I love the word serendipity. I think it’s one of my favorite words. I love its meaning, but even more so, I love the way the word sounds; the way its syncopated rhythm almost gives it away. Serendipity. A happy accident.
I’m a fan of the movie, “Serendipity,” and if you’ve never watched it, you should. My (oldest) twenty-something year old son likes this movie. I don’t want to ruin his “street cred,” or coolness factor, but he is a romantic, and let me tell you, ladies, he is a sweetheart. A couple of years ago, we went on a trip to New York City together, and a stop at Serendipity (the restaurant) was on the itinerary. To be clear, he’s as much a fan of ice cream as he is the movie, but it was super sweet and a whole lot endearing that this setting from the film was on his must-see list.
In my lifetime, I’ve been witness to serendipitous occurrences, and I’m a big believer in happy accidents, although, when you get down to it, I’m not sure anything happens accidentally. I think at times, we make choices that change the outcomes of situations, but when the stars align, and fate steps in, sometimes it’s just camouflaged as a coincidence, and we may not realize the full extent of things until a later time.
A couple of weekends ago, my youngest son got married. The wedding itself was just charming. Outside a barn, under the pecan trees and the setting Texas sun. Sweet music, and even sweeter friends surrounded the happy couple, and love and joy filled the air. The entire celebration was a reflection of Charles and Kaitlyn. It was exactly who they are. Simple, elegant, and personal. I think that’s what made it so special. And so real.
It wasn’t just about them, it was about everyone in attendance, and at some point during the night, each person was connected to the occasion through music, food, friends, or words.
Life, afterall, is about relationships. Plain and simple. At the most basic level, relationships with others is what makes someone successful both personally and professionally. People never forget how you make them feel.
When I think back on the wedding weekend, I’ll remember the beautiful flowers, the decadent cake, the speeches, and toasts, the music, dancing and laughter, but mostly, I’ll remember the connections that were made that night, with old friends reuniting, new friendships being forged, and family coming together to support and encourage each other. I’ll remember Kaitlyn’s family and our family becoming one, and the love that abounds between us.
I’ll remember reading a facebook post the day after the wedding from a young lady who randomly sat by a couple I’ve known for many years. She wrote about the experience, and the life-long friendship that was made that night, when she and Bob agreed, without a doubt, that “Dancing Queen” by Abba is the best song ever, and how spot-on Fran was when she said that there’s nothing better than fresh berries with a little milk poured on them. When they parted, this young lady invited her new friends to her future wedding.
I’ll remember all my cousins from the Brown side of my family joined in this celebration, traveling from as near as Dallas, to as faraway as New York City. I’ll remember my dad’s brother, my uncle Donnie, making the effort to be there, even though he has health issues. His caregiver, Cherie, also came along, and we consider her family, too.
I’ll remember my college roommate, Jeannie, who grew up in Silsbee, and her date, Joe Bill, randomly sitting at a table with some people from Lumberton, which is just a town over from her hometown. And speaking of Joe Bill from Amarillo, I’ll never forget how he gushed about my accent! Ha! He said I sounded like his friend from Noonan, Georgia. He kept asking me to say “y’all,” and rather than making me feel like I just fell off the turnip truck, he made me feel charming. And just today, when I took a break from writing, I found a sweet and thoughtful thank you note in my mailbox from this southern gentleman and my new best friend. In a matter of minutes, I knew that we would keep in touch, as we not only had Jeannie in common, but also my cousins, DeeDee and Noelle, and their parents, who live in Canyon, just outside Amarillo.
I’ll remember children dancing, and singing, and laughing. I’ll remember a sweet young lady who said that she wanted to go to another wedding soon, so she could wear another fancy dress.
I’ll remember my son and daughter-in-law going from table to table, greeting the guests and thanking them for sharing this special time.
I’ll remember dancing with my son, and laughing with my girlfriends about my dress and the unfortunate dilemma involved in wearing a Spanx body-suit (a story for another time).
I’ll remember gathering in a circle, with arms around each other, singing the “Aggie War Hymn,” and sawing Varsity’s horns off.
I’ll remember sparklers lighting up the summer sky, and a couple sitting in a gray Nissan Titan, driving off into the future with the love, support and well-wishes from family and friends for a lifetime of happiness.
Although there were many serendipitous encounters, I know that this night wasn’t a happy accident. It had been ordained and destined since the beginning of time. God knew this day would happen. “For I know the plans I have for you,” He said. And where two are more are gathered in His name, there is love. You can’t beat that plan, especially when it includes two-stepping to “Amarillo By Morning.” The only thing that might possibly be better than dancing to George Strait at a wedding was the feeling of elation I experienced as I savored the taste of the buttercream frosting that I scraped off a piece of wedding cake. Happy yes, but definitely not an accident.