Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Man by the Window

     Fall is my favorite season.  Here in the mountains, the colors are magnificent, but the chill in the air reminds me that snow is on its way.  The horses at the ranch seem to enjoy the season as much as I do.  Temperatures between 15 degrees and 60 degrees are within the comfort zone for horses.  The view of the mountains with a dusting of snow rising above green valleys filled with grazing horses and colorful trees remind me that life is good.

            There is always new information on the political scene in the U.S., with duplicitous politicians, government corruption, and the dictatorial behavior of Obama, who seems bent on destroying America.  But I want to look beyond that today.   

            Gayle and I were hiking in the forest with Dakota when I was reminded of a great story that you may have heard, but one that deserves repeating.  I don’t know if it’s true, but it provides a profound respite from negativity. 
            The story involves two men who were both seriously ill.  They shared a hospital room and one man was allowed to sit up for an hour each day to receive his medical treatments.  His bed was next to the window. The other man was forced to spend all his time flat on his back.  The two men talked for hours on end about their lives, jobs, families and other things.

            The man in the bed by the window would describe the view outside during the hour he was sitting up in bed.  The man in the other bed began to live for that hour when the color and activity of the world outside was described to him.  He could picture the lake with ducks swimming, the flowers, the children playing, and the exquisite details depicted for him by his friend in the bed by the window.

            One morning the nurse found that the man by the window had died peacefully in his sleep and the attendants took his body away.

            A short time later the other man asked to be moved by the window.  He wanted desperately to see the beauty outside that had been described to him is such detail.  He raised himself slowly and painfully on an elbow anticipating the scene outside.

            He was shocked to see that the window faced a brick wall.  He rang for the nurse and asked her why his friend would have described the wonderful things outside when all that was there was a brick wall. 

            The nurse was surprised by the question and replied that the man by the window was blind and couldn’t see anything outside.  She suggested that maybe the man describing the beauty outside meant to encourage his friend and provide something positive, beautiful, and uplifting for his bedridden friend.

            There are several pieces of wisdom that can be gleaned from that story.  The blind man was able to lift the spirit of his roommate by describing beauty that he himself could not see.   Maybe it reminds us to look for beauty and the positive where it may be difficult to see; perhaps in a chaotic world or in a person.  The beauty the blind man saw came from within him and was projected onto something not so beautiful.  It’s a reminder that we should count our blessing; look for the beauty in the world, focus on the things that money can’t buy, and try to bring joy to others.  The brick wall will always be there. 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to be reminded of these things. 


  1. Replies
    1. It's easy to be distracted from the thins that really matter.

  2. Ralph, did you take these photos? Beautiful job!

    1. We've taken a lot of photos up here. Gayle took some and I took others. I think we both contributed to the photos in this posting.

  3. WOW! That was REALLY SPECIAL. Whether the man by the window did it for himself or for his roommate, it had to be gratifying to both of them.

    We take so much of what God has really given us for granted. The outside beauty he has created, we walk on by without a second glance.

    And I think we do the same with people. We walk right on by without a smile. I'll never forget your Mother saying to "treat each person like it is the last time you will see them".

    I, for one, need to be more appreciative of what I have, what is around me, and the people who come into my life.

    With this Blog, you touch many, make individuals think, and I'm sure, change many lives. Thank you Ralph.

    1. It's interesting - I received more emails that reflect your response than with most posts I've written.

      I can't believe you remember my mother's motto. She lived by it, as you know. My parents had a profound influence on a lot of my friends from those years. Your memories of them are amazing after all this time. Tom and I were fortunate.

  4. I have read that story several times, However...it is always something that we often need reminding of, because it is so easy to get caught up in our daily busy lives and forget to "vision". Those of us who have been blessed with kind, loving and outwardly caring parents, learned how to "pass it forward".and have a responsibility to do so; although I see it as an opportunity and not an obligation. It is just an added joy to have a partner in life, that is on that same page as well.. I too, love Autumn, and your photos are wonderful. My husband is not quite as currently happy about this season, but will be as soon as all our leaves are gone! Judi Day

    1. Judi - Thanks for your well-written comment. Yes. That story has been around for some time, but it seemed like a good time to consider it again.

      I'm with your husband on the leaves thing. My wife keeps reminding me that the leaves are taking over, but there's always a football game on just when I surrender to the obligation to go to battle with the leaves. The football game is only played once, but the leaves will be there tomorrow. I try to keep my priorities straight.

  5. Ah yes, Football~~ which now is on much more frequently...or are there just way more teams? Even our gym has two tent kiosks set up ...inside...with Duck and Beaver stuff, and two HUGE posters on the wall with the teams they play this season and scores. Plus, some sort of contest for members to play...which even my Duck-fan-husband has not taken part in! Go again Giants ;) Judi Day

    1. One of our granddaughters graduated from Oregon and is obviously a Duck fan.