Selfless Acts


A young man was rushed to the ER after a severe motorcycle accident. The doctor’s performed an X-Ray and CAT Scans and determined that his neck and back were broken in several different places. After operating on the young man, they put him in a brace and wheeled him into his hospital room where he would stay for the next several weeks, stuck in a brace enjoying the beautiful view of the gray roof.

Now, the man was not alone in the room; his roommate was an elderly man named John, and after a week of sharing the room with this young man, John noticed the young man’s morale was dropping, and with it, the young man’s will to live; the young man entered a state of depression.

In an attempt to distract the young man from his current predicament, John offered to describe what was going on outside the window. “There’s a window over here, and while it overlooks the street, a view of the street sure beats the beautiful view you’ve got.”

So, it became there custom that at every meal, John would tell the young man about the events of the outside world.

One night, several weeks later, the room was particularly noisy; doctors and nurses were rushing in and out. The young man listened, trying to hear what was going on. However, it was impossible to hear the hushed words of the nurses as they scurried in and out, and he finally gave up, succumbing to sleep.

The next morning, the young man awakened to a nurse changing his IV. “You guys were pretty loud last night,” he said, “What was all the excitement?”

The nurse smiled sadly. “Your friend John passed away during the night.”

The young man was shocked. For the two weeks he’d been there, John had become his friend.

After some time, the young man asked, “Do you think you could put me by the window?”

The nurse looked startled, “The window?”

“Yes, the window by John’s bed. The one he used to look out and tell me what was going on.”

The nurse smiled sadly and said, “Your friend John was blind.”

This story was told to me during a priest’s homily at church and has stuck with me since. The ending was definitely not what I expected, but it clearly illustrates how one person’s selfless act can change a life. John’s actions were small compared to the heroic stories you sometimes here in the news, but his actions were just as meaningful. This story reminds me that while I may dream of making a huge impact in the world, it is the simple things in life that matter. For our daily interactions with others will help them on their life’s journey, and can in turn affect how they respond to those around them.

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