The Homeless Sermon

photo of woman looking at the mirror

I once met a man at a local Starbucks. He was out of his mind.


He was at Barnes & Nobles, sitting in the cafeteria, and talking to himself. He had long, yellow nails that stuck out like stained rocks weathered by corroding winds. Now, most people tend to think: “Do not talk to this person; they may kill you.” Well, good, because I may have a death wish on occasion, as do all of us. Without that death wish in place, we are categorically putting ourselves in the realm of uneducated stew. So, I decided to talk to him. Yes, I grabbed a cup of coffee, left my little cubby area, and approached him. I sat down in front of him and the first thing he said was simply: “I don’t trust you.” As much as that would scare any conventional human being, I decided to use my Life Coaching skills to deescalate the situation (and avoid being murdered).


All eyes were on me now, no longer him. I noticed he was reading a Bible, with the sticker still on. He had a cup of water, prescription glasses, and seemed quite off his rocker. However, how would a man who thinks he is preaching to a group of 40,000 others (as we will touch upon shortly) be so insane that he is still able to order a cup of water, own prescription glasses, and know how and where to look for the Bible section? Well, simple answer after all: he was not insane in my eyes. He was merely a product of psychosis, which is not, in my honest opinion, a symptom of craziness. We all seem to think that “crazy people” are not to be spoken to, and that is the problem with our society. We tend to frown upon anything unconventional. Though I would say that this is far and widely-transcending of “unconventional,” I decided I would give this fascinating man a chance.

And so, I used my Psych skills!


You heard right. This man told me he was preaching to a room of 40,000 of his followers. In fact, the conversation I did have with him was mostly religious in nature, but I was actually gathering info on a fun fact: you can be rather out of your mind and still maintain enough sanity to order a glass of water and buy a Bible. Anyway, he told me he was searching for the lost of the innocent. It reminds me of the movie: “Split” by M. Nigh Shyamalan, where the man is trying to gain the attention of a chronic schizophrenic. So, I sat there, listened, spoke about my own experiences with a Bible (mind you, I am not devout but I do believe in something out there, in whatever form it may shape itself), and then when he went back into his little crazy stupor, I left and told the man who was eavesdropping on us the entire time: “I was just curious.”


I wanted to show you that you can learn a lot of new things from the insane. In fact, as once said by…well, me: “I am so caught up in trying to make people feel normal that I forget how interesting the abnormal is.” In other words, what was I doing here? I was learning that looks can be deceiving. I was also engaging in an experience, as we touched bases on in a previous post. We need these experiences to grow, to learn, and to socially dissolute our barriers as human beings. After all, we all belong to the same earth; we all dawned from the same sub-species; we all live on this planet, and we need to learn to get along. When you see a crazy homeless man talking to himself, the first thought you may have is: “This man is crazy.” I guarantee you that every time, you are correct. The effects of living on the street can cause madness, but why is this so advertently frowned upon? What is so wrong with being crazy? After all, all of the best people usually are. As said by Alice from “Alice In Wonderland:” “Yes, Mad Hatter, you are insane. But guess what? All the best people are.


We fail to acknowledge the interesting facets of our society. When you see an opportunity, as we discussed previously, we have to take it with every ounce of our existence. You have to say: “yes” to open the doorway to new learning and new behaviors. Though I honestly do not condone walking up to every homeless man you meet, my main point here is simple: you may think they are different than you, but they are surely not. Human behavior, in whatever form it may come (insane, sane, novel, sanctimonious….), is fascinating! Have you ever looked up how the homo erectus emerged? The tale of how human beings developed is wonderful, and I urge you to look deep into your soul and to energize yourself enough to take a look at how remarkably similar we all are. We all talk to ourselves, just like this man; we all have moments where we enjoy life, and other times where we do not; and we are all on this earth. Next time you see a homeless man, think!


I do it all the time. As human beings, we have a duty to help those who are around us. As a Life, Career and Business Coach, I have found that helping others (even those who may not want or need the help) is essential to our survival. When we were cavemen, we knew we had to hunt in packs or we would surely die of starvation. Human interaction, therefore, is the intravenous nature for us to socially adapt ourselves to a changing society. Every day, things change. We see Cuban embargos; we see pandemics spreading across borders…but we fail to see the true meaning of all of these experiences. They are not losses; they are merely opportunities to live life to the fullest, and when I sat down and spoke with this man, I gained a deeper appreciation for those belittled by society. Be careful who you talk to, as not everyone has this mentality. I tried helping a woman pack her groceries into her trunk and she stared at me like I was crazy. In fact, she reacted to fear.


Essentially, take care of each other; take care of yourselves. We can help you if you feel you need it, but I honestly do not feel everyone agrees with it. Yes, we all need social interaction; it is a fact. We all need to communicate; we all need to learn. These opportunities emerge once in a lifetime, and when I sat down and learned that this man thought he was in a room of 40,000 people listening to his sermon, I had a revelation! That revelation was simple: help one, save a thousand. You never know how far the impacts of your actions and the ripples of your behaviors go or reach. In fact, we have to try our very best to adapt as a society. In conclusion? Well, it is a simple one after all: trust in nature, trust in human emotion, and realize that sometimes the best opportunities we choose to learn from come in the form and shape of a man with long, yellow nails and a sermon to preach.

Published by Ryan W. McClellan

Entrepreneur, Author & Business Consultant With A Background In Multimedia & Content Development

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