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Fri, Oct 31, 2014 08:26 PM
Issue of October 29, 2014

A hope note
A hope note
Dr. Wayne Willis reflects on life and hope.


April 02, 2014 | 11:26 AM

Two men in a hospital for the incurably ill shared a room. The man in the bed next to the window sat in a chair each afternoon for one hour to keep fluid from building in his lungs. The other man, whose spinal column was fused, had to spend all day flat on his back.

During the hour each day he was sitting up, the man next to the window shared with his roommate the interesting things he saw going on outside. There was a park out there and, in the middle of the park, a small lake where swans swam, parents and their children sailed toy boats and visitors fed ducks. Day after day he would paint in vivid detail scenes of teenagers throwing a Frisbee, lovers walking arm in arm or children flying multicolored kites. The patient in the other bed would just close his eyes and enjoy imagining those scenes in his mind.

One night, the man next to the window died. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked the nurse if he could be switched over to the bed by the window. She moved him. Soon after she left the room, he managed to raise himself on one elbow high enough to peek over the window sill and get his first look at the park. What he saw instead was a blank wall.

That afternoon he learned from the nurse that the man who had described such wonderful things outside was blind. He could not even see the wall. She suggested: "Maybe he was just trying to help you not get too discouraged."

Logic without imagination can be cold and sterile. Take it from a genius named Einstein who said: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

Dr. Wayne Willis

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