Great Stories!!
Things to make you think and reflect upon!

[The Window]   [Attitude is Everything]   [Remember When?]

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. 

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 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 real world outside.  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." 

Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. 
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. 

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy... 

...and have a wonderful day!

submitted by Elliot, 2/02

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Attitude is Everything!!
Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate.....

He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say.  When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant.  The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude.  He was a natural motivator.  If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it!  You can't be a positive person all of the time.  How do you do it?"

Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today.  You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.'  I choose to be in a good mood.  Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it.  I choose to learn from it.  Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.  I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.  "Yes it is," Jerry said.  "Life is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice.  You choose how you react to situations.  You choose how people will affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good or bad mood.  The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said.  Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business.  We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers.  While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination.  The robbers panicked and shot him.  Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident.  When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins.  Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied.  "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die.  I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared?  Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great.  They kept telling me I was going to be fine.  But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.  In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.'  I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry.  "She asked if I was allergic to anything.  'Yes,' I replied.  The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply..  I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!'  Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live.  Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.  I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

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Remember When?
Life does not stand still, but many older folks wish it would. Many older folks long for the "remember when..." days--the days when they felt as invincible as we do today. 

This "Top 10" helps us to honor and connect to the older folks we love so much.

1. Honor their wisdom.
Bottom line here is life is a tremendous teacher. They have been learning a lot longer than we have.

2. Listen with your heart.
Not unlike us, older folks want to not only be heard, but really listened to. If you listen well enough, you can hear the message that they want YOU to have things in life that they never had. They are trying to tell you HOW. Listen.

3. Laugh with them.
It happened one Sunday. Out of the blue, yet not unexpectedly. There was Grandma standing in the kitchen dressed for church with her purse on one shoulder, a dainty linen hankie in one hand, wearing her bra on the outside of her dress. A time for hugs and laughing and patience.

4. Hear their stories.
Our lives are stories. Connecting people and places and years. The stories hold a person's life, dreams, successes, challenges, wins, defeats, and triumphs. An older person's stories are about what made them who they are. This is the WHO they still want for you to know and be with.

5. Trace the lines on their face.
The lines are memories. See the smile lines around their eyes? Those you put there with the antics of your childhood. See the lines and marks on their hands? They came with washing dishes thousands of times, making beds, putting up the holiday decorations, assembling bicycles, building sandcastles with you. Honor your loved ones for what those lines represent.

6. Know that older people are you. Later.
They ask themselves... "Wasn't it just yesterday I was that new bride, that new mommy, bought that first home, led that boy scout troop up the hiking trail, baked a zillion cupcakes as homeroom mother, drove the children to after-school activities, saw them hit home runs at high school games, packed them up for college, met their 'one and onlys,' walked them down the aisle of white, held my first grandchild? Where has the time gone... Who have I become? It seems like just yesterday..."

7. Understand the impact of loss.
Aging involves loss. A lot of loss. This may include loss of independence, loss of friends, loss of bodily
functions, loss of power, loss of their own home, loss of memory, loss of keen vision, loss of energy, loss of time, loss of hope, loss of a long future ahead, loss of skills, loss of life partners, loss of potency, loss of intimacy, loss of privacy, loss of familiar routines.

8. See the stubbornness as fear.
Imagine what it might be like to enter a roomful of people at a party. Sounds like fun, right? Well, not so fast. The noise sounds like a wind tunnel because your hearing device doesn't function optimally in noisy, open areas. You are told that "everyone you know will be there," but deep inside you know that you can't remember their names. You can't even see well enough to watch them walking towards you which might give you time to TRY to remember...if you only could. And you can't remember for the moment who brought you here, so you feel some anxiety about when and how you are getting home. feels easier to just stay home.

9. Show them the pictures.
Nothing is as powerful for the human memory as a photograph.  Take the time to sit with the ones you love. Show them the pictures. Watch their eyes dance and come alive. The remote memory storage areas will be jump-started and once again you will be blessed with another story revealing their soul.

10. Hold them close.
This part is for you. There will come a time down the road when they and you won't be there to touch and hold. Do it now.

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