A Room with a View
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the 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. And 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. The man in the other bed 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.
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 of the rainbow. Grand old trees
graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the
distance. 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
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. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants
to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be
moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch,
and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly,
painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the
world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He
strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased
roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The
nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our
own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is
doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that
money can't buy.