• Jan Thoreen Lewis

Choosing door #2

When we were in Vienna on June 19, we had the option of attending a local concert of music by Mozart and Strauss.  Here we were in Vienna, the home of Mozart and Strauss!  How could we pass it up? But we also had the option of joining in a special evening hosted by a friend of our cousins who lives in Austria; it was like being shown Door #2 – an amazing surprise?  Or just a disappointment? So should we choose Door #1, which we knew to be a safe and predictable choice and possibly miss out on something really special? Or should we go with the unknown and take a chance on mystery?

Gambling on mystery can sometimes be the greatest gift we are given.

We chose Door #2.  You know those stories you hear about or see in movies of people sitting around a table laden with food, cutlery, glasses, and goblets for hours, eating, drinking, talking, laughing, telling stories, everyone becoming ever more loveable and endearing?  I’m thinking of Babbette’s Feast or Under the Tuscan Sun or Chocolat or Letters to Juliet. (If you haven’t seen these, you’re in for a treat . . . on the chick-flick side.)

We didn’t know it, but were in for an experience, not a meal.  Door #2 turned out to be the Jackpot!  It was an evening of brand new Austrian food experiences, beautiful local wines (the dessert wine was to die for), and exquisite desserts.  But more than anything, it was an evening of new friendships, stomach-aching hilarity, leisure, beauty, elegance, and surprises.  Not only did we meet our host, but his gracious son and joyful daughter-in-law, who live and work in Vienna. Their generosity and offers of honor and connection touched and humbled us.

We each have the ability to bring the gift of magical experiences to others, but love is in the details, so it requires thought, intention, and effort from us.

We had been given the gift an entire evening of pure magic.  And this is what I learned – I sometimes opt for safe Door #1 when my heart is really yearning for the mystery and potential of Door #2.  I hope you’ll be seeing me more and more choosing mystery over predictability.  And more than anything, I was reminded that I have the ability to give the magic of experiences to others.  After all, love is in the details.  Our host had given careful thought to what in Vienna would most delight us, and he provided it unstintingly and joyfully to complete strangers.

My life was changed that night in some subtle but powerful ways.  I will linger longer at the table just to hear one more story. I will give careful attention to the quality of the food I serve so that senses are surprised and delighted even if it means I have to set a timer so I don’t burn the cheese bread.  I will recognize when time has slowed down and I am being invited into magic and I will relax and say, “Yes!” I will realize that wine does indeed make the heart glad and friends vociferous, and that’s o.k.

And as an artist, I will bring my love of beauty to every aspect of life, for this is written on my DNA.  As I paint I will focus on creating an experience for art-lovers, an invitation to enter into a place of deep connection, honor, love, and even magic.  I can’t wait for you to join me!

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