A Surprise Gift

Hi all.  Good to see you again. 

In the last blog entry I hopefully made you think about the things you are willing to give your life for.  Well, today I am going to look at life from another direction… what life gives to us. 

As we all know, life can be pretty unpredictable.  Things happen over which we have no control.

First let me say that, there is no question that the choices we make and how well we take care of ourselves increase the odds for the quality of life we have.  But the topic regarding” the choices we make that make our life better” is a blog entry for another day. 

So the question is, what does life give to us? 

Interestingly, there’s a sad reality that says a lot about human nature.  If someone talks about the random things life gives to us, the natural default is to assume that we are referring to bad things that happen and how to cope.

But I want to talk about the surprise joys that come out of the blue.  These are the unplanned gifts that life gives us to enjoy… if… if we are willing to see and allow ourselves to enjoy.

This happened this past weekend.  An amazing gift of the moment… something you can never plan.  In fact, if you try to manufacture these moments they fall short.  The joy and fullness is magnified because of the serendipity of the moment.

My wife and I were in Florida for business and went down a day early to spend some time with my sister.  We had a nice day doing Florida stuff and my sister suggested for dinner we go to a small family owned Cuban restaurant.  She said the food was good and the price reasonable.

We drove through a neighborhood and came upon a somewhat non-descript little restaurant.  It was busy and we decided to wait to eat inside.  This decision sounds weird because in Florida everyone wants to eat outside.

Eating inside was a good decision.  As we walked in we were immediately swept away by the distinct sounds of Latin music, language, and energy.  Our heads exploded with the smell of spicy food and the overall energy of the room was consuming. 

It was one of those places where you immediately feel comfortable, welcome and engaged.  There were only about twelve tables and the kitchen was open with a bar dividing the room. 

The dinner tasted great and of course, it was really fun.  As mentioned, this was a very busy small family café.  We noticed that they started to run out of things and so were not sure if we would get what we ordered.  Sure enough, we got exactly what they had left in the kitchen; not exactly what we ordered…but it was incredible.

Let me share an interesting point here.  Although the food was great, atmosphere amazing and the time with my loved ones wonderful… this was not the serendipitous moment that sparked this blog entry.  That was yet to come, the topping on a great evening.

While we were eating people were constantly coming and going.  There was lots of talking, laughing and eating.  During the evening a group of six came and they caught my eye.  A fellow had his guitar with him.  They sat for a while and after they ordered, guitar man went out to the small patio with his friends following.

We finished our meal and stepped outside and bam!  It was like stepping on a movie set. 

Backdrop Information: There happened to be an international meeting in the town where classical guitar players from all over the world gathered to represent their countries.

When we stepped outside, two outstanding guitarists (one from Peru and the other from Cuba) were playing the most amazing Latin classical songs.

Everyone was swept up in the night.  The warm breeze, low lights, wonderful smells bellowing out of the café and soft Latin rhythms.  When they finished one song they would immediately start another. 

What made it even better was that someone picked up some bongo drums and began to provide a swaying Latin beat while another joined in with two percussion sticks that added a gentle snap.

It was one of those moments you cannot plan.  You receive it as a gift from God and enjoy it down to your toes.

Life does offer some wonderful moments.  If not careful we easily become consumed with the negative things and lose those times that are gifts.

Ah… It was good.  See you Thursday.

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