Last holiday season I awoke to a rainy wet Sunday morning. With no family around I had decided the night before that I was going to treat myself to a date with myself –lunch then a movie. With that in mind I drove to my nearest cinema complex to find that it was closed. The movie was advertised to start at 2pm and I had wanted to purchase a ticket prior to settling down to eat.
The cinema complex had just been renovated and in doing so had installed an allocated seating system – which did not please me! (Previously one could purchase a ticket and sit anywhere, which meant I could arrive 15 minutes before the theatre was open. With the new allocated seating the staff were determining where I sat – and despite my best attempts to explain my preferences I was never in my preferred section – seems everyone bar me likes to sit in the centre!) So my early arrival was an attempt to obtain a seat of my preference!
Well with the complex not yet open I was forced to abandon my plan and eat first. As I looked around I notice that the streets was empty – no pedestrians on the footpath and few cars on the street. I looked at my watch and it was just on midday. No doubt most were sitting down to a lunch or aperitifs in celebration of the holiday period. That said I had not expected the streets to be so empty or restaurants to be closed. As I looked across the road to the restaurant I had intended to have lunch I realised that there was no sign advertising its daily specials as was its custom. It looked closed.
I was a little bewildered by this as given the holiday period I had checked on their website prior to leaving the house and that seemed to indicate that the restaurant was open over the holiday period. I was confused by the lack of activity, as I was in a very busy part of town known for its many eateries. That said it was clear that the restaurant was closed. And as I walked down the street looking for alternative options it began to dawn on me that nothing was open. I had overlooked how much this holiday was about family and the impact that has on businesses choosing to close on this day- and that included restaurants.
As I peered down the street through the softly falling rain – I thought to myself, there are lots of restaurants in this area. Surely one or two further down the street would be open for business welcoming people like myself with no family close by to spend this holiday period with. And with that in mind set forth in the falling rain.
As I moved further down the street doubts began to creep in! Nothing seemed open. No one was on the street! There was no sign of life! My spirits were ebbing. I had got up knowing that the day was going to be a challenging one with no family around. But I had buoyed myself by the fact that I was going to have an indulgent day on my own – And so far this was not panning out as expected. And with that growing realization I was beginning to feel the impact of being on my own on a day that is so much associated with celebrating family and loved ones! And I could feel my mood shifting accordingly.
At that point I almost decided to turn back – to go home and to forget about the movie. That said my feet continued to move me forward. The next block housed an Italian quarter – a huge terrace or piazza with a fountain in the centre, the perimeter of which was flanked with restaurants. Surely one if not two or three of these would be open for business!
As I approached the area I could hear the sound of laughter. Music filled the air. My spirit lifted. From the top of the stairs that led down into the terraced area I could see a small group of people in one of the restaurants at the far side of the terrace…but there was something unusual in in that the group were all standing. Was this a private party? I was still not sure if the restaurant was open for business.
I had come this far – may as well find out if it were open – no point lingering. I could see a few men standing on the side with drinks in their hands and laughing together. As I got closer I could see a menu board on display! My hopes grew stronger that the venue was in fact open! That said besides the three men I could see there seemed to be only one patron seated. And she was nursing a latte….She did not appear to be waiting for food…My curiosity now piqued -was the restaurant open or was this a closed event?
As I approached the menu board an older gentleman casually dressed in jeans and a blue pin stripped shirt left the group of men and came towards me. I was informed that the restaurant was having a staff party. With the rain increasing in intensity and my hopes of finding something open now seemingly dashed, my face fell- it must have showed more than I thought… as I started to move away…the gentleman in question stopped me in my tracks and invited me to sit down – to get out of the rain. I was informed that the restaurant owner had made a last minute decision – that if he was open for the staff he may as well remain open to the public. And I was most welcome to seat and feast!
My host was most attentive. As I recounted the tales of my morning adventures, he very gently put his hand on my back as guided me to a table nearby. It was such a sweet gesture – very supportive and very caring – a gesture of understanding and friendship – It seems that the men I had seen were also without family and were celebrating in camaraderie – the joy of working together.
I was treated like a queen! Greg, the Manager who had welcomed me in from the rain, introduced himself and personally waited on me, personally selected a wine to accompany my meal and kept a close eye on my needs. An awesome experience and from a very challenging start my day turned around!
As I sipped my wine and waited for my order I pondered on the range of emotions that I had experienced over the last few hours. The hope of the morning spending this day alone, the despair and loneliness I felt walking through the rain swept streets, with no one in sight and now still alone but seated in a restaurant and being looked after so well. What had changed? First was the care and connection Greg had sparked when he put his hand very gently on the small of my back and led me to a table to get out of the rain. Such a small gesture and yet so powerful!
It led me to think of the power of another gesture and how meaningful it can be in altering moods or conveying love – the power of a hug! What many people and particularly couples do not realise is how powerful hugs are in keeping relationships healthy and loving. Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that as human beings we need a quota of hugs to feel good about ourselves? Four hugs for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth! That is powerful medicine!
Think about it – a hug is a very powerful communication tool. It communicates in ways that words often can’t. In fact it has been shown that a hug is more than just being held by someone – by its very nature hugs involve giving and receiving! You can’t give an intimate hug without receiving one in return – so it becomes an equaliser – a mutual exchange. And recent scientific studies have shown that the power of a hug in deepening relationships is due to the powerful exchange in energy that occurs when you are hugged by someone!
So your mission today should you agree to accept it is to look to your partner and without saying a word – give him or her a great big hug, and then say thank you!
And best of all don’t forget to have fun! Enjoyed this post? Then please share it or post a comment below…and have fun…