What a Paranoid Homeless Man Taught Me About Unconditional Love

What a Paranoid Homeless Man Taught Me About Unconditional Love - David Matthew Brown

I once had the opportunity to serve at a homeless shelter. It was dinnertime and a line was forming outside. One of the people who ran the shelter asked me to go and see if they wanted anything or needed to talk.

So, I began to walk up the line, asking, “Do you need anything? Do you need to talk?” One by one, either people ignored me or responded, “I’m okay, thanks man.”

Out of the blue, a man in line grabbed me, looked up with bloodshot brown eyes, and said, “God is going to burn us up, the end of the world is here, our sins will be punished, this is the end of the world. God is angry.”

I just listened, mindful of right now, following my breath. I had no idea what to say, if anything. He continued: “No one is getting away with anything, no one. People walk around like no one can see what they are doing, but God can, God can. This is the end.”

He stopped and looked at me. His eyes were full of fear, like a scared little boy in a grown man’s body.

Without a thought in my mind, I looked back at him and said, “I love you.”

I couldn’t believe what I’d said. The man looked at me and started to cry. Under his tears, he said, “Love me?”

I said, “Yes, God loves you and me. I mean we’re brothers on this planet. I don’t know if the world is ending or God is angry. I don’t know. But I would like to think he or she loves us, and I am sure that if God was listening to you as I am right now, that he or she would say, ‘I love you.’”

We hugged, and he cried.

Although I didn’t believe in that gentleman’s God or the world ending or us being punished as a whole, what I did know was this: beyond our stories and beliefs is unconditional love. So, it didn’t matter if we disagreed on the surface. Simply by deeply listening to the gentleman, I was able to meet him with compassion, kindness, and love. I was able to be there for him, completely present and fully focused on what was happening.

This experience taught me that we are connected beyond our stories, beyond our perceptions, and beyond our beliefs of each other, God, and the world. It taught me that the bridge is unconditional love and that unconditional love is found in our listening.

As I listened deeply, there was no story of him and I as separate beings. As I listened deeply, there was only authentic compassion and kindness overflowing from the deep fountain of unconditional love that we both were and are living in, right here, right now. And that, I’ve found, is all that really matters.

"Unconditional love is found in our listening. As I listened deeply, there was no story of him and I as separate beings. As I listened deeply, there was only authentic compassion and kindness overflowing from the deep fountain of unconditional love that we both were and are living in, right here, right now. And that, I’ve found, is all that really matters." ~David Matthew Brown

David Matthew Brown

David Matthew Brown

Dad, Inspirational Speaker On the Heart, Heart Coach, Author of The Book Of Light: The Heart Opening, Blogger on Patheos The Naked Mystic. David was the host of INSIDE OUT radio where he interviewed over 400 guests including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Marianne Williamson, Byron Katie, Gary Zukav, Mystic Matthew Fox, and Michael Beckwith to name a few. David can be reached via his blog.

7 Responses

  1. Marie Benard Marie Benard says:

    that brought tears to my eyes, beautiful

  2. David David says:

    Thank you everyone! Your comments warm my heart! Yes love is the answer. Keep Shining!

  3. Arvind Devalia says:

    What a beautiful story!

    It is such human stories that make us realise just how we are connected – and how the simplest message of love can transform not only the other person but us:).

    Yes, LOVE is all that matters…

  4. Tina F says:

    What a beautiful story about the power of love and being present with the people in front of us. Thank you for sharing this living example of compassion.

  5. Sam Shelley says:

    Wonderful story. When we get out of our mind with the stories that it tells, we see that the only thing that remains is love.

  6. What an amazing story, David! I know what it feels like to say “I love you” to someone who is not only surprised, but in the middle of insulting me. The effect is healing for both people. The one who is loved gets what he really needed, and the one who loves sees that all the suffering in our minds and hearts is really a product of lacking love. Thank you for reminding us of that, David!

  1. May 16, 2014

    […] Here is a feature I wrote on Unconditional Love that recently appeared in REAL US: REAL US […]

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