From Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul

Precious in My Eyes

Ilong to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

Helen Keller

At the age of sixteen, my sister, Cynthia, began working at a small local hospital as a summer volunteer. I would occasionally stop by the hospital and walk her home after her few hours of service.

One day, I arrived at the hospital earlier than usual, so I wandered around until I finally found her in one of the patient’s rooms. As I stood in the open doorway, I saw her sitting on a chair near the bed of one young patient, staring out of the first-floor window.

The young boy, about seven years old, lay flat on his back, both eyes heavily bandaged. I heard my sister describing what she saw from his window. “The sky is clear blue, David. Just below the window is a small garden with clusters of tiny yellow, pink and red flowers and beautifully shaped leafy green shrubs.”

The boy was silent. His facial expressions changed with interest as my sister continued to illustrate the outdoor scene to him. It was as though he could see the world through her eyes.

Suddenly, Cynthia stood up and moved closer to the window to get a better look. She smiled and said with excitement, “A little brown and white spotted terrier just jumped into the garden. He’s sniffing around a bit with his little licorice-colored nose.”

Although I couldn’t see the dog from my vantage point at the doorway, I closed my eyes as Cynthia described the scene. As I listened, I could envision everything.

As she continued her narration, I pictured her words in my own mind. “Now the little dog is running around in circles, stopping at every bush to dig holes. He’s having such fun, David.”

Only once, I opened my eyes to see the expression on the boy’s face when I heard him laugh out loud. Wearing an ear-to-ear grin, his face lit up with excitement underneath the bandage. I smiled, too. Closing my eyes again, I continued to listen.

“Oh, oh,” Cynthia said, “looks like the fun is over. One of the staff just came out and chased our little friend off. He scurried away with a yellow flower clenched tightly between his teeth.”

As the small, spotted thief retreated, I knew my sister was finishing her observation, so I opened my eyes. I took one last look at the happy boy before backing quietly out of the doorway, leaving them alone once more.

When I joined that young boy in seeing the world through my sister’s eyes I found myself looking into her heart.

I waited patiently for my sister at the nurse’s station. She arrived soon after, happy as always. When I asked her how her day was, she gave her standard response, “Good,” while maintaining her smile. I smiled back as we began our walk home.

I said nothing to my sister about what I had witnessed, but she made me see there was much more to her than I realized—she was more precious in my eyes. I know, that with the many small acts of kindness she performed as a volunteer that summer, the hospital had found some of the best medicine for its patients.

Robert C. Fuentes

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