Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Window

The Window

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 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 real world outside. 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.


When the heart grieves over what is has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.

- A Sufi Epigram

I am lately facing a lot of loss in my personal life.
Dealing with it is not easy, and I know we must all face loss at some time in our lives. In order to care for others, we have to have experienced the pain of loss ourselves. It helps to know I am not alone. I treasure the friends and loved ones who've been there for me. I suppose you can find meaning and purpose in almost any experience, even when it's the bitter disappointment and sadness that comes with loss.

That's what I like about the quote above. The human spirit should never be overcome by even the deepest grief. Something, even the smallest of things, always remains for which we can hope. I suppose I'm telling you this because I'm hanging on to the hope for the glimmer of those smallest miracles myself. Perhaps someone landing here, whether intended or by chance, will be in need and will take heart from having read these simple words.