If you read my last post, you know we recently lost a very dear friend. My heart has been heavy not only for his loss but just because here in my small town we’ve lost several good people lately and also because of quite a few that I know who are suffering through great illnesses right now…several of them sweet children. Sometimes grief can just grab you and doesn’t want to let go!
Today I am posting one of my favorite stories…I imagine some of you have heard it before. But it’s a great reminder that every day is a gift and everyone from time to time needs a little extra dose of love and encouragement.
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 widow. 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, and other things.
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 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. He 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, the man propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn and look out the window beside the bed. But what he saw shocked him…the window faced a blank wall.
The man later asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man couldn’t have possibly seen anything because he was blind. He could not even see the wall. But she said, “Perhaps your friend just wanted to encourage you.”
Moral of the story: 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 the things you have that money can't buy.
Has someone encouraged you when you were down? I hope so. And if they did, remember how it made you feel…and PASS IT ON.
“Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”
“People will forget what you have said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”