acutely aware of all of the blessings (divine interventions or otherwise) that I’ve experienced each day. It is my belief that life is meant to be a school for each of us to learn all of the important lessons in life: love, forgiveness, honesty, patience, gratitude, faith…
While in Lexington yesterday for my doctor appointment, Liz and I went to Chevy Chase looking for a wig shop named Josephine’s. It turned out NOT to be a wig shop but a “POST MASTECTOMY” shop. One needs anti-depressants before walking through that door! A few doors down, we noticed a specialty store named Stuarto’s which sold flavored olive oils, vinegars, salts, and sugars. “Ooooh. Let’s check it out,” I said to Liz. We immediately grabbed some of the small sampler cups and tried unsuccessfully to dispense a few drops into the cups. The sample cups runneth over. Liz had about a half an ounce of truffle oil in her cup. The manager walked by and said, “You’ll never use all of that. You need to ask for assistance.” She then pointed to the signs that were posted all over the store- “PLEASE ASK FOR ASSISTANCE”. Liz, as if to say, “I’ll show her!”, downed that cup of truffle oil as if it were Patron tequila. I snickered, egging her on. The manager asked what flavors/combinations we’d like to try and stressed the importance of asking for assistance. It was for OUR protection, she said. Liz and I rolled our eyes. We decided on a few different oils and flavored salts and began the checkout process. “Could I please have your e-mail address? We have small cooking classes and would like to send you notifications.” I commented to Liz that maybe we could do that between chemo sessions. The manager then asked me if I had cancer. As always, I openly answered her questions. Like most women, she wanted to know what the tumor felt like, if I could detect it in a self breast exam, and if it hurt. She was also knowledgeable in some alternative cancer treatments like Burzynski’s Clinic in Houston, TX and the Gerson therapy in Mexico. We discussed this briefly and she seemed shocked that I’d chosen the orthodox method of treatment. I told her that I’ve learned that you never know what you’ll do until it happens to you…and I pray it never does. Her eyes welled up with tears and she gave me a big hug. Not a typical hug that lasts a few seconds. She hung on to me like I was suited up with armor to battle the enemy for a fight of a lifetime. This woman, who Liz and I had mistaken as a snob, was actually a loving, kind, gentle soul who was placed serendipitously into our day. A happy accident? A learning experience? I’d say most definitely.
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