It has been a year full of wonderful travel opportunities for me, whether they be for ‘work’ or ‘leisure’. My most recent trip was to the country of Brazil, and to what seems to be a country within a country – the southern state of Rio Grande de Sul. The primary purpose of this trip was to attend a family wedding, and it was a beautiful affair indeed. I had no idea what to expect, for I had never been to a “farm” wedding before, so I simply went with an open heart and mind – going with the flow. And I am so glad that I did go, for some of the lessons that I learnt after the wedding was done, will stay with me for a long time.
The simple, matter-of-fact, understated elegance of this family wedding in a rural area was very (refreshingly) different from the loud, over-the-top affairs that I have been witness to many a times in the USA and in India. Like every day of the year, the cows on the farm were milked by 5:30pm, and then, the father of the groom “cleaned up” (really well!) and drove us to the church so he could bless his son for his new journey in life. If he was nervous about the fact that his son was getting married, he barely showed it. He seemed to go about his business with nary a furrow in his brow, as if he had nothing to be concerned about. Everything was going to be okay – that seemed to be the message of his countenance, his attitude.
I decided to watch this man – my wife’s Dad’s brother – for the rest of the evening, and, for that matter, for the rest of my stay on his farm. I consider the lessons that I learnt from observing him, a beautiful serendipity of this trip. I went to participate in a wedding – I ended up learning so many practical life lessons from him. Sixteen hour work days, 365 days a year, with nary a complaint – getting up before dawn, milking cows, working the farm, milking cows again – the man never seems to stop. Some of you may remember that “Farmer” commercial during Superbowl 2013 – it was probably based on Ricardo’s life of hard work, simplicity, humility, self-sacrifice, respect for life, and devotion to his family and community – “somebody who would bale a family together with the soft, strong string of sharing…”
So, what does all this have to do with #SpiritChat and serendipity anyway? Well, let me try and tie it together. One definition of Serendipity is “a fortunate occurrence that happens to us when we are not expecting it”. We go in search for something, but end up finding something totally different in return – and that something different is our “reward” for having taken the journey in the first place. While it is good to live our lives with our beliefs, our values, our thought processes and our well-constructed plans, perhaps, we ought to leave room for serendipity – for it is in those moments that we have the potential to leap forward in our spiritual growth. How would you define ‘spiritual’ serendipity? Have you experienced it recently?
I hope that I have given you a little bit of insight into this week’s #SpiritChat topic of Serendipity. The word may be “one of the ten toughest words to translate” in the English language, but never mind. We were never afraid of tough challenges, were we?! So, I invite you to join us in #SpiritChat at our regular hour of 9amET on Sunday, October 27th. You may come primarily for a twitter chat, but who knows what you may leave with? 🙂
P.S. And yes, his son – the one who got married – was milking cows and working on the farm the very next day after his wedding… walking his father’s footsteps!