When Unexpected Losses Bring Unexpected Gifts

I leave for Madrid on Friday and Dan has had a crazy busy schedule at the theater, so we planned on a special date night after last night’s yoga class- the only day and time we could find that would have us both at the same place at the same time. We chose Ocean, our favorite restaurant, the place we go for special occasions. It is owned and operated by award-winning chef, George Reis, and the food and service are stellar- every time.  Even better, dear friends had given us a generous gift certificate to Ocean.

We needed this date night. Dan has been preoccupied with work and the recent death of a long-time friend, and I have been in my own world practicing and preparing for the eleven day trip to ClarinetFest in Madrid. Dan and I are always so close in our thoughts and feelings, and I missed our time to focus on each other.  I am already homesick for Dan, and this time in Madrid will have been the longest we’ve ever been apart. Time apart is healthy and good…but it would have been tougher to leave when we weren’t in sync. 

A severe storm was headed our way, but we decided to carry on with our plans. After Dan’s grueling ninety minute hot yoga class at the Y, we quickly showered, spruced up, and made the short drive to Ocean. We chose to sit at the bar as we often do, as it is a wonderful place to people watch, and to sit closely and talk. We heard the rain coming down and saw the flashes of lightning as the storm hit. Right after we placed our order, the lights in the restaurant flickered several times, and then the whole place went black. After a stunned moment of silence, cheers and laughter went up all around the restaurant, with jokes of, “Dinner and drinks on the house tonight!” The waiters quickly came around lighting candles, and- thankfully- most of the cooking is done with gas at Ocean. The mood in the restaurant immediately became festive. 

Dan and I loved it- it made an already nice evening an adventure of sorts.  The bartender apologized, and we told him we wouldn’t change a thing…it can be fun sometimes when things happen that you don’t expect. You can either get upset, or you can go with the flow and see the gifts that might not have been there if everything went according to plan. The dim and intimate setting gave Dan and I the perfect place to open up and talk, regaining our ever-important close connection. It helped me so much to hear him sort through what he is feeling about the loss of his friend, a former girlfriend from college days. He has such a soft heart, just like me, and we both tend to hold a lot inside as we process. Now I feel like I can do a better job of being there for him. 

All in all, the unexpected power loss brought unexpected gifts of connection, understanding, and laughter. I feel much better about leaving on Friday, more able to focus on the conference and my performance. I think Dan feels better, too, being able to talk things out. The power is still out today…but somehow it’s not quite as magical with no coffee, hot water, or Internet. Still there are gifts….simple quiet time to finish packing and to practice. Life is so good. 


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