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  • Dianne McKim

It's A Matter of Perspective


Two women both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One woman was allowed to sit up in her bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from her lungs. Her bed was next to the room’s only window. The other woman had to spend all her time flat on his back.


The women talked for hours on end. They spoke of their families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in their voluntary service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the woman in the bed by the window could sit up, she would pass the time by describing to her roommate all the things she could see outside the window.


The woman in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where her 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 woman by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the woman on the other side of the room would close her eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the woman by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other woman couldn’t hear the band - she could see it in her mind’s eye as the woman 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 woman by the window, who had died peacefully in her sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.


As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other woman asked if she could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure she was comfortable, she left her alone. Slowly, painfully, she propped herself up on one elbow to take her first look at the world outside.


Finally, she would have the joy of seeing it for herself. She strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The woman asked the nurse what could have compelled her deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the woman was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps, she just wanted to encourage you.”


Epilogue…

There is tremendous joy 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 of the things you have that money can’t buy. Share the beauty with others around you and help them see the glorious riches they can't see for themselves. You will both be blessed!


“Today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.”


Let me know of some of your experiences when you helped spread joy to those around you.

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