“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.”
― Roy T. Bennett

The tears were so blinding and the pain in my chest so deep at that moment, that when I think back on that day,  I can’t remember the first words she said to me.

Sitting outside of the Vanderbilt Cancer Center, a woman I’d never met—a complete stranger—sat next to me on the bench and scooped me up into her arms.

She wrapped me close to her chest as I wailed and cried into her shirt.

Tears and snot and everything, all over her clothes.

She didn’t flinch. She simply said soothing words and continued to hold me with so much unconditional love.

“Who is it? Who are we going to pray for? What is this person’s name?” she asked.

We prayed for my mother. My mom’s doctor just shared that she was on (very, very short) borrowed time.

Probably weeks.

Maybe a month or so.

We’d just been told that there wasn’t anything else that could be done.

I still feel the pain of the memory now as I write this. But I also feel the love of this woman whose name I don’t know. I don’t even remember her face.

But I remember love.

I remember kindness and compassion.

I remember her light.

And I will never forget it.

I’ve had so many teachers. Absolutely, my mother included. And I’ve also had teachers in the form of the love and kindness of a stranger.

I will likely never see this woman again. But this short moment in time changed me forever.

There is no kindness too small.

We have the power to show kindness, whenever we choose.

Because love is our nature.

Let’s not forget.

Learn to light a candle.