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.

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 the things you have that money can't buy."

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

~ Author Unknown ~


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