I read this short story today, from a link a friend had posted on Facebook. It made me have a huge lump in my throat choking back tears cause it’s so sad but so heartwarming. I just wish we could be more appreciative and happy with what we have sometimes. Less exploitation, less bullying, less selfishness, less untrusting. A quote that was posted near the bottom (the title of this post) was so moving for me and I chose to re-post this story because it encapsulates what has got to be the strongest of my beliefs and values in life. Here is the story:
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 colour 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 colour 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 details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months 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 real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides 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.’
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.
At the line “It faced a blank wall”, I literally felt like an elephant round house kicked me in the throat and my heart had been stabbed. I don’t know why these stories always get me like this, but I hope it helps you have a little epiphany, even it’s temporary, on how each one of us can really make ourselves happier by thinking about how we can make someone else’s life better. Love and affection without expecting anything back is the best for us because you cannot lose in the end; you have nothing to lose when you are truly content to only give away.