Monday, June 4, 2007

Outside the window

Two men, seriously ill, occupied a same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window!

In fact the bed-ridden guy began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside! His partner used to tell him that the window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. And as the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words!

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

This was a sad moment for him to see hospital attendants taking his partner's body away. But as soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. He so wanted to see the world that his roommate had painted for him every day! And as soon as the nurse made the switch, the man, excitedly yet painfully, propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. And what he saw shocked him..

..the window faced a blank wall!

Words choking in his mouth, the puzzled man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window? The nurse further disclosed that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

"Perhaps he wanted to keep you happy", was all she said as she walked out of the room.

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.