Dear Sean:

You are a soul, and souls can be all sorts of things. They can be thoughtful, hardworking, ambitious, easygoing, understanding, or Southern Baptist. Souls have the power to be kind, or to be hateful. 

DEAR SEAN:

I don’t like your writing because you are a dumbass.

Thanks,
I DON’T CARE IF YOU USE MY NAME

DEAR I’M NOT GONNA USE YOUR NAME COME HELL OR HIGH WATER:

Let’s go back in time.

Your mother and father just met. The circumstances which brought them together don’t matter. Your parents feel something for each other.

This feeling is something I want to talk about. A feeling that gets stronger with each heartbeat. A warm, happy, thick, dripping, hot feeling.

Scientists might call it “energy.” We common folk call it “love.”

Whatever you call it, it is an intelligent thing, programmed into the body. A force greater than even your parents.

So one day, inside the dark and hushed womb of your mother, a fertilized embryo floats the white-water rapids of her insides. That loveable little egg manages to attach itself to a uterine wall.

Then, the Little Egg That Could, starts producing NEW CELLS. Each cell the SAME SIZE as its original zygote. And this eventually becomes you.

I know. This is almost too boring to stand.

So let’s use simple language here: one small act of love made YOUR cells appear out of NOWHERE.

In other-other words: you’re a miracle. And it was love-energy that made you.

You are a walking-talking collection of organs, a central nervous system, a conscience, and a receding hairline. Because of love.

You are a soul, and souls can be all sorts of things. They can be thoughtful, hardworking, ambitious, easygoing, understanding, or Southern Baptist. Souls have the power to be kind, or to be hateful.

But as we just discovered, hatefulness goes against your very anatomy. Every cell in your human corpus is made with love.

Every last drop of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, calcium, phosphorus, and interstitial fluid. Love. Love. And more love. You sir, are a steaming pile of love.

The love that made you is in your DNA. That’s not an opinion, it’s biology 101, pal. You carry an entire ancestry inside your nucleotides.

Don’t believe me? Look at your ancestors throughout history. Their offspring survived droughts, floods, flu, starvation, civil wars, hurricanes, tornadoes, disease, and The Lawrence Welk Show.

Something strong held their ancestry together. Some kind of glue. The same thing that holds this soil together.

The same thing that caused your daddy’s daddy’s daddy to fall in love with your mother’s mother’s mother. The same power inside every corpuscle of your body.

So let’s talk about me for a second. I am many things. I’m a necleuic acid sequence encoded as chromosome pairs, wrapped in a mitochondria.

But you can call me Sean. I am the result of John and Janice Sue, who fell in love too young. Whose parents wouldn’t allow them to marry.

My father crawled on steel buildings. My mother worked. Doctors told my mother she couldn’t get pregnant, but she did. And one winter night at 10:06 P.M. I was born.

The same love that made you, made me. Thus, I am not a dumbass. And neither are you. We are sophisticated products of explosive energy that peppers the pea-picking universe. We are miracles of love.

And dammit, we ought to act that way.

Thanks for the letter.

64 comments

  1. Jacquie - November 2, 2017 7:52 am

    Amen!!! You Sir Sean are a genius!!! I love your writings and some day we are determined to meet your greatness in person. Xoxo

    Reply
  2. Susan Hammett Poole - November 2, 2017 7:56 am

    WOW ~ powerfully written and dynamically delivered ~ love it.

    Reply
  3. Melanie Howell - November 2, 2017 8:41 am

    Love it!!!!

    Reply
  4. Ernie Tompkins - November 2, 2017 8:49 am

    You are actually quite brilliant! What a beautifully crafted response. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Patsy - November 2, 2017 8:58 am

    Well! Well!!! That was just awesome👍👍

    Reply
  6. Val Royed - November 2, 2017 9:21 am

    Hey now—–my Grandma and I bonded while watching Laurence Welk—it had its uses! 😬
    Love this!

