It is a chance or accidental event which turns out to be a momentous, joyful one; and while its occurrence may have been unexpected, it is not unwelcome after the event takes place or reveals itself, precisely because of the joy it brings. Thus does a serendipitous event surprise us; for, one’s daily experience is that the opposite is true: chance occurrences, accidental events and unexpected moments normally result in negative consequences we want to avoid.
A sudden windfall; an unexpected visit from an old and dear friend; a surprise party held by everyone you actually like; these are all serendipitous events; but of their opposite, we come to expect: bad news about our kids; friends who disappoint; a career that doesn’t turn out to be what it promised; a life that didn’t fulfill the potentiality which others had expected.
So, is it the expectations left unfulfilled or the accidental nature of an occurrence which makes the difference? For the former — how does one come to assess and judge expectations, of others or from ourselves? Were they realistic, within reachable goals and planned with achievable milestones? As to the latter — is it because of the “surprise” nature of a serendipitous event in combination with the joyous outcome that makes it “special”? For, if it was accidental, but nevertheless expected, would it detract from the momentousness of the event?
Life is full of mundaneness and repetitive monotony, and a serendipitous event is something to hold with special smiles and hearty laughters precisely because of their accidental and unexpected natures; for, its very opposite — of a calamity which may also be accidental or unexpected — occurs often enough.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition turns into the opposite of a serendipitous event by preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should be carefully considered.
It is a long and complex administrative process, with many and varied bureaucratic pitfalls. But in the end, when an approval from OPM is obtained, it may be declared a moment of serendipity — of that rare exception to the general rule of life, where misgivings are plentiful and momentous ones a rarity.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire