Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One was allowed to sit up in his bed an hour a day to drain fluids 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. And every afternoon when the man next to the window could sit up, he would describe all the things outside the window.
The man in the other bed would live for those one-hour periods when his world would be enlivened by the activity and color of the outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lake, the man by the window said. Ducks played on the water and children sailed model boats. After some weeks the man on his back thought: Why should the man by the window have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything? His resentment turned him sour.
One night the man by the window began to choke on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched as he groped for the help button. He never moved. In five minutes the man by the window was dead. The next day the man asked for the bed by the window. Slowly, painfully he propped himself up to take his first look. He strained to look out the window. It faced a blank wall.
If we regularly think positive thoughts, we will find there is much to rejoice about. Happiness is a matter of choice. It is not a gift that’s delivered to our doorstep, nor does material wealth bring it. If we wait for conditions to get just right, we will never find lasting joy.