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. 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 would talk to each other for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, where they had been on vacation; and every after-noon 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 he would be enchanted 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 toy boats. Young lovers walked arm-in-arm amidst flowers of every color of the rain-bow. Grand old trees graced the land-scape; and a beautiful view of the city sky-line 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. Days and weeks passed; and the gentleman by the window described these breathtaking scenes.
One day the day nurse arrived and found the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
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 lifted himself up and slowly turned to look out the window beside the bed. But it faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate to have described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She continued “perhaps he just wanted to encourage you!”
There is for me a wonderful message in this story. I believe it is telling us that we can receive so much joy in making others happy, despite our own situations. The Talmud tells us that shared grief is half the sorrow; but happiness, when shared, is doubled.
So may I suggest that if you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money cannot buy.
With warmth and affection,