Lessons from The Window

By Christina Kim - November 27, 2014

Happiness is a state of mind.

Happiness is a choice.
Being happy is simply what we should do to make a great life out of what life is all about.

Here I want to share an inspiring story which has touched my heart every time I hear or read about it, and it never fails to bring a tear to my eye, or change my perspectives on what life can teach us.

Presenting to you, my own re-written version but not straying far from the original story by the brilliant author who remains unknown.
Whoever you are, dearest author, you must be a fantastic person and your story has just touched everyone and probably changed many lives too.
You are an inspirational genius.

The Window
Two men, who were both seriously ill were sharing the same hospital room. 
One of the man, had a condition whereby he had to religiously sit up each day in his bed, with much difficulty, to drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was placed next to the window; the only window in the room.
The other man, who was also very ill, was confined to lying on his back all the time in bed.

The two men became fast friends, having to share the same room after all, and they talked about almost everything under the sun; from their spouses, families, homes, jobs, being in the military services and even their vacation destinations. 

Every afternoon, during the scheduled time when the man beside the window would sit up, he would do so with much struggle and then he would describe the scenes outside the window to the other man who had to lie in his bed. He would describe so vividly all the things he saw outside the window to the other man, and this man started looking forward to his daily one hour of animated pictures of the life outside which broadened his perspectives and lifted his spirits; enlivened by the activity and life outside the window. 

The window overlooked a park with a beautiful lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.
Young lovers held hands and walked 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 man described his view from the window in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see the parade in his mind's eye, as the gentleman by the window developed a detailed picture with yet another one of his vivid description.

One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water to prepare them for their baths and found the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had apparently died peacefully in his sleep.
She was deeply saddened and made arrangements for the hospital attendants to take the body away.

The other man then requested to be moved next to the window as soon it was deemed appropriate following the passing of the other man. Of course the nurse was happy to make the switch, and left him alone after taking care of the things and made sure he was comfortable.

The man was eager to see for himself the outside world described so excitedly by the other man, and with much pain and effort, he slowly propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside.
He was elated that he could finally see it for himself.
As he strained himself to look out the window beside the window, he was surprised that the window faced a brick wall.

The man called for the nurse and asked the reasons which could have compelled his deceased roommate to paint such a description of the wonderful things he claimed he saw when in fact, the window is just facing a brick wall?
There is no way he could have seen all the things he claimed to have seen.

The nurse smiled and told him, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you and make you happy".
Then she made another revelation, "You see, your roommate was actually blind".

- End of story -

There is no way this story could not move anyone's heart, or bring that tear to your eye.
It is hauntingly beautiful and tugs at that heartstring, sending that light jolt into one's senses and most of all, it is not about the emotions evoked by the story, but rather, the whole meaning of the story and how it relates to us.

While it is true that happiness is important to us and that we need to make ourselves happy whenever we can, there is also that part where happiness is even better when shared.
There are so many things I could see from this inspiring story, and learn the lessons underlined in the composition of the entire tale.

It is just amazing how the components of the story just brilliantly models after the elements in life and that is just the stunning part.

(This is purely based on my personal observation and take-away, and I am sure everyone could see something in a different light which I would be happy to hear from as well).

The two men, though depicted to portray the different characters and to highlight the morals of the story, I see beyond their roles in the story too.

The men could very well be our inner voices.
Struggling with life, yet fighting to live.
Looking at the bright side of life, and sometimes just not being able to due to physical or other plaguing constraints.
The excitement of anticipation, and the awakened senses of hope.
The overcoming of obstacles and the inspiration to another, who became motivated by the other's passion.

