Today I want to share something with you that showed me the difference between love and fear, especially the instinctive power of fear.
Earlier today I went down my local shop to get some lunch and an ice lolly, for its a blistering hot day. As I walked out the shop a shabby, worn, middle aged man approached and asked if I could spare 50p. Sad as it is to admit, my immediate response was ‘no. I have no change, terribly sorry.’ I then rode off on my scooter.
I didn’t get very far because the shame pricked at me. I knew I had some change in my purse. I call myself a spiritual person, yet I’d walked away from someone who probably genuinely needed help. Why did I say no? Quite simply, fear. I was afraid if I’d taken out my purse he’d have snatched it, or used the money for drugs. I’d judged him…but it was more than that. I didn’t want to face what he represented. I didn’t want to be confronted by the pain of someone who may have been so short of money he’d resorted to begging outside shops. It was an unpleasant reality that burst my sunny bubble and I didn’t want to see him.
Anyhow, after a short while, I stopped in the middle of the street and grappled with myself. Silly thoughts like ‘He’ll be gone now’ and ‘I’ll feel bad for the rest of the day’ tormented me until I opened my purse, found 50p, rode back and gave it to the man who was incredibly grateful and blessed me. I left him, my heart feeling as free as a bird, full of song. It makes such a difference to give. It doesn’t even matter if he uses the money for unhealthy purposes – I don’t have control over that, only my feelings and actions. And anyhow, if I judge him for what he does with the money it would be a gesture with conditions attached, not love. Love doesn’t have a definition, it just is.
Of course, I know this doesn’t mean I have to hand out money to every Tom, Dick and Harry! But it does mean trusting when I react out of fear, not love. Many people are struggling financially in the UK at the moment, and I’m sure we are far from unique. I’m fortunate to be managing at the moment, but I’m certainly not forever exempt from the possibility of having no money, food or even no home.
The situation has unsettled and even scared me, particularly as I don’t believe I’m an uncaring person. I’m studying psychology and I know from that perspective how easy it can be for genuinely loving and giving people to be influenced by fear and other collective energies. But it has also shown me how rewarding it is to let love in and know that it may have made a tiny difference to someone’s life. And heck, I sure hope someone would do the same for me.