A young man suffered a serious neck injury in a car crash and was hospitalized. He was assigned the bed closest to the door in a two-patient room and strapped down to keep him immobilized on his back while the doctors waited on the swelling in his neck to subside. Once the swelling subsided they would exam him further in order to decide upon a proper course of treatment. In the meantime, his only view all day long was the ceiling above him.
His fellow patient in the room, the man who had the bed closest to the window, was an elderly gentleman who had a serious ailment as well. But his condition was such that he was encouraged to sit up in bed as much as possible in order to keep fluid from collecting in his lungs. Since neither patient had any close relatives or friends, neither one ever received any visitors. That made for a very long day, and to alleviate the boredom the elderly gentlemen started describing out loud all the scenes he saw taking place outside the window.
The man described a beautiful park that featured a picturesque lake, and he went into great detail about the clear water, the way the sun rested upon the water, the blue sky above the water, the puffy clouds in the sky, the ducks that sat upon the water, the green grass that ran along the lake’s shoreline, the children who played in that grass (and sometimes in the water), and the parents who sat on benches watching those children play. Each day brought fresh new scenes and fresh new descriptions, and the young man began to live for those descriptions. He would just close his eyes and envision everything in his head.
Then one morning the nurse came in to check on the elderly gentleman and found that he had died peacefully in his sleep. She called for a doctor to confirm that the fellow was dead, and the young man overheard their conversation. After the doctor had confirmed the gentleman had expired, the young man said, “I have to say that I sure will miss him. Now he won’t be here anymore to tell me about everything that is happening outside the window.”
The nurse looked surprised and said, “I never heard him talking to you about what was happening outside that window.” The young man explained, “Oh, he would always wait until it was just the two of us in here. Then he would start describing whatever was going on out there at the time.” The nurse paused for a moment as if she was considering her next words carefully and then said, “Well, I guess it’s okay for you to know now that the only scene outside that window is the rooftop of this hospital.” Shocked, the young man said, “You mean there is no park, no lake, no grass, no ducks, no kids playing, and no parents sitting on benches?” “Sorry, there isn’t,” answered the nurse. The young man asked, “Then why did that man describe all that stuff to me and let me believe it was all out there?” With a wry smile, the nurse reasoned, “I guess he just wanted to encourage you.”
So encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, N.L.T.)