One man was totally blind, yet the other did not know.
Both were also constrained and confined to their bed; but one moved past that difficulty to get up to sit next to the window. Maybe because he had to, due to the drainage of the fluid from his lungs as medically and periodically required but he still did it.
It was difficult, but he wanted to live.
At the same time, the man wanted to make himself happy and knowing that he was not the only one suffering, he made it a point to make his roommate happy.
He knew he was fortunate to be placed beside the window, as perceived by his roommate who had nothing but the wall, but the roommate didn't know that he was facing a brick wall too.
The wall somehow represents that visual obstacle we made up in our minds; that barrier which made us say no, all the time.
"I don't think I can do it"
"It's going to be so hard"
"I can't, I just can't see how this is going to be better"

The man who laid on his back and not next to the window was probably depressed because of his condition and because he, in a way, thought that he was the less fortunate one.
He felt the other man was more blessed because of that window and because of all the things he could see and enjoy on a daily basis.
The colorful world, the beautiful scenes and just the sight of life.
He did not have access to all that, and relied only on the other man's amazing description which then filled his own mind of the wonderful things happening out there.
He, in a way, reflects our mentality occasionally, where we often think that everything is better on the other side.
The grass is greener, the skies are clearer, and there is rainbow.
Oh, why do others have all the luck?
Some people are just better, I just have to take the back seat and just do what I am supposed to.

On the contrary, he did not know that the man was not seeing anything in reality until he learnt of that fact after the death of that man.
A blind man, could not see, and having difficulty to sit up, made it a point to sit up everyday, because he had to and he wanted to, and even started seeing things because he wanted to.
He made up all these images in his mind, purely out of imagination and described them in such a realistic and passionate way that he stirred up the interest and enthusiasm of his roommate.
Was he really in a much better situation than the other man?

Blindness and lung problems and the discomfort of getting up did not stop him from feeling happy.
He could not change the negative, so he decided to make the best out of his situation and turned it into a positive.
The amazing thing was how he turned the whole thing into a positive picture not for himself alone, but he wanted to touch and cheer the other person he barely knew and could only hear.

He was not much more fortunate than the other one; in fact, he did not even have the gift of sight.
Yet, he did not let that deter him from choosing to see things his own way.
He did not let that bother himself or his roommate.
He died peacefully, and he achieved a purpose of not only making himself content with what he had (not what he couldn't and didn't have), and he wanted to reach out to the other man to have that same sense of fulfillment.

The other man was not a bad person either.
He was a good example of who we could sometimes turn into, until we are enlightened by the great motivating factors and the inspiring people which just make us nod our head and lift our spirits.
We start to believe in the possible.

He had started to see hope and looked forward to each day; to hear of the scenes outside that window.
He never once doubted that it was not real.
He believed everything the other man said, because he liked what he heard.
He was immediately enlivened by that whole picture.
He enjoyed life, outside that window and looked forward to the day he could see for himself and when he would recover.
He saw Hope.

When his roommate passed on, he moved to the bed beside the window.
He had started to struggle to sit up, though he was really confined to his bed before this, but why it no longer constrained him?
Because he wanted to.
He had a mission, and nothing could stop him.
The feeling of hope had pushed him beyond his limits, and despite the pain, he tried to sit up for that one glimpse outside the wonderful window.
There was nothing but a brick wall.
There was no difference between his side of the room versus his deceased roommate's.
How was it that his roommate saw all those beautiful things then?
Everything was a lie?

The roommate was even blind.
There is no light at all, nothing he could see.
Hope prevailed, because he had seen and been touched by the light of hope.
He realized that it is all in the mind.
He realized that he was not any less fortunate.
He knew then that his roommate wanted him to have that same hope.

It was hope that kept both of them going.
It was a choice.
There were constraints, yes, but both men, touched by hope, found their ways beyond the walls.
The walls were their inner enemies.
One man found his way to conquer it, even when he could not see things before and around him, and inspired the other man to do the same.

The description of the scenes and life outside the window are that of hope, and the possibilities if we put our minds to it.
It is truly that state of mind.
We could see things in a colorful and beautiful way if we put ourselves, or allow ourselves to.
It is then that happiness truly settles.
It is then that we truly lived....

It is then that we can smile when we pass on
with no regrets

Because we have not only lived and made the most of our lives
But we have also made it a point to touch and help others to see that same light of hope and happiness and to continue to live

It is why I wanted to share this story with everyone, and share my perspectives
I want you to see that light too
and be inspired
I want you to be positive, and be happy
And live without regrets

SMILE, not only for ourselves, but for everyone around us (be it people we know, or don't know).

A little can go a long way.

Life is indeed precious, choose your life, and choose those pictures you want to see.
I chose the colorful and lively scenes outside the window.

What about you?

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