Beyond Brushstrokes

One cannot predict how things will turn out. Although one plans and strategizes for the future, there are not guarantees.
Prudent and cautious individuals prefer security and predictability. They meticulously manage their lives and program their schedules tightly. They resist sudden changes in the rigid structure of their organized lives.
Adventurous free spirits are quite the opposite. Open to taking risks, they embrace surprises. Flexible and responsive, they easily adapt to change and flow with the tide.
The French philosopher Voltaire once wrote, “Chance is a word that does not make sense. Nothing happens without a cause.”
Outside the sphere of daily routine, one’s character is tested. Particularly when an extreme or emergency situation arises. The diverse reactions of people are determined by attitude and habit. A tidal wave, hurricane, or tremor threatens the city. Many people panic and freeze. Others flee without knowing where to go, what to do. Adrenaline rushes through the system an, instinctively, people respond to the external stimuli.
The organized person would be logical, cool, and unperturbed. The flexible one would use intuition and gut feel. Both types would switch to survival mode in their individual ways.
However well prepared a person is, timing matters. Luck is a critical factor. Being at the right place at the right time.
Kismet plays a significant role.
One may miss an urgent appointment at a particular place due to a seemingly trivial incident. It may not make any logical sense at the moment. One is forced to stay home or to take a detour. In doing so, precious time seems wasted. One feels disappointed or upset that things did not go well.
Then lightning strikes. All of a sudden, the incident makes sense. A bad thing could have happened to the person who had been delayed. If he had gone, he would have been at the pop concert wherein an attack occurred.
The split second delay or absence at the coliseum could be attributed to chance or a lucky streak.
Others call it Divine Providence — when a cosmic force intervenes to save a life.
There are predictable incidents in which fortunate people emerge unscathed from accidents or disaster sites.
Three decades ago, we heard the story about a seven-year-old child who fell from a yacht into the sea — at night. The parents desperately searched for their daughter who seemed to have vanished in the waves. She did not know how to swim. They had faith and prayed. They asked for help from professionals who could assist them.
But a dolphin miraculously nudged the child afloat and carried her to safety. (This was how she recalled what happened.)
The following morning, as the yacht approached its destination many miles away, the parents found their child with fishermen who saved her. There is only one true version — her story.
How she survived the dangerous night sea and arrived ahead of the yacht could be the plot of a thrilling movie.
It is a mystery and, in many aspects, a modern miracle. The dolphin might have been a guardian angel sent to rescue the child. A blessing.
She had grown into a lovely, accomplished woman and her parents are happy to share their incredible true story.
It is difficult for people to understand why certain things happen. Random incidents may occur for unknown reasons and due to circumstances beyond our control.
Sometimes, it is best to let things happen and to trust fate.
The unseen hand may point us to serendipity — through a detour.
One discovers a lovely meadow filled with spring flowers or a scenic cliff overlooking the roaring ocean. An impromptu stop at a distant beach during a thunderstorm could reveal a secret cave with shards of ancient ceramics and bits of glinting semi-precious metal — probably the remnants of lost treasure from a sunken 17th Century galleon.
A stroll down a dark road could lead one to find trees of marvelous blinking fireflies.
A near-death experience (a car accident or a fall) can opens one’s eyes and heal the heart — to discover a new mission, a vocation. It reveals certain truths about human nature and how people can be sincere and helpful or cold-blooded, manipulative, or mercenary. The variations are endless.
A lost job could start a new and independent venture that brings success and recognition. It is not plain luck or coincidence.
There are no coincidences. It is synchronicity.
A chance encounter may kindle a special friendship or a permanent alliance — personal or professional.
To illustrate, St. Ignatius of Loyola’s injury at war and his prolonged recovery triggered introspection, enlightenment, and the founding of the Jesuit order.
A forced confinement or a retreat-workshop could lead one to inspiration and the start of a spiritual voyage to self-discovery.
Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.