Two patients were in the same room of a hospital. One of the patient had a bed near the window and next patient at the other corner of the room with no window.
Both of the patient were seriously ill. The patient near the window was allowed to sit up for a hour. 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 holiday.
And every day when the man in the bed near the window could sit up, he used to describe all the things he could see outside the window to the other patient on the other side of room. 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 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 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 for the regular check up 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 world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.
It faced a blank wall. The man was shocked and asked the nurse how was previous patient able to describe 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.”