By The Window

Two young men who were both seriously ill occupied the same hospital room.

 Jack’s bed was next to the room’s only window. For one hour each day he was allowed to sit up in his bed to drain the fluids from his lungs. The other man, Jim, whose bed was across the room, had to spend all of his time lying flat on his back. 

The two young men became very good friends in a short time and they talked for hours on end about their families, their homes, their jobs, holidays they had and their involvement in activities around their homes and in the community. They were both so thankful to have somebody to talk with and each day they prayed together for God to help them through the pain of each day and to have joy in their hearts. 

Each afternoon while Jack was sitting up in his bed knowing that his friend could not get up and needing to hear something about the outside world, he passed the time describing to his roommate the things he saw as he looked out of his window. Jim looked forward to those one-hour periods each day as his friend shared with him, and his world opened up and was given life by all the activity and color of the outside world. 

The window overlooked a park that surrounded a lake that sparkled in the sunshine. Ducks and swans swam on the water undisturbed by the children who laughed and played while sailing their model boats. Grand old trees graced the landscape where young men and women walked arm in arm amid the many colorful flowers and shrubs. In the distance could be seen a fine view of the city skyline. As Jack described what he saw in great detail, Jim would just close his eyes and in his imagination view the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon Jack described a parade passing by and although Jim could not hear the band, he could see it vividly in his mind.  

Then one day an unexpected thought entered Jim’s head. Why should Jack have the privilege of seeing everything while I am stuck in this bed seeing nothing? It just didn’t seem fair. At first Jim was ashamed of such a thought of jealousy, but as the days passed his envy grew into resentment and very soon he became very bitter. He began to brood about it and was unable to sleep peacefully. The constant thought that he should be the one by that window controlled his life, making him miserable, and he no longer enjoyed Jack sharing with him the things that he saw. Late one night, as Jim lay staring at the ceiling feeling very sorry for himself, he thought he heard a commotion from the other bed where Jack was but did not pay any attention. The following morning Jack was taken to another location. Jim now saw an opportunity for himself and was glad that the bed beside the window was now vacant. As soon as Jack’s belongings were removed Jim asked if he could have that bed. Once the switch had been made and the nurse had done all she could to make him comfortable, he was left alone.

He was so excited, because now he would see everything Jack saw for himself. Slowly, painfully, and after much struggling, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look. Finally, after all this time he would have the joy of seeing everything himself. He strained and slowly turned to look out the window and all he saw was a blank wall.

Oh, what a letdown! He suddenly realized that all those things that Jack had shared with him to make him happy were the joyful things in Jack’s own heart. He never saw that blank wall. Jim felt so sad now about his attitude of jealousy which had affected the friendship he had before Jack had left.  

Both men were very ill and in dealing with that, Jack had decided to always think on the positive things. He knew that true happiness does not depend upon circumstances, but the condition of the heart.

What a lesson that Jim finally learned! Now he really missed his old buddy and the insights of Jack’s heart that had always lightened their situation. Unfortunately, sometimes we do not appreciate what we have until it is gone. 

God tells us that, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are  lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8.  

If we regularly put positive, encouraging and uplifting thoughts into our minds and bite our lips before we begin to grumble or complain, we will have much happiness to share with others.


He was speaking about the window of his heart and was desiring to have a beautiful future to look forward to when he was able to get well.

June 2010