Serendipity. The event was over and now it was time to take down the banners. It was a beautiful Southern California day and as I gently rolled up the last vinyl banner I began to think about how close I was to the ocean. I haven’t been to the harbor in so long, I thought, and I brought my Bible. Why not? Why not take a little quiet time at the harbor?
I cruised up one hill and down another and merged onto Harbor Drive. It was at that corner, the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Harbor Drive, that I first saw the signs – Festival of the Whales. The Festival of the Whales is an annual event in Dana Point and draws people from all over. And this was the last day – it didn’t take long to realize that it would be extremely crowded at the harbor. Remember the Turkey Trot? I reminded myself. Oh yes, another time I decided to make an impromptu visit to the harbor and ended up taking half an hour to travel half a mile only to end up right where I started. I decided I would make the loop around Harbor Drive, and if by some miracle I found a parking spot, I would stay.
It wasn’t looking good. Cars lined the road, filling every legal place to park. Some of the parking lots were cordoned off and occupied by colorful booths filled with all kinds of things to eat and buy. My hope of finding a spot was dwindling until I slowly drove past the parking lot adjacent to Baby Beach. Could that be an empty spot? I quickly turned in and to my utter amazement, I found a place to park.
Baby Beach is so named because it is a quiet part of the harbor, shallow and marked off by buoys, a perfect place for little ones to play. The water gently laps on a soft, sandy beach. On this particular day, though, adults outnumbered children and a floating dock had been assembled in the harbor. From the dock I heard the sounds of a band warming up, the mic checks, the drums and I realized that they were preparing for a concert. I sat down on an empty bench in direct view of the band platform and opened my Bible. I began to read, but couldn’t help but stop to thank God for this wonderful opportunity. To thank Him for a beautiful day filled with sunshine and ocean air. Soon the band began to play and music filled the harbor and more people filled the empty spaces so that the sand now looked like a patchwork quilt of blankets. Women danced on the shore. In spirit, I was dancing with them. In reality, I only let loose from the waist up – my lower half stayed planted on the bench. I didn’t want to embarrass my children, after all. It was a glorious way to spend an hour and it was so completely unexpected.
Serendipity – the accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful. Was it really serendipitous, or was it a gift from God? The divine nudge to go to the harbor, an open parking spot, an empty bench in direct view of the band – I wondered. But I didn’t wonder long. The answer sang in my heart and a smile filled my face as I thanked God for being so wonderful.