Sedona: A Serendipitous Journey

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? 

Comments 4

 
Ken Hartke on Friday, 16 March 2018 19:43

Very nice -- there is something about unfettered rambling that appeals to our native past. We were all once nomads. The soul of the desert southwest is more apparent than in other places I've been, maybe because it is relatively empty and you can see the bone and muscle of the landscape much easier. I've not been to Sedona but I hope to visit in the next year. Thanks for reminding me.

Very nice -- there is something about unfettered rambling that appeals to our native past. We were all once nomads. The soul of the desert southwest is more apparent than in other places I've been, maybe because it is relatively empty and you can see the bone and muscle of the landscape much easier. I've not been to Sedona but I hope to visit in the next year. Thanks for reminding me.
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:23

Certainly, I've experienced some serendipitous revelations, often when dog-walking in the country and there's an opportunity for discovery and time to put life in perspective. But a couple of years before my husband died in 2003, he became extremely fatigued and had a degree of back pain. It was eventually diagnosed as polymyalgia and steroids were prescribed which seemed to help. In 2002, we went on a pilgrimage to Padua (his middle name was Anthony). That pilgrimage, more than others, deepened my understanding of dependency on God and how this world is a mere shadow, a place of ciphers. It also brought home to me even tangible possibilities of Grace, which confirmed my belief in the Virgin birth. Human knowledge of physics is minimal, but Love can change how we experience the course of events, and can even transform them into something else. I can't well explain this, except to say that happenings that were almost subliminal became connected into big picture and there was a vibrant kind of peace. It set me up for what was in store.

During our stay, I noted that my husband was losing weight (which he denied) and I became alarmed. As soon as we got home, he fell seriously ill, rapidly becoming disabled from a tumour on the spine. There was no recommendation for surgery. He was handed over to palliative care, hospitalised for a couple of weeks, and returned home. They had told him he had only a week or two. As it happened, the time left to us was gruelling, but strangely blessed, and consumed in the practical matters of every day. Whatever there was to celebrate was in moments, not hours. Somehow I was filled with a Hope beyond ordinary hope. I felt we were cradled and supported by what can only be described as a third presence in the house. My husband lived for seven more months. There's no telling where the strength came from during that time, especially after a long series of previous crises.

As you say, God is a Rock, and that's an all-embracing metaphor for every aspect of life, come what may. My 'go to' is "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20

This link about the Padua pilgrimage might give a little insight:

https://gr8word.com/index.php/entry/venice-terminal

Certainly, I've experienced some serendipitous revelations, often when dog-walking in the country and there's an opportunity for discovery and time to put life in perspective. But a couple of years before my husband died in 2003, he became extremely fatigued and had a degree of back pain. It was eventually diagnosed as polymyalgia and steroids were prescribed which seemed to help. In 2002, we went on a pilgrimage to Padua (his middle name was Anthony). That pilgrimage, more than others, deepened my understanding of dependency on God and how this world is a mere shadow, a place of ciphers. It also brought home to me even tangible possibilities of Grace, which confirmed my belief in the Virgin birth. Human knowledge of physics is minimal, but Love can change how we experience the course of events, and can even transform them into something else. I can't well explain this, except to say that happenings that were almost subliminal became connected into big picture and there was a vibrant kind of peace. It set me up for what was in store. During our stay, I noted that my husband was losing weight (which he denied) and I became alarmed. As soon as we got home, he fell seriously ill, rapidly becoming disabled from a tumour on the spine. There was no recommendation for surgery. He was handed over to palliative care, hospitalised for a couple of weeks, and returned home. They had told him he had only a week or two. As it happened, the time left to us was gruelling, but strangely blessed, and consumed in the practical matters of every day. Whatever there was to celebrate was in moments, not hours. Somehow I was filled with a Hope beyond ordinary hope. I felt we were cradled and supported by what can only be described as a third presence in the house. My husband lived for seven more months. There's no telling where the strength came from during that time, especially after a long series of previous crises. As you say, God is a Rock, and that's an all-embracing metaphor for every aspect of life, come what may. My 'go to' is [i]"I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."[/i] Matthew 28:20 This link about the Padua pilgrimage might give a little insight: https://gr8word.com/index.php/entry/venice-terminal
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:29

Ken, we shall look forward very much to hearing about your travels! :-)

Ken, we shall look forward very much to hearing about your travels! :-)
Stephen Evans on Sunday, 18 March 2018 13:40

Your quote of "I waited for the Lord" struck a chord with me, but I couldn't think why until I remembered - I have sung the Mendelssohn duet. A good memory for me. Any journey that leaves us more aware is precious, isn't it? through a place or a book or a memory.

Your quote of "I waited for the Lord" struck a chord with me, but I couldn't think why until I remembered - I have sung the Mendelssohn duet. A good memory for me. Any journey that leaves us more aware is precious, isn't it? through a place or a book or a memory.
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