Friday, February 26, 2016

     Have you ever read a book where the descriptions painted such vivid pictures in your mind that you felt like you were right there? When you put the book down and came back to it, you felt like you were going home? I would love to write like that. I believe it’s a gift, but maybe you can actually learn such things. James Patterson offers a writing course. If he can teach you to turn out a novel a week, he must have some of that talent. Maybe I should take it. Nope. Too late for the diva. 

     The following story sent to me by a dear friend resonated with me on so many levels. It reminded me of one of the best books I have ever read, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Victor Frankel.  He paints word pictures in his head while trying to survive in a Nazi Concentration Camp. I have read about other stories of people confined, captured, tortured, and we have all seen movies where people are adrift in an ocean for days telling stories about their mom’s spaghetti or the time they stole candy from the local store and got chased down by the authorities. The point is that the power of words can never be underestimated. Word pictures can comfort, soothe, even help people survive. 

     I remember teaching the film “Wait Until Dark.” It was a story about a woman (Audrey Hepburn) who was blind and was stalked by a killer in her own home. I assigned my students the task of blindfolding themselves for at least 15 minutes. They were to perform any ordinary task like brushing their teeth or walking to the fridge late at night or trying to put on makeup or shave (yes, some of them already shaved). The point was for them to experience for a nano-minute what it would be like to lose your sight. Some blind people were born that way; others lost this sense in various ways. In some ways, I believe it would be harder to be among the latter, as you would have enjoyed the gift and then realized the incredible loss. 

    In any case, the story below speaks to all of these points. Yes, sight is such a gift. We must appreciate it every single day.


It will take just 37 seconds to read this and change your thinking..

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 details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.  

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.  

Days, weeks and months 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 besides 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.  

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'  


There is tremendous happiness 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 the things you have that money can't buy.  

'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .'