A Stranger Saved Me – The #BeACandle Kindness Campaign

When I was in the depths of post-natal depression, even simple things like getting out of bed in the morning required Herculean effort. So when a stranger shared a kind word one day, it shed some much-needed light in a dark place.

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#BeACandle – A kindness campaign to spread light and love in the world. Be a candle.

The world can sometimes feel grey and gloomy. Atrocities, tragedies, death, destruction, fraud, corruption… It’s easy to believe we’re all going to hell in a hand-basket.

And if you’ve got your own personal struggles like I had, it can seem even more bleak.

The transition to motherhood was a tough one in many ways for me. So when my husband went away for work one week and I was literally left holding the baby… Well, I wasn’t exactly dancing a merry jig.

I took her grocery shopping, wanting nothing more than to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible. At the till, Scout refused to remain sitting in the trolley so I had to take her out. And so began the stress of unpacking everything onto the belt, re-packing it and paying at the other end, and all while keeping one eye on my tiny toddler to make sure she wasn’t about to start sprinting.

Mercifully, she remained by my side while I tried to juggle eleventy things at once.

Just then, the lady behind me in the queue complimented Scout’s behaviour. I thanked her, but was too frazzled to pay any real attention, quickly dismissing it as a polite but throwaway comment.

But she continued. “She’s a credit to you.”

I was stunned. I thanked her again, and waited until I’d left before heaving huge sobs of gratitude.

That lady had no idea I was silently coming apart at the seams, but her kindness helped stitch some of me back together.

Just as a candle loses nothing by lighting another, it took no effort for her to be nice but it brightened my day when I was expecting nothing but darkness.

#BeACandle Quote – Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Nowadays, I try always to be a candle. To lighten someone else’s load, to ease their burden, to mend the bits of them that are broken…

When someone feels stuck under a dark cloud, I try to shine a rainbow across their sky.

The hardest part is doing it for those who don’t appear to be drowning. Sometimes grief and suffering is silent, and it’s easy to overlook those who seem fine. But often, those are the people who most need to know that they matter.

That day in the store, Scout and I must have seemed like a perfect little pair. I was quickly and efficiently packing my reusable bags with organic produce (because I drove myself crazy trying to ensure my daughter only had the best). And Scout stood there silently, making a mockery of me while I tried to explain to a stranger that she wasn’t always as still.

Regardless of appearances, that stranger made a kind remark.

  • At a time when I felt almost frantic, she made me feel capable.
  • At a time when I felt invisible, she acknowledged me.
  • At a time when I thought I couldn’t take much more, she made me feel like I could keep going.

None of us knows the burdens others bear, nor the impact our words will have, so while it’s imperative to be kind to those we can see are struggling, it’s also important to be kind to those who seem to have it all together.

When you go through hell and come out the other side, it’s those moments you reflect on. You realise that those gentle words and kind gestures were the breadcrumbs that eventually led you back to yourself (even when you didn’t know you were lost).

Be the candle that brightens someone else’s day. Say or do something nice, because you never know who will carry your kindness in their heart and use it to light up their soul.

Sometimes a kind word is all it takes to save someone.

#BeACandle Quote: Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. ~ Bob Kerrey

Right click on the images below (or hold down on them on your mobile device) so you can save them and share them. It could be to a friend, a family member, a colleague, or a complete stranger. If you want, you can remain anonymous by printing the relevant ones and leaving them in someone’s mailbox or on their desk, or slipping one under their door.

Or leave one in a public place for someone else to find, perhaps on a seat on public transport, on a park bench, pressed between the pages of a library book…

They range from sweet to silly, and I've included a blank one so you can add your own message.

If you want, you can snap a picture of where you've placed it. Share it on social media using #BeACandle to spread the word, inspire others, and so I can give you a virtual high five.

#BeACandle Quote: Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are. ~ Harold S. Kushner
#BeACandle Quote: Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. ~ Barbara De Angelis
#BeACandle Quote: Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. ~ Bob Kerrey
#BeACandle Quote: Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ~ Scott Adams
#BeACandle Quote – Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers. ~ Kahlil Gibran
#BeACandle Quote: Kindness is a gift that everyone can afford to give. ~ Unknown
#BeACandle Quote: You look lovely today. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: You're doing a great job. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: You're a good friend. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: You're my kinda crazy. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: If I saw you on the street, I wouldn't pretend not to see you. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: You're better than _____. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: You're the only person I'd answer the phone to. ~ HowToGYST.com
#BeACandle Quote: [blank] ~ HowToGYST.com

Each of us can #BeACandle.

And together, we can light up the world.


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4 Comments

  1. What a beautiful story and sweet lesson for all of us. Thank you for sharing!

  2. You inspire me, thank you!
    I was the recipient of much kindness last week when I missed my plane out of London City Airport. I was sent back to check-in to make arrangements for a new flight by a very sympathetic woman who gave me her name and told me who to talk to. At check-in, her colleague very efficiently checked tons of options and eventually handed me a boarding pass – at no charge. The flight was about to depart. I ran to the flight, bypassing the security line by another friendly person who put me at the front. On board, I met a couple of brothers with the same final destination. At flight destination we had to run to catch a train , so they waited for me to help carry my bag, enabling all of us to make the train. Then they shared their sandwiches and water with me.
    The next day was a normal work day. On the bus home an elderly, drunk man waving a beer was being avoided. He was displeased when I sat next to him, but slowly started talking about his life and family. When he realised I was listening and responding, I could see a change come over him, a gratefulness at being treated with dignity where none could be expected. Oddly, this isn’t normal for me – usually I’m focused inwardly on my thoughts and move with anonymity in the city, as many do. Possibly an after-effect of having been treated with kindness myself…?

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