    Reply
    • Jmwmson - November 11, 2017 7:25 pm

      My father played trumpet in a dance band in his younger years, and he and I enjoyed watching The Lawrence Welk Show, too! Now, regarding that “…daddy’s daddy’s daddy to fall in love with your mother’s mother’s mother…” comment. It sounds like he is his own incestuous cousin! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Sharon Reaves - November 2, 2017 9:56 am

    So impressed with your ability to Rise Above the hate!! Keep on writing, your way. There are those of us who look forward to it everyday.

    Reply
  8. Carole Lea - November 2, 2017 10:42 am

    Beautifully said! I so enjoyed hearing you at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Dothan, AL and I love reading your daily writings. Thank you for making my day better each and every day.

    Reply
  9. Shirley J Brown - November 2, 2017 10:45 am

    It’s ironic that I don’t believe in coincidences, but I’ve always believed in pea pickin’ coincidences. Must be a ‘southern’ thing.

    Reply
  10. candyalso - November 2, 2017 11:28 am

    If you are a dumbass, then we should all aspire to be dumbasses, just like you!

    Reply
    • Joel A Hill - November 2, 2017 11:38 am

      ABSOLUTELY!!!

      Reply
  11. millie pinckard - November 2, 2017 11:48 am

    if you don’t like his writing then don’t read it

    Reply
  12. Virginia - November 2, 2017 11:48 am

    Great answer and I am a loving person, but I’m also a Southern Baptist where I learned about loving even when I didn’t want to. What have you got against them? LOL. (kidding).

    Reply
  13. Suzette Allen - November 2, 2017 11:55 am

    Love. Love. Love. Love. ❤️

    Reply
  14. Patricia Schmaltz - November 2, 2017 11:55 am

    For people like whats-his-toes, I feel pity. They don’t know what they don’t know! Hey, I saw the movie, “The Shack” last night and thought of you. Hubby and I are in a hotel room in Warner Robbins, GA, feeling the thrill (not) of a TV you can watch from the heavily downed bed. Good movie – have tissues close at hand. If you ever make a movie of your life, have Octavia Spencer play you. She can wear a red wig. LOVE her.. and LOVE YOU too!

    Reply
  15. Susan Winnop - November 2, 2017 12:01 pm

    Another masterpiece! I so enjoy reading, pondering and smiling at your writings!

    Reply
  16. Connie - November 2, 2017 12:27 pm

    I just love you. I don’t know why people choose to be mean or rude. My momma always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I think some mommas didn’t get that message across. Have a good day, and keep being you. Most of us love you and look forward to reading your words every day.

    Reply
  17. Jane - November 2, 2017 12:32 pm

    I love you and the fact that you are always encouraging and uplifting …. even to those that cannot help themselves but to be negative and hateful. Keep up the good work and I look so forward to reading your posts every day! Love you to the moon and back!

    Reply
  18. Terri Thorn - November 2, 2017 12:40 pm

    AWESOME–LY written there Sean! I couldn’t agree more myself! Thank You Again! Another GREAT!! 😍😊

    Reply
  19. gary - November 2, 2017 12:40 pm

    Nice capture of the oozing nuanced paradox we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of… starting with womb-time, headed toward eggnog looks like… sweetness!

    Reply
  20. Lucy Thomas - November 2, 2017 12:49 pm

    Why the hell would anybody call you a dumdass?

    Reply
  21. Tim Parker - November 2, 2017 1:06 pm

    What a wonderfully kind reply to such a harsh bitting letter.
    May God continue to bless you sir.

    Reply
  22. Chelsey smith - November 2, 2017 1:09 pm

    Heaping coals much? 😂

    Reply
  23. Gordon - November 2, 2017 1:20 pm

    Awesome answer, Sean!!! You heaped a bunch of love on that person – just like more people should do in our society.

