Room with a View

For anyone who ever thought the grass was greener on the other side, this story is for you.

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. And 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 couples 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 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. Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window! That thought, and only that thought, now controlled his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, and along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence. Deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take away his body. 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 all himself. He strained to turn to look out the window beside the bed, only to discover that it faced a blank wall!

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate 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.”

I first heard this story some years ago and it impacted me deeply. I thought of all the ways I, too, had allowed my imaginations about someone or something to determine my mood and remove me from the reality of my situation. Perhaps you have done this as well. You find yourself in a relationship that is no longer what you first experienced, expected, or desired. Maybe your job or work is not bringing in the ideal income or you work for someone who does not see your full potential. It could be that you drive past a neighborhood often that leaves you with envy over the place you currently reside, or you just long to be in another place, period. Whatever the situation, your mind is often a battlefield. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then here’s a few scriptures you can use to help combat this:

  1. Submit your will to the will of God. You are not your own, you are bought with a price.
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  2. Take captive every thought. Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negative.
    2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
    Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
    Finally, brethren, 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.
  3. Humble yourself, give your cares to God. Ask Him to reveal to you His purpose, and for wisdom in knowing what you need to do.
    1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.
  4. Love those God has given you to the end, and accept that you don’t get to decide when the end will come.
    John 13:1 (KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

In addition, you may also:

  • Consider that you may be the problem. I’m reminded of the story of the drunkard who had thrown up on himself. He kept moving from place to place to get away from the smell of vomit. Every place new he sat down he would take a sniff and once again proclaim “Phew, this place stinks”, then get up and move to a new place once again, never realizing that the smell was on him, not in the place he chose. Sometimes we just need to realize that we’ve thrown up on ourselves, and need Christ’s help to clean up our mess.
  • Try not to make major decisions during the low points of your life, as this can prove irrational and faulty.
  • Seek to be in His Presence continually. Remember that you cannot come into His Presence and not be changed.

Did you like the story ‘Room with a View’? When I was looking for it, I found it on the most delightful website here: http://www.momof9splace.com/stories2.html . You may decide you want to visit it as well, as there are many stories and poems like this located there.

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