The Kind Stranger

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In Powerchange we have all sorts of interesting ways to help people have a better quality of life, and here’s a new exercise I’d like you to test for me.  It’s called The Kind Stranger and it works by readjusting your thoughts as you read it. Notice what it does to you emotionally over the next few minutes or days, and ‘leave a comment’ (above) so we can know how it is working for you.  If it ‘works’, pass it on to your friends – even Facebook it for me! Here it is …

You know those times when you feel ‘needy’- alone maybe, inadequate somehow, or unresourced? It was at such a time as this that the kind stranger turned up. It was a completely unexpected encounter, and one that changed me. He just came up to me, smiling, and although to start with I was a bit suspicious I quickly realised he was a genuinely good person, and his intentions towards me were healthy – pure – and good.

What he said was good too.  So very good.  He fed me, deep in my soul, and it was only later that I realised how much I had benefited from his kindness. “Excuse me,” the kind stranger said, “I hope you don’t mind me coming over to you, but I notice that you seem to feel alone and, dare I say it, in need somehow.” He disarmed me with his gentle tone of voice and obvious respect. His honesty was refreshing, although a little unnerving, and enabled me to be honest too. “Yes,” I admitted. “It is a bit like that at the moment.”

“May I take just a few minutes to help?”  He was so direct, and although I had so much to busy myself with, I knew I must stop and listen to him. We found somewhere to sit down, and he, this smiling kind stranger, addressed me personally.

“What do you need to hear someone say to you today?”

It was such a surprising line it took me off guard, and I could feel a lump in my throat. I wanted to get away, yet I knew this was important. He was obviously in no rush, waiting quietly for my reply. He watched me attentively – kindly – as his words sank in, slipping under my defences.  I mentally ran through a few superficial replies but knew I must be honest in return. I thought of the one thing I’ve longed for someone to say to me, but simply couldn’t voice it. It was lodged, stuck in my heart.

“That’s right,” he said.

Had he read my mind? I thought of some more.

“And those are good too.”

With a tender transparent authority the kind stranger told me clearly, gently, confidently, things I needed to hear. And something inside me change for ever.  How did he know? (For he certainly did.)

” May I put my hand on your arm?” he asked. Shocked, I reached out towards him, and he respectfully held my arm just above my wrist. It was such an important touch – firm, reassuring, filled with the rich tenderness of loving human contact. I loved him for it. Skin-food for my soul. I felt a deep confidence come from his hand  into my body.

“You know,” he said wisely, “we could meet right here every day or every week in person and I could say these things to you. It would be very resourcing and up-building for you. But I’ve got a better idea: I want you to listen to my voice now, saying and repeating these things you need to hear, deep inside you. Listen to my voice deep in your heart.” He paused as he noticed me do what he suggested. “It is me, isn’t it!” He chuckled, and continued, “And then, every day, even though I will not be with you physically as I am now, I want you to feel my hand on your arm like this and hear my voice reminding you of them –and all the other things you’ve forgotten that you need. Hear the words you needed someone to say to you when you were a child, a teenager, and at those other moments of your life when you felt alone, lacking confidence and direction. I’ll say them – listen out for me. You will hear my voice inside you and I will say them. They are the truth. And when you’ve learned how to listen to me, tell others about your encounter with me and help them to listen. So from today on I’ll be with you forever – and with them too if they want me!”

And he is. Whenever I sense I need him, he’s there… here. Every day. I feel his warm hand on my arm as I write, his confident touch relaxing me, feel his strong arm around my shoulders, hear his wholesome, rich voice, full of endorsement, encouragement, kindness and love reminding me of what I need to hear. I listen to him every day now, and he’s no longer a stranger.

Andrew tells the story personally on youtube – with one or two little extras…

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No comments

  1. Hi Andrew

    Did you write this post especially for me? As I started to read it I burst into tears (something I very rarely do) and kept crying all of the way thought it..

    I’ll let you know how I am in the next few days.

    Thank you

    Patrick

  2. Afternoon Andrew!

    I love the blogg, it brought a tear to my eye, its very gentle …… made me think about God when he seem so close but yet so far…. wonderful I will read it when I have “dip days”

    Renee xx

  3. Hi Andrew,

    This is such a wonderfully written narrative. I am sure we can all put a name o the tender stranger.

