We teach our children to be ware of strangers, to never take anything from a stranger, to under no circumstances trust a stranger. And we grow up like that, learning to distrust strangers to not believe in their kindness.
My story is about the kindness of a stranger that completely turned around in the last hour what was to be known as a horrible day. My day started off just as an ordinary day: I woke up, worked out, showered, got ready for work, went to work, and so on. But something just didn’t quite feel right. I was sad, stressed, and anxious all at the same time. I was still doing my job and apparently a pretty good job according to the people around me, but I was elsewhere. It was one of those days when the world was collapsing around me and I was just sitting in the ruins unable to move or change anything. Later that day, I had a presentation a pretty big one I might add and right before it, just a few minutes before entering the room, I got some unsettling news. I remember hanging up the phone and walking in with tears in my eyes, trying to act all professional and not fall apart. I was planning on apologizing and leaving without doing the presentation. I just didn’t have it in me to do a speech in front of a bunch of people. Yet when I walked in, this group of “strangers” greeted me expecting the see the same happy and full of life person they had seen before. With everything in me, with my last ounce of energy, I stood in front of them and delivered my speech. It was a success, everyone was giving me positive feedback, congratulating me, but I was still empty inside. I couldn’t wait to leave, go home, and crawl in my bed.
Then something happened. A gentle man, with a soothing voice, and a kind smile rang a Tibetan bowl. It was the beginning of his presentation. What I didn’t know is that as part of his presentation, he was going to lead us through a few minutes of guided meditation. I don’t know if it was his calming and comforting voice, if it was the emptiness in my heart, or if it was the full moon, but when he rang the Tibetan bowl at the end of it, the heaviness was lifted and I emerged as a new me. Not many people saw the difference, after all I was in a room full of strangers, but I felt it and that was all that mattered.
Maybe he will never understand the immense impact he can have on other people’s lives, maybe none of us do, but in that moment this “stranger” pushed the reset button for me, and things made sense again.
Look at the “strangers” you encounter in your life, what do they give you in a minute that changes your life forever? And remember we were all strangers before we became friends, family, before we loved each other. And who are you a “stranger” to, what do you have to offer from your “stranger” position? What would you like to offer?