I interviewed a woman last week, and WOW, was her story amazing. She is a lifetime volunteer, always giving, sometimes receiving, and so incredibly humble that she had a hard time reading the article that I wrote about her. One story she told really struck me:
She has volunteered for most of her life and continues to do so, but a compassionate act (to me, a form of volunteering) brought her to live on the island. She was part of the military, stationed in Ontario, when she heard of a single mother asking for help. The single mother, also in the armed forces, was about to be deployed to the west coast, and was desperately asking for a volunteer: would anyone trade postings with her so she could stay with her child and existing support system? The woman I interviewed volunteered to go in her stead, even though she was sacrificing her own home, her own connections and support system. Even though she had to leave a new relationship, a relationship that couldn’t overcome the distance between them.
This was told to me in her quiet voice like it was nothing, and it would have been easy to have taken the story in the way she presented it, like it was no big deal.
But it was a very big deal. That one act of compassion irreversibly changed the lives of at least three people in a massive way, and possibly four if you take the budding relationship into account.
In a world where the audacious gets the story, where the louder and more obnoxious the acts or words are, the more attention they get, I want to put her story forward.
Quiet acts of courage can change the world. None of us are powerless.