Delighted child

Serendipity (ser-uh n-dip’-i-tee)

Noun *an aptitude for making delightful discoveries by accident.

The word Serendipity trips and tickles off the tongue, conjuring up images of butterflies and other delightful discoveries that present themselves to me without my having to hunt for them. These discoveries produce joyful moments, when a laugh bubbles up in my throat and bursts out spontaneously, and I find myself yearning for more of these delightful moments.

It was back in 1754 that Horace Walpole first used the word Serendipity, referencing the fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip*. In the words of Walpole, “as their highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”

Through the years, the meaning of the word evolved. The word sagacity, meaning mental discernment, became less important, and the discoveries became fortunate, happy, or desirable. I like to use the word delightful, which implies elements of joy and surprise.

I find that these fortunate incidents can go unnoticed if I am not open to experiencing them, day by day, moment by moment. How often do we become so focused on the result that we miss the journey? Let’s change that! Like the royal travelers from Serendip, let’s look for those delightful discoveries as we travel, and when they come to us by accident, let’s notice them on purpose!

*Serendip was the name by which the ancient Persians and Arabs referred to Sri Lanka, an island off the southern coast of India.

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