"Let's do something here in Portland before we head out to the coast. Is there anything you want to do?" my husband asked that morning in the hotel room.
I thought we had seen most of the Portland attractions on past visits. Nevertheless, I headed for the rack in the lobby filled with tourist brochures. I found one advertising the Japanese Garden. It was in Washington Park. I thought I knew approximately where this was. It would be right on our way. So I suggested it to my husband, and he agreed.
We crossed the river to the west side of Portland and found the exit we needed. We passed the zoo and followed the signs leading to the Japanese Garden. We also noticed signs leading in the same direction that said, "Rose Garden." We wound through the wooded hillside. We came to a large, terraced clearing that overlooked Portland. The rose garden was right next to the walkway which led up to the Japanese Garden.
We parked and started toward the rose garden first. The air was permeated with the sweet fragrance of roses. We came toward the garden and caught our first glimpse of the hillside filled with thousands for rose bushes. Amazing! Glorious! Roses of every color: yellow, peach, coral, pink, white, lavendar, and more. Roses of every type: tree roses, climbing roses, miniature roses, shrub roses, hybrid tea roses, old-fashioned roses.
We spent a long time meandering through the roses, drinking in the beauty. What a visual feast! We still took time to see the Japanese Garden as well. It was also lovely, but for a rose gardener like me, the roses were the highlight.
As we drove away, my husband commented on the serendipity of our day---finding something so wonderful while looking for something else. In our journey through life, we occassionally have these moments. Sometimes we are aware of them, and other times we are too distracted to notice.
When have you actively pursued something only to discover something you weren't even looking for? Have you ever been headed one direction through life only to be frustrated by a detour,realizing later that the detour was a gift? In the midst of great sorrow or pain, have you had an unexpected encounter with grace? On an ordinary day with its mundane routine, have you ever been surprised by an unexpected blessing?
My desire is to have the eyes to see all the serendipitous blessings that come my way---then to say, "Thank you, God!"