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Appreciating life's silver linings


Last updated 9/20/2019 at 1:18pm | View PDF

The classic film "Gaslight" (1944), starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, has been a favorite of mine for years. (Spoiler alert: Set in Victorian London, the dashing, dastardly Boyer manipulates his wife, Bergman, into believing she's going mad. Meanwhile, he surreptitiously searches for her jewels.) I first watched this movie on TV while home sick from school. The plot was irresistible, as was the Beethoven sonata prominently featured in the soundtrack - a piece I was then tackling in my piano lessons.

If memory serves, this was my first "every cloud has a silver lining" experience, with "being sick" as the cloud and "getting to watch a great movie" as the silver lining. There have been others, of course, big and small, all reducing the sting of not-so-good events.

While I don't actually believe that every single cloud has silver lining, my husband and I are delighted when they show up - and especially so for our "big three."

Two happened more than a decade apart, but both were rooted in our bitter disappointment when carefully made plans fell apart. One related to building our house (but the architect/builder bailed after drafting plans) and the other centered on acquiring a puppy (but our chosen puppy mama wasn't actually pregnant).

We quickly identified each disappointment as an opportunity to make new plans, which we did. Great move! Our new architect produced a far superior design, and our new breeder delivered to us the perfect pup, our Charlie. Sweet silver linings!

Our most consequential experience began when my husband had a "minor" heart attack. Once in Hinsdale Hospital's ER, he was seen by a cardiologist who eventually located a small blocked heart artery. During surgery, the doctor successfully installed a stent to relieve the blockage. In the process, however, he identified a partial blockage in a larger artery and, two weeks later, added a second stent. Since then, we've been pretty sure that the heart attack, scary as it was, provided a life-saving early warning. Epic silver lining!

Fancifully, my ideal world would need no silver linings at all - because there'd be no clouds in the first place. If only!

(By the way, "Gaslight" was actually shown over two days. My second sick day was highly suspect.)

- Sally Hartmann of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected]


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