I was sat having my morning coffee in a cafe that I visited almost every day throughout my early twenties.

I had never felt worse than I did on this particular day, yet to look at my expression you probably wouldn’t have known it.

Life was rock bottom, unthinkable thoughts were circulating around my mind faster than I could process them. If ‘coping’ lived in the North Pole, I’d planted my flag in the South.

For the previous few months, I had noticed an elderly lady feeding seeds to the birds in a churchyard opposite where I was sat.

We’d never spoken nor even looked at one another, yet I’d always noticed her, patiently feeding and caring for these birds, and had often wondered what her story might be.

This particular morning, I didn’t notice her until she was stood in front of me. Her face was worn and marked by wrinkled skin betraying a lifetime of exposure to bleak winters and hardships untold.

Some things stand out because they don’t belong, like a flower in full bloom in the midst of winter. Her face was old and haggard, yet when she looked at me, I was stunned by her eyes, that were clear and youthful.

And then, she whispered four simple words.

‘It will be alright.’

That was it.

Then, she turned to feed the birds she fed every morning, and I never saw her again.

She spoke only four words to me, yet influenced my life more than people that have spoken hundreds of thousands. She chose her words wisely.

She could have said ‘cheer up, it might never happen’ or ‘You look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders’.

But she didn’t. She said ‘It will be alright’. And, in doing so, planted a seed that would grow into a powerful belief.

Kindness matters. Words matter.

Even a stranger can change a life if they use the right ones.

This lady may not know that she had such a profound impact on my life, but then again, maybe she does.

Taken from Transform for Life by Daniel and Alexandra Bartlett.

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