Thursday, January 06, 2011

Day 7: The Window

The Window, Chapel Kühmatt, Blatten, Switzerland, July 2010,
Nikon D5000, 35mm focal length equiv. 49mm, Exposure 1/100 sec @ f5, ISO 200, no flash
© Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Windows are one way we can see the world out there.

Our mental windows are the way we perceive the world "out there".  They will filter, color, and distort reality, and influence the images, feelings, and thoughts we create of our situation.

Here's the good news.  You can do a little window cleaning any time you like.

Here's one story to help you understand the point I'm trying to make:

The Hospital Window -- Author Unknown

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 lovers 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. Days and weeks 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 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 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."

  • Donation:  Beaver Brook Association in Hollis, NH, preserving open land and walking trails for nature appreciation (suggested by my wife, Carol).
  • Exercise:  After-dinner walk with Frito (35 mins)


Boswell said...

Nice anecdote! I wanted to make a suggestion to you for your daily give-something-away... oh wait did I learn about Kiva from your site... I think I might have.. That was going to be my suggestion... also what do you think of PLAN (used to be called foster parents plan). This $1 a day donation does a lot... yes some of it goes to administration costs but this secular group does seem to effect a lot of positive change... getting water to people who need it etc... If they aren't a good choice I'd like to know why... I don't like supporting the BIG cancer research/heart foundation etc... because the cynical side of me thinks that all those millions they rake in are too desirable to come to any real cure... cancer makes men in lab coats rich.. but maybe (hopefully I'm wrong about that)... It is hard sometimes to know how to help without victimizing others too - any ideas on that?

Steven Crisp said...

Good questions Boswell, especially for a dog ;-)

I consider myself at the kindergarden stage when it comes to giving. That's why I made this a resolution this year -- to develop my "giving" muscle. Will any wisdom come from that - I'm not sure.

But I have found that making anything a sincere intention will absolutely transform you in some way. Because it is something you will think about, both consciously and unconsciously.

As for your questions about helping without victimizing others ... I'm not sure exactly what you have in mind. My thoughts would be to start small, and start local. Engage with the people you wish to help (something I'm not doing yet). And you will get a sense of the sincerity of the people or the cause.

In something like this, I would trust my gut reactions (aka 'inner voice", "higher self") to let me know if this was a worthy cause, and if some good might come from it. But best of all is just helping out someone directly, I suspect, as that comes with the direct gift of human love and kindness.

Thanks for your other donation suggestions. They will provide some food for thought for me.

Take care.