    Reply
  24. Beverly Pennell - November 2, 2017 1:24 pm

    Love ALWAYS wins. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  25. Jon Dragonfly - November 2, 2017 1:37 pm

    Dear I DON’T CARE IF YOU USE MY NAME:
    Look in the upper right corner of this, and every, web page. There’s a big red X. If you don’t like Sean’s writing, click it. If you don’t…..then who’s the dumbass?
    Jon

    Reply
  26. Kathy Burgess - November 2, 2017 1:38 pm

    Goodness, Sean, Did you teach college biology? That was a great answer. I would have just said, “And you, Sir, are an idiot.” Beverly Pennell comment sums it up best.
    Love always wins. I pray every day that Jesus will help me change. I would rather have LOVE as my first response instead of idiot. (sigh) We will always be a work in progress.

    Reply
  27. Sylvia Sykes - November 2, 2017 1:46 pm

    Great response, Sean!

    Reply
  28. Frieda - November 2, 2017 1:48 pm

    You catch more flies with honey……

    Reply
  29. Beki Denison - November 2, 2017 1:50 pm

    If (and that;s a HUGE word to only have 2 letters) you are indeed a dumbass, you are my favorite dumbass! Thanks for showing love everyday by sharing your thoughts and writings with us. You can make even difficult concepts easy to understand and daily situations that many of us never think twice about you cause us to pause and reflect on. Keep it up!

    Reply
  30. Sandra Smith - November 2, 2017 1:59 pm

    MIKE DROP !!! ❤

    Reply
  31. molly - November 2, 2017 2:01 pm

    Love it!!

    Reply
  32. Jacque Kochak - November 2, 2017 2:10 pm

    Do people really write you these notes? Unbelievable!!

    Reply
  33. George Brannen - November 2, 2017 2:25 pm

    nicest kiss my assets i have ever read. well played

    Reply
  34. Sue Cronkite - November 2, 2017 2:26 pm

    This is absolutely your best column yet! Perfect. It, or something very close to it, was carved in stone many years ago. It is called the 10 Commandments. It instructs us to love our neighbor the same way we love ourselves. The guy who called you a dumbass obviously does not like himself very much. Keep writing, Sean.

    Reply
  35. Emily - November 2, 2017 2:35 pm

    Love it, every damn time!!!

    Reply
  36. Nancy - November 2, 2017 2:37 pm

    Doesn’t your heart just break for people that don’t know to love? He should combine to read Sean – he might learn something about love!

    Reply
  37. Ann(no e) Foley - November 2, 2017 2:40 pm

    One of my favorites!

    Reply
  38. Erin Pepus - November 2, 2017 2:42 pm

    I wake up every morning to Sean of the South… it starts my day better than any cup of coffee! Today made me laugh out loud… not sure which comment got me the most … Southern Baptists or Lawrence Welk!
    Thank you, Sean…

    Reply
  39. Bob Hubbard - November 2, 2017 2:46 pm

    And all God’s children said AMEN!

    Reply
  40. Jack Quanstrum - November 2, 2017 2:49 pm

    Incredible response by you Sean. Informative and enlightening. Thank you for writing what you did today. It solidifies alot for me ! Keep those stories coming.

    Reply
  41. Sam Hunneman - November 2, 2017 3:09 pm

    Yeah!
    Hat’s off to you, hon. Way to take the high road!

    Reply
  42. Janet Mary Lee - November 2, 2017 3:12 pm

    Best reply ever! You have been paying attention in some class, Sean! LOL!

    Reply
  43. Chris Lacy - November 2, 2017 3:19 pm

    Just wow!!

    Reply
  44. Jakkki - November 2, 2017 3:21 pm

    Beautifully crafted and articulate response Sean. Not bad for a dumbass!

    Reply
  45. Anne Godwin - November 2, 2017 3:38 pm

    You make me smile.

    Reply
  46. Billie - November 2, 2017 3:55 pm

    Sean, you are simply a gift to those of us who can’t write but do think.

    However, I thought you were from Alabama. This sentence makes me question that:

    “The same thing that caused your daddy’s daddy’s daddy to fall in love with your mother’s mother’s mother.”

