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The Smallest Kindness

It was the smallest kindness that saved me. In 2007, about to graduate college, I exploded. A man, who told me he loved me, and my best friend, had fallen into bed together. Neither accepted responsibility, both tossed the blame around like a hot potato. Just two days prior to the discovery of the two of them snuggled in bed; I received a scary call from the doctor. They needed to operate, and I was terrified. I did not share my pain, I held it, like sandpaper on my soul. Their betrayal coupled with a medical situation left me feeling like a balloon without a string. I felt lonely, desperate, and untied.

My minor in college was Religious Studies and one of the leaders we were studying resonated with me. He was a Christian, a man who was accepting of a variety of alternative lifestyles that most mainstream Christianity was not. The reasoning behind his acceptance? He said he could not imagine a God who was unloving, and he could not imagine a God who did not accept people exactly as He created them. Inspired, I wrote his secretary an e-mail (I could not find his online), telling him my personal pain, thanking him for his sweetness.

I did not expect him to even get the e-mail, let alone respond. He did. He thanked me. He told me my kindness inspired him and that he hoped we could meet one day.

That was all I needed. His peace gave me some. He reminded me that I am in fact allowed to misjudge, to make mistakes, and that I should allow myself the grace to forgive my own humanity. I do not know where he is anymore, but I hope this story finds him. That would be my miracle—I pray he knows what he did. This stranger’s kindness allowed me to breathe in, and carry on.


ruth_terry's picture

Hi Kate, Thank you for

Hi Kate,

Thank you for sharing this very personal story. You have highlighted a few of what I feel are the best aspects of the Christian faith: acceptance, kindness, and grace. Isn't it interesting, as women, how hard it sometimes is to show ourselves the grace we would show other people?

I am very sorry you had to live through this betrayal, and I hope your medical situation has been resolved. But I rejoice with you in being able to experience the miracle of a kind word, and commend you for using your words to set the stage for another miracle. I hope this man finds your story too!


"A writer’s job is to tell stories that connect readers to all the people on earth... Passionate and well-articulated ideas can and do change the world." ~~Mary Pipher

akaneko's picture

Dear Kate, I think your story

Dear Kate,

I think your story is so powerful precisely because it is often the smallest things in life that can mean the most. We all find comfort in different places when we feel we are at our lowest points in life. The kindness and acceptance of others can be liberating, as it was for you when you received this man's reply to your email. By sharing your story of forgiving your own humanity, I think you will inspire others to do the same. I know that after reading your post, I felt an immediate connection to your story and found comfort and strength in your words. I wish you the best and hope that this man somehow finds this story.


pheebsabroad's picture


Sometimes, I think faith is thrown around without real understanding of the principals behind it. To me a key principal of faith and your ability to speak about the personal pain you suffered and your ability to let go shows great grace.


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