The Crown of Unconditional Love, one young man’s example


“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” Jean Anouilh (Photo from iStock)

Sheldon was an unlikely Homecoming King, yet he was crowned during loud applause and a standing ovation that evening at the high school football game. 

Sheldon spent most of his academic day in a special education classroom. His disabilities kept him from participating in sports. Since he wasn’t in the mainstream of the student body, he was seldom a part of parties and goings on. Also, he was unable to drive so he wasn’t out and about like most teens.

Somehow, though, Sheldon’s bear hugs, the way he excitedly said your name, and his loud hellos worked magic on the students and faculty. So much so that when the evening came to announce the winner from the Homecoming Court, Sheldon jumped in circles and squealed when he won.

Recently, Sheldon posted a belated birthday wish on our son’s Facebook page, some 10 years after their graduation. I noticed he’s working as an associate at Goodwill Industries.

“How appropriate,” I thought. “Our son and his friends are lucky to have him in their lives.”

When reading his message, what struck me is how a decade ago I felt sorry for this young man. I remember being grateful to the students who went out of their way to be accepting, you know, doing him a favor – how they helped Sheldon, rallied around him, and even gave up a popularity contest to allow him to win king for a day.

If I had written this post back then, it would have been about the heart of those students.

Though I’m still impressed by their kindness, what I didn’t recognize was Sheldon was royalty long before that crownInstead of all we did for him, he did us the favor.

I’d love to hear your story if you have a Sheldon in your life.

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Thanks, Sheldon. You set an example for what you do so well, love unconditionally.

Alex, Sheldon & Rusty @ Carolina Forest High
Thanks for sharing this photo, Lyndsey Shelley.


On the side: Sheldon passed away today, September 16, 2012. He posted a birthday wish to our daughter just 17 days ago. She said, “I’m sad, but I think he had a good time while he was here so that makes it a little easier.”

When our son called to tell me, he said, “I don’t think Sheldon ever had a bad day.” That’s probably not true, but what a legacy to leave … to brighten friends’ days so much that they think you never had a bad one.



20 responses »

  1. How appropriate and sweet, this just made me cry. Sheldon never failed to put a smile on my face and he always love me just the way I was.

    • And it looks like he’s going forward just like in high school, loving the world. I appreciate his innocence and his attitude. He so loved you and Rusty. I’m thankful he’s in our lives. And thankful you’re in mine. I love your comments! But loved your tonight’s email even better … made me laugh and laugh.

  2. Love that story! I don’t know Sheldon, but I believe we all come across many Sheldons in our lives. You are absolutely right in recognizing that we often focus on the things we do for them and not realize how much they actually do for us – for our spirits! 🙂

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Anjana. I love your comment. If you ever meet Sheldon, you certainly won’t forget him. He’s one of the bright souls in the world. And you’re so right, he’s good for ours as well.

  4. I have met a few Sheldons as well, just like Anjana. They give you more than you can give them. Thanks for making me remember my days as a Special Olympics coach. I have a big smile on my face now.

    Great post, Kim!

  5. Sheldon was the sweetest and kindest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think all would agree we didn’t vote for Sheldon to let him be king for a day – he truly was a King in our eye and hearts. Never an unkind word unspoken, always positive and had a big hug for you. Like your son said he never seemed to have a bad day. He spread happiness to a all. May he rest in paradise with OUR father he praised and loved so dearly.

    • I’m with you, Misty. No one did Sheldon a favor … we were lucky to know him and to have him lead the way at Carolina Forest High. If we live with just a fraction of the love he spread, all our days will be fuller.

  6. My heart is so heavy for the beautiful soul that the world lost yesterday. I will remember him always bopping down the hallway with the biggest grin on his face. Saying hello whether he knew you well or not. The world would be a better place with more people like him.

  7. always a smile and hug from sheldon we will never forget , i spoke with him through facebook often and always sweet and kind he will be missed by many but his calling to the good lord was indeed needed, hes smiling brighter now and so are the heavens above they just gained an outstanding angel … we love you sheldon moore … always

  8. Sheldon’s carried of glow of pure joy and love for the Lord and everyone he came and contact with. You couldn’t help but love him. He will be missed greatly! It’s rare that you meet someone in life that opens your eyes and makes you see the beauty in every day. THAT was Sheldon.

  9. What a great story, Sheldon made us all want to be better people, while I am deeply saddened by his passing I am forever greatful for the time I got to spend with him

  10. Here’s the message our son wrote:

    I don’t share much on FB, but I wanted to pass this along. It was a real privilege having Sheldon as a friend. His love was truly unconditional and without him in my life I’m not sure I would have understood what that really meant. Thanks Bud.

  11. From Facebook:

    Gail Patricia Crosier, Dara Shelley, Sunny Rowe and 5 others like this.

    Diane Klebanow posted pulls at the heartstrings! we should all have at least one Sheldon in our lives.
    September 17 at 5:45am · Unlike · 2

    Jocelyn Wilhelm posted Nice article you wrote there Kim!
    September 17 at 8:50am · Unlike · 1

    Jana Michelle Greene posted Thank you for sharing that (((Kim)))
    September 17 at 9:03am · Unlike · 1

    Lisa D Tower-Couture posted Oh, Kim….this is so nice… “sniff”…..
    September 17 at 9:39am · Unlike · 1

    Lyndsey Shelley posted Kim, did you see the picture I posted today? Rusty was such a great friend to Sheldon!
    September 17 at 10:53am · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson posted I’m headed to your page now, Lyndsey Shelley. Rusty sure will miss knowing Sheldon’s around, and so will I.
    September 17 at 10:57am · Like

    Sunny Rowe posted Thanks Kim… I read it and shared it forward. How blessed I was reading about Sheldon♥
    September 17 at 11:07am · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson posted Thanks for commenting and sharing, everyone. It was a bittersweet day.
    September 17 at 11:56pm · Like

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