The 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 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.

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 wall!

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."

Epilogue. . . .
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.
"Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."

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