When I was pregnant with my first child, at 38 weeks, I went to the doctor for a weekly appointment, and the doctor informed me we would be unexpectedly inducing labor that evening.
“Can’t I think about it?” I asked.
“No,” the doctor said, “I’m calling the hospital to schedule you now.”
I knew that labor and birth were coming, but I was uncomfortable with the idea of induction. I left the doctor’s office to head back to work, where I broke the news to my co-workers that I would be starting my maternity leave immediately because I was being induced that night. I was all business, sat down to my computer to tie up the last few loose ends, and was busily rushing down the hall when a co-worker stopped me.
She pulled me into her office and closed the door. She took both of my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said, “are you scared?”
I hadn’t really stopped to think about my feelings, but now that she asked, I nodded with tears welling in my eyes.
“Can I hug you?” she asked. I gladly accepted that hug. It was exactly what I needed at that moment. She then took it a step further and said, “can I pray for you?” At this point, I couldn’t really talk because I was overwhelmed with emotions, but I simply nodded.
She held my hands, we bowed our heads together, and she prayed for me. We had never talked religion before, and I know it’s usually taboo to talk about religion in the office, but she just knew I needed the strength of a higher power that day.
Almost nine years later, when I think back on the acts of kindness people have shown me, this one act of kindness stands out in my mind. I was so focused on what I needed to do at work and what I needed to bring to the hospital that I hadn’t stopped to realize that I was about to embark on a scary and life altering experience. Her compassion to stop me, show love and support, and give me a chance to be vulnerable with her was truly a beautiful act of kindness.
I challenge you to keep this in the back of your mind. If you see someone going through a hard time, remember this story and try to show the compassion and support that person needs instead of feeling uncomfortable with potential awkwardness. These are the moments we as humans were meant to experience.
What memorable acts of kindness have people shown you?