I really didn't want to go to the party. It was my third this weekend, and I was tired. I've been tired. And though I love the good neighbor friends, and don't see enough of them, I really wanted to lay on the couch and nap in front of the late football game.
But we went, and there was a nice serendipity to it.
Side track - I love that word: serendipity. It's been a favorite forever. First because of the sound of it - the bop and the bounce. But then, more sweetly, for it's meaning. One account of the word's origin is that is refers to the accidental discovery of Sri Lanka by explorers who were searching for someplace else. Apparently, it was such a wonderful place to stumble upon that its ancient name Serendip has come to stand for the 'happy accident', for that experience of stumbling onto something beautiful and unexpected, particularly when you are seeking something entirely else.
So I guess you could say I went to the party expecting not to get engaged with anyone, but to merely make an appearance before slipping off for home. And instead I had two great interactions with great people.
First, I found myself chatting with Andrew, a high school teacher of philosophy and math. We had a great talk, exchanging notions and theories about education, the cultural influences that affect achievement, the distribution of opportunity, and our own efforts and ideas for fostering social justice. The exchange enlivened me, made me glad I'd left the house. And it planted thoughts in mind about the work I'm doing, some reflections on a workshop I'm about to start, with clients dealing with life changes. In particular, our talk underscored the point that when people are making important choices for their lives, they can only choose among options that are present to them. That's obvious on the surface, but so much overlooked in this world of gross inequities, where one of the largest gaps between haves and have-nots is the opportunity gap.
My other very special interaction was with Bronwen, who shared a very passionate artistic journey she's embarked on, during a needed break from her own teaching career. She's been taking small trips around the continent, to meet and study with creators of unusual mosaic art projects. Among other places, she was recently in Philadelphia, checking out the Magic Gardens:
http://geekadelphia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/MG01.jpg . And she's intending a trip to Los Angeles to check out the Watts Towers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_Towers . I've known Bronwen for awhile, and it was so great seeing her so passionate and enlivened by her exploration, so bold and free in crafting this journey. Have a look at these links - they are fascinating.
And keep your eyes and spirit open for the unexpected. The thing about serendipity is that it isn't available to those so deadset in their objective that they can't see anything else.