Taking yearly pilgrimages started after my serendipitous journey to Sedona. What made that such a pivotal point, was the juxtaposition of entrapment with freedom. During the preceding eight months of cancer treatment, I’d been closely monitored; by the clinical trials research company I worked for to see if I was able to do my job; by my family and friends to see how I was physically and emotionally holding up. While my employer was difficult and my family and friends well-meaning, both made me want to escape to a place where I was free to move about, unnoticed.
Between two business meetings out West, I took my trip to Sedona, Arizona. If it had been up to me, I would have returned to North Carolina between those meetings, to see my husband and teenage sons so I wouldn't be away for so long. But the company business manager suggested I stay in the area and travel. After considering her idea, I thought she was right. My mother had visited a friend in Sedona and said it was one of the prettiest places she'd ever seen. Since it was within two hours of my first meeting, the business manager and I agreed that it would work.
Unlike all the negative things that happened during my employment there, the support for me traveling to Sedona was serendipitous. It was something good, beneficial that happened by accident at a time where I was seeing no other ‘happy accidents.’
Because it was not something I’d planned at length, like other things in my life, I was in a state of receptivity to what that new experience would offer. I didn’t have a list of ‘must see’ places or companion travelers to work out the details of where to eat, or “What’s next?” It was just me moving as I felt led, following that still small voice of God within me instead of a schedule.
How freeing for a mother of teenagers, used to balancing work and family. What a wonderful change from going to the countless appointments of those intensive months of cancer treatment.
Instead, I drove around the red-rock-splendor and absorbed the beauty of each moment. How nice it was to take a quiet hike at Oak Creek on a weekday, sitting in the grounding presence of the shadow of those rock formations.
I lit a candle in The Chapel of the Holy Cross and thanked God for my life and for the unexpected time in Sedona. It wasn’t something that I’d asked for; It wasn’t something that I knew I needed. My heart was full of gratitude for the abundance God had provided.
Throughout my toxic job and cancer ordeal, my go-to scripture was Psalm 40: 1-2 (NIV): "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Remembering that day when I drove into Sedona, I had a feeling that I had come home, like God my Rock was leaping off the page. Of all the places I could go for that serendipitous trip, my 'happy accident' led me to a place of rocks-- and later I would learn, of energy and healing.
Sedona opened my eyes to other ‘happy accidents.' I see how good things have shown up in my path-- things I haven't asked for, things I didn't know I needed. Now, when I see images of that special place, it reminds me that God my Rock is still leaping off the page.
How About You?
How have you experienced serendipitous events in your life?
What impact have they had on your journey?