When I was a child Good Friday not only meant fasting but also silence. No television, no radio, no records. While I found it highly annoying at the time, I have come to look forward to it as a time for reflection. The issues of love and sacrifice seem topmost in my mind for reflection today. I came across this story and wanted to share it.
The Window 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 outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake, the man said. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Lovers walked arm in arm amid 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. Unexpectedly, an alien thought entered his head: Why should he have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything ? It didn't seem fair. As the thought fermented the man felt ashamed at first. 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 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 less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with 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 it away -- no works, no fuss. 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. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
May we ever strive to make the world a more beautiful place for others, not only those we love but those that life has given us an opportunity to love.
I believe in love. I guess if asked, that is one of the primary ways I would define myself, as someone who believes in love. I would like to think that people who know me and read this or hear this are not surprised by it, that, if they know nothing else about me, they know this.
Is it superstitious to believe in wishes? Rationally, I know that it is but somehow I can’t help myself. Oh, I am not one of those who wish on just anything but I find myself wishing on stars and trains and, well a few other things. This site is interesting, all about what people wish for. As for me, my wishes remain fairly constant but you will never know what they are, at least not from me.
I am almost finished reading A Multitude of Sins by Richard Ford and highly recommend it. It is a great read and perfect for this late winter/early spring although I must admit that it is completely at odds with my world view of love. Still and all, it is like walking down the street at night when the windows are lit and the curtains open; it gives you a brief but intimate glimpse into other lives. I always say that I am not a fan of short stories but this is an example of what the best short stories can provide.
I feel like I should have a macro on my computer “I love Buffalo but” although it would only last a day or two and then expire from overuse. The most recent cause for my, shall we say, enthusiastic use of the macro is the Buffalo News response to a new hotel proposed in our neighborhood. Last night’s public meeting conflicted with a rugby meeting so I was unable to attend. Having seen the plans and being very familiar with the corner in question, however, I anticipated a response that was more enthusiastic than what was reported in the News. Let’s review the premise…take a corner with dilapidated buildings and build a new hotel in an area without any hotels but located right next to the museum district and Buffalo State College. It would provide an opportunity to have visitors come to the neighborhood from out of town to attend the fabulous exhibits, multiple events such as Shakespeare in the Park, Jazz at the Albright in its many magnificent offerings, to shop in the stores and eat at the restaurants. The scale is reasonable, the operator is excellent, the parking will be underground. C’mon guys, either the News has again chosen to take the most negative approach possible or the community has neither imagination nor vision. My money is on the first.
On Friday, I saw the Ben Allison New Quartet at the Albright. I almost didn’t go but was awfully glad I did. Ben Allison is one of those performers who, in addition to making some amazing music, is a delight to watch. His music is thoughtful, witty and engaging. Maybe it was just me but I thought I heard bebop undertones. The Quartet has a new CD coming out in April and, believe me, you want to have it.
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
I have been thinking about that line for a long time. Actually, I have been thinking about it on and off at odd moments since 1975, when I first read it on a card in a shop on Beacon Hill. I bought the card and put it over my dorm room desk. I still have it in a drawer somewhere. Mona Lisa said that February makes her want to knock people’s hats off for no reason. It’s true, of course, this time of year is usually very unsettling. It makes us yearn for …something. It makes us vaguely uneasy, uncomfortable in our own skin and yes, sometimes cruel or at least indifferent which may be worse. It seems, though that this year February is more difficult than usual; more challenging but hopefully ultimately more rewarding. For the time being, however, not even the red tulips on the kitchen window are enough to shake February loose. A change is in the air or will be soon and that is always scary. Maybe at its heart, February inspires fear. Fear of change, fear of a lack of change, fear of being alone, the fear that is intricately tied to involving our lives with those of others. Thanks to Fey Accompli for saying it so well.