I spoke to a lady today who made all the difference to me. In the midst of the chaos and business that is my daily routine, I took the time to listen to her story. As we were talking, I sensed that she was a lonely soul that had this little voice that longed to be heard and valued. I didn’t know if I would be able to help her or not, but I listened. That was one thing I was certain I could do for her.
She told me about her life. She is experiencing such heartbreak and tragedy. She is feeling lost and alone. Life as she knew it will never be the same, and here she is, trying to find herself, trying to find her way, trying to find her place in her little corner of the world in the face of an impossible mountain of grief.
As I listened to her tiny voice tell her story weighed with such sadness, she cracked some jokes. She apologized, saying that she was trying to be the reason for a laugh in a time of such sorrow in her heart. She chuckled at her words, and even in her laugh I could hear so much pain. I felt that pain for her and every ounce of my being wished that there was more I could do for this woman.
At the end of our conversation, she asked for my name. Through my silent tears, I managed to choke out, “Hayley. My name is Hayley.”
I could hear her smile through the phone. Her soft little voice said to me, “Hayley, I just want you to know how much your kindness means. You are the only one who has listened to me, as I don’t have anyone to talk to these days. When you rest your head to go to sleep tonight and you reflect on your day, I hope you smile knowing that your tender heart touched mine. You made a difference in my life today. You and I will never meet, and yet, I will never forget your kindness.” I was shocked, because she had it all wrong. She was the one who touched my heart. Her soft voice was full of such sorrow and strength, and I will never forget this conversation. I will always remember this woman I never had the honor of meeting.
12 minutes. That’s how long my conversation lasted with this stranger. In that short amount of time, she taught me a lot. She taught me that kindness matters. That compassion matters. I think that this concept gets lost in the madness that is life. There will be times when you will feel unappreciated. That your actions will go unnoticed. That you will question your purpose and the significance of your impact on others. In those trying times, you cannot let those instances tarnish your soul and your drive to radiate kindness in this life because it matters more than you know. Often times, it will go unsaid, and you won’t know how much your kind heart means to someone, but that’s what being humble is all about. It’s about being quietly compassionate.
Someone once told me, “I cherish you for the quietly compassionate person that you are.” This has stuck with me ever since, because I have always been perplexed by that statement. At the time, I even took it as an insult, thinking the person was calling me a pushover. Until now. Being quietly compassionate is about caring about people and being that light for others regardless of the weight of the world that insists that compassion doesn’t make a difference because it does. It makes ripples and waves, bounds and leaps. It speaks softly and it speaks volumes. It matters.
Your kindness matters.
So now, I have to ask you.
When you lay your head down at night, and you reflect on your day, will you fall asleep with a smile knowing that your kindness has touched someone’s heart?