    I would know him as Jesus and all the things I need him to say to me are right there in my Bible (his word) whenever I need them. How wonderful a friend.

    God bless.

    Your friend.
    Charles.

  4. Hi Andrew, just finished my third chemo session & although surrounded by the people I love & who love me, I can & often do feel very alone on the inside. This post has reduced me to tears as it is exactly what I need, right now! I shall take these wise words with me & use them every time I sink to that low & lonely place.
    Thank you & God Bless xxx

  5. Debbie, there’s nothing quite like hearing the voice of the Kind Stranger in low and lonely places. Those are the places I seem to listen most attentively, and the words change me for the better.

    It’s touched you and will touch more. Spread the message to your friends – the world needs to hear those kind gentle words.. Andrew

  6. The Kind Stranger might even have a slight Belfast accent … or was that my imagination? Thanks for your comment, Charles. I know you’ll keep listening. Andrew

  7. Hi Andrew
    Wow, what a fabulous story; I was reminded how good you are at telling stories – great to hear this powerful one!

    It was just what I needed for a “time such as this!” and bought a tear to my eyes. It was so good to be reminded that the kind stranger (who to me is Jesus) is always there to encourage and coach me in my daily walk.

    Bless you loads.
    Denise

  8. Hi Andrew

    I forget that sometimes, and I as I sink deeper and deeper, feeling so lost and alone, I feel that I’m drowning.

    Thanks for the reminder that the ‘Stranger’ speaks the words I need to hear – words that encourage, affirm and lift me up.

    Better push up now and get sone air!

    All blessings to you.
    Sade

  9. Andrew thank you for sharing. Three things; Jesus, the holy spirit and Powerchange.

    Reading about the kind stranger gives me reassuarnace that I am not walking alone and to be able to remember that, i have clicked it in.

    Reminds me to be generous and not to hold back from sharing what the kind stranger has given me. because just like myself, there are people who need to hear the voice of a kind stranger but don’t know how to do it.

    In my view, Powerchange(Andrew and Roy) is a kind stranger because they have walked besides me and continue to do so.

    Thank you kind stranger

  10. Hi, Sade.
    Lost and alone are NOT NICE feelings. I sometimes wonder whether the Kind Stranger could bring together little groups of people he relates to and link us up so we can encourage one another – and get some essential human hugs too! (See today’s post: The Hug) Maybe he’s already thought of that. You’re not alone, by the way. It’s just that it feels like it sometimes. The Kind Stranger probably knows what it feels like to be lonely. I’ll ask him sometime. Andrew

  11. You’re welcome, Sandra. We’re only doing a little of what we’ve learnt from the KS stories. When you’ve listened to a few stories about him over the years it is almost as if he is real. And then of course it is only one more step to doing what he does – in our own little way of course. Glad you’re enjoying it. Let the story go where it needs to inside you.
    a.

  12. Thank you for a well narrated story that brings my kind stranger to life. He can be and is indeed always present when we listen. I felt warm and reassured that the kind stranger is for me not against me. Even when he’s not there (seemingly). Funny though as the image first reminded me of experiences in the past when a male figure like that was trying to suffocate me in my sleep, and it felt very real at the time. I’m enjoying the story knowing who he is to me and I certainly want more of him. Thank you Andrew, thank you Roy, thank you PC and all the comments so far.

  13. Aha. It’s amazing how new information about strangers – that this one is truly kind, as well as the many other positive attributes he has – can rewire some of the beliefs people pick up about strangers in general. Although in our early years we assume everyone is going to be kind to us (perhaps a neurological propensity to help us survive?) we are soon taught that strangers mustn’t be spoken to. Then we wonder how it is that society becomes more isolated and suspicious. In my trips abroad I’ve discovered that what you put out there you get back. I love imitating the Kind Stranger and guess what: people have been so kind to me. There are a few who haven’t met anyone quite like the Kind Stranger yet, so live with a less than faith-filled attitude. Let’s show them what’s possible! By the way, have you read the other KS chapters, or watched the videos? Go on, treat yourself!

  14. Hi Andrew,
    I am so glad I have become acquainted with your blog.
    This is really beautiful, written and narrated in only a way Andrew Sercombe could.
    I remember when you read this story during the class of 2007/08, it indeed was so real to me then as it is now. I clicked it into place then and is still so there…thank God for people like you who so positively look and speak and act like this KIND STRANGER.

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