Two men were critically ill and they shared a hospital room. Chris just had a major eye surgery and his eyes were wrapped in bandages. Also, he was temporarily unable to sit up. Joe, on the other hand, had fluid in his lungs and he was made to sit up for an hour every day to drain the fluids from his lungs. Soon, Chris and Joe became cordial and they discussed several aspects of their lives. Joe couldn’t help but notice that Chris was mostly sad. Out of concern, he asked his friend why, to which Chris replied, “Do you know what it is like not to be able to see a thing? I feel like the whole world is passing me by. You are fortunate to have your bed next to the window”. Indeed, Joe had his bed next to the only window in the room; so, he decided to start to describe the ‘outside world’ to Chris during his daily one-hour sit-ups.
Joe would describe the busy streets outside the hospital, the pedestrians going about their daily businesses, the theme park across the road, children giggling, lovers strolling arm-in-arm, birds chipping, etc. With time, the one hour became the highlight of Chris’ day. He would awake in the morning with great anticipation of the day’s narratives. After the precious one hour, he would spend the rest of the day reviewing the story and painting the mental pictures.
Gradually, days became weeks and weeks became months. Until one day, Chris awoke in the morning with the usual anticipation, but he did not hear the voice of his favourite storyteller. His several calls were met with silence so he raised an alarm. To his greatest dismay, Joe had died peacefully in his sleep. Chris grieved the death of his friend. In a couple of days, his bandages were removed. When he considered it appropriate enough, he requested the nurse to move his bed next to the window and the nurse happily obliged. As soon as he was settled in bed, Chris propped himself up to take his first glimpse of the world he had only heard of and imaged. To his greatest shock, the only window in the room faced a blank brick wall! He was so bothered that he inquired from the nurse where Joe got all his stories from. She responded, “Perhaps he wanted to encourage you and cheer you up. You see, Joe was totally blind and he couldn’t see anyway”.
It is amazing how a simple thing like a window can hold so much significance for a person. Chris built his life around the window, thinking it held the key to all his desires. However, the window was not the key to his happiness but Joe’s imaginative power. Several times in life, we focus on the wrong things for satisfaction and we fail to appreciate people’s sacrifices for us. While Joe was a blessing to Chris, Chris thought the window was the blessing.