I’m reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach and she writes, “In one of the legends of the Holy Grail, Parsifal, a young knight on a quest, wanders into a parched and devastated land where nothing grows. When he arrives at the capital of this wasteland, he finds the townspeople behaving as if everything were normal. They are not wondering, ‘What horror has befallen us?’ or ‘What can we do?’ Rather, they are dull and mechanical, as if under a spell.

Parsifal is invited into the castle where, to his surprise, he discovers the king lying in bed, pale and dying. Like the land around him, the monarch’s life is waning. Parsifal is full of questions, but because he had been told by an older knight that asking questions was improper for one of his stature, he keeps quiet. The next morning he leaves the castle to continue on his journey, but he hasn’t gone far before he meets the sorceress Kundri on the road. When she hears that he hasn’t asked the king about himself, she goes into a rage! How could he be so callous? He could have saved the king, the kingdom and himself by doing so.

Taking her words to heart, Parsifal returns to the wasteland and goes straight to the castle. Without even breaking his stride, he walks right up to where the king is lying on his couch. He kneels there and gently asks, ‘Oh, my lord, what aileth thee?’ At that moment, the colour comes back into the king’s cheeks and he stands up, fully healed. Throughout the kingdom, everything comes back to life. The people, newly awakened, talk with animation, laugh and sing together and move with a vigorous step. The crops begin to grow and the grass on the hills glows with the new green of spring.”

What does a kind word mean to someone who is suffering? How might it change their day or their life? Without connection, we are treading water in a very big ocean full of strong waves. Especially during the last two years when the pandemic has made isolation something that touches everyone. Knowing that one person cares can be the life raft that makes all the difference.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. To reach out. And to corroborate how those around you are feeling. A person who knows they are loved and validated is richer than any king.