What if our purpose in life has nothing to do with what we achieve?

What if our purpose is to make a difference in someone’s life without knowing we made any difference at all?

I was really touched when I read the article, Oprah Reflects on the Act of Kindness That Changed Her Life: “I’ll Take It to My Grave”.

It reminded me of the story of a 5-year-old girl. To this day, when I think about this little girl’s story it brings tears to my eyes.

This little girl was a shy and quiet young soul. She grew up in a home with parents who loved her very much but they didn’t know how to show love or compassion.

One day this little girl was sent outside to play with her sister and the other kids. They were playing a game of tag and one of the neighbourhood girls was known to be quite the bully.

The bully decided that she was going to teach the young, shy girl a lesson and hit her in the head with a stick that had a nail in it.

The little five-year-old girl ended up in the emergency room to get stitches in her head.

This shy soul was sitting all alone on a cold, big stretcher waiting for her stitches.

All she could see was black because she had a cloth over her face to create a sterile field for the stitches.

As she sat in the dark, terrified and alone, a hand reached out and gently began stroking her.

A nurse that seemed to have arisen from heaven, sat with this little girl. The nurse didn’t say much other than telling the little girl that she was not alone and that she wouldn’t leave her.

The little girl didn’t feel all alone anymore. She could feel the love and kindness coming from the nurse although she never saw her face. She had no idea what she looked like, but that didn’t matter. It was about how she felt. She felt compassion for the first time in her young life.

The seeds of compassion had been watered and it changed her life.

Years later, this shy and quiet girl became a nurse.

When someone asked her, “What made you become a nurse?”

The nurse replied, “Because when I was a little girl, it was the kindness and love of a nurse that helped alleviate my suffering. At that moment, she changed my life and will likely never know the impact it had on me.  It’s because of her that I became a nurse.”

This story about the little girl that became a nurse was my story.

It’s how I know to the depths of my soul that compassion heals people. It is a way of being that links our souls together.

When that nurse sat with me, I didn’t feel pity- because pity doesn’t feel like compassion. I felt of sense of we’re in this together and that I’m not alone. She wasn’t there to fix it; she was there to be a loving presence because she too has experienced suffering and knew what it felt like.

In those moments when I get confused about the purpose of life, I reflect back to that moment in the emergency room.

It was a small act of compassion that changed the course of my life.

Was there an act of kindness that had a big impact on your life?