    Unless your tree is missing a few forks (common if you are from West Virginia – that’s just a joke, kind of), this seems dubious. Hopefully, your paternal and maternal lines show more separation.

    But I get the sentiment.

    Reply
  47. teachenglish67 - November 2, 2017 3:57 pm

    Dear Sean…..you put the best criticism into the correct perspective. One of your readers said on her that they wake up to your column. It got me to thinking…….it would be really nice to actually have a time of the morning on radio where a station would have a recording of your daily column. Have you ever thought of promoting that? I’d love to hear it, as well as, read it. It’s a thought shared with you…..just as you share your thoughts and observations with us.
    Smiles and Blessings to you….you bring so many to us.

    Reply
  48. Lois Young - November 2, 2017 4:22 pm

    Ha Ha. “A steaming pile of love.” This is the best response to negative criticism I can ever remember reading. Love it. Thanks

    Reply
  49. Jan - November 2, 2017 4:23 pm

    Once again, Amen and Amen!

    Reply
  50. Patricia Gibson - November 2, 2017 6:17 pm

    Good response!

    Reply
  51. Sue - November 2, 2017 6:19 pm

    This letter made me think of JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey which I just reread after 50 years. Everything will make me think of it for a while. What a writer. As are you. And I like your mother’s name-a combination of my name and my aunt’s name. Where did you come from? And I don’t mean on planet Earth! I mean this as the highest of compliments and I think you are an extremely smart A… in the very best of ways. Thank you for your writing today and all days. I share it often

    Reply
  52. Rosie - November 2, 2017 6:53 pm

    Very well said, my friend. What a nice way to tell somebody off! Thank you for being you.

    Reply
  53. SGM - November 2, 2017 8:07 pm

    Comments such as “I don’t care if you use my name” wrote are puzzling to me…puzzling in much the same way as the person who reads a posted recipe, then critiques what’s wrong with it. Such an obvious solution…don’t read “Sean of the South” and choose another recipe. Of course we know it’s not about the written words of “Sean of the South” or the recipe. It so much deeper and mores the pity.

    Your words touch my heart, Sean. Every day your words touch my heart.

    Susie

    Reply
  54. Anne Sturdevant - November 2, 2017 10:53 pm

    Love your columns, HOWEVER if your fathers fathers fathers fell in love with your mothers mothers mother, sounds like inbreeding going on. Still it was a beautiful column.

    Reply
  55. paula jones - November 3, 2017 12:48 am

    LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE! Great response that (1) demonstrates who you really are, and (2) is worthy of Jesus.

    Reply
  56. william vessier - November 3, 2017 2:39 am

    I’m not sure, but when I read retorts like this, I think of “Julia Sugarbaker”…..great response, Sean!!!!

    Reply
  57. Michael Hawke - November 3, 2017 2:40 am

    Well said.

    Reply
  58. Marty from Alabama - November 3, 2017 2:50 am

    You are amazing. You took this young whippersnapper and told him just how it is. Hope he understood it all and will re-think his thinking. Thanks, again, for about the hundredth time.

    Reply
  59. Thomas Wildon - November 3, 2017 12:01 pm

    Sean, you are wrong. This guy is, in fact, a dumbass. He is so dumb he cannot seem to get the fact that he could stop reading your column or simply unsubscribe. Yep, he is a dumbass.
    Tommy

    Reply
  60. Pat Maruca - November 3, 2017 8:15 pm

    I’m a retired teacher and wish I had had a copy of this to read to several students who spoke like this. When they would say, “You don’t like me,” I would give back, “yes, I do like you. I love everyone …. but I don’t like your actions or behavior. I want you to think about that.” Good one, Sean.

    Reply
  61. Anne Trawick - November 3, 2017 8:39 pm

    Priceless.

    Reply
  62. kathi hill - November 13, 2017 10:45 pm

    I barely survived The Lawrence Welk Show. Whew!

    Reply

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