Good

...If you’ve read this far, you might as well know that I believe in something. I don’t know what it’s called, exactly, but I know it’s out there. And I know it's good.

He was homeless. Long beard, weathered skin. I was sitting in traffic. He walked between lines of vehicles at a stoplight. He carried a cardboard sign.

I rolled down my window and handed him all the cash I had—which wasn’t much. Maybe fifteen bucks. He smelled like an open bottle.

He stood at my window and said, “I don’t know you, but I love you.”

Those words. I’ve thought about them for days.

I thought about them when I drove past an ambulance this morning. Two cars looked like crushed Budweiser cans. Traffic backed up for a mile. EMT’s loaded a stretcher.

One paramedic was hugging a child in the median. The kid squeezed him and cried his eyes out. The EMT squeezed back.

I’ll bet they don’t teach that in EMT training.

Here’s another:

After my friend’s wife died, he adopted a cat. It didn’t take long before he’d spoiled the animal. He bought an outdoor pet-bed, a food bowl, a collar.

The next morning, he woke to see three feral cats on his porch. So, he did what any self-respecting man would. He named them.

The following day, two more feral cats.

“I went from being lonely,” he said, “to being Doctor Doolittle. Cats just trust me.”

Last week, I met an old man who sat at the bar of a rundown beer joint. He was watching the band play. He was deaf.

In a loud voice, he asked if he could buy me a beer. I accepted.

He told me he’d totally lost his hearing a few years ago. He woke up one morning and he was fully deaf.

His life changed. It forced him to retire early. It’s been hard.

Last year, his nine-year-old granddaughter begged him to attend her school concert. He showed up with a sour attitude.

For the school’s final musical number, one hundred and twenty elementary students sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” using American Sign Language.

“My granddaughter,” said the old man. “She was the one who asked them to do that. They learned sign language JUST for me.”

Just for him.

Listen, chances are we’ve never met. And Lord knows, you probably don’t know me from Adam’s housecat—there’s no reason you would.

But if you’ve read this far, you might as well know that I believe in something. I don’t know what it’s called, exactly, but I know it’s out there. And I know it’s good.

Maybe you don’t believe. Maybe your bank account is too overdrawn. Maybe your wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, or dog died. Maybe worse.

Maybe your alternator busted. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you had an honest-to-goodness hug. Maybe you woke up feeling like hell.

Maybe you feel so alone that your world has gone silent and your ears don’t work.

You know who you are. And you know how you feel. But whoever you might be, you should know that a complete stranger stayed up late tonight, writing this for you.

It’s not much, but it’s my way of saying: don’t give up.

Because even though I don’t know you, I love you.

77 comments

  1. Sharon - May 25, 2017 10:11 pm

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Anna - May 26, 2017 3:23 am

      Thank you. You should be on the nightly news, every network.

      Reply
      • Vicky Goss Patridge - July 19, 2017 1:25 pm

        Yes! Like a modern day Paul Harvey! I love you, too, Sean.

        Reply
  2. Gloria - May 25, 2017 10:13 pm

    Sean, this comes at the perfect moment..I am sitting here in the hospital by my husband not knowing how many days he has left. Reading your words and experiencing the kindness of everyone we’ve come in contact with from the surgeon to the housekeeping personnel gives me great comfort and strength for tomorrow. God is indeed good!

    Reply
    • Bob McGhee - May 26, 2017 1:31 am

      Oh, dear Gloria, I pray for you and your husband. Not one of us knows what the next moment holds for us. But God knows. The future is in His loving hands. Our needs are in His merciful heart. I pray that He gives you strength to continue, courage to accept and the faith to endure. These I ask for you in the wonderful name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

      Reply
      • Joyce Lampley - July 19, 2017 9:27 pm

        Gloria, God bless you and you husband with courage, strength and comfort at this very hard time. In Christian love, Joyce

        Reply
    • Bob McGhee - May 26, 2017 1:32 am

      Oh, dear Gloria, I pray for you and your husband. Not one of us knows what the next moment holds for us. But God knows. The future is in His loving hands. Our needs are in His merciful heart. I pray that He gives you strength to continue, courage to accept and the faith to endure. These I ask for you in the wonderful name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

      Reply
  3. Jeannie - May 25, 2017 10:13 pm

    Wonderful! Thank you ❤️

    Reply
  4. Buck Sappenfield - May 25, 2017 10:15 pm

    Lord Brother, that is good! Like a breeze over a freshly rained meadow. Thank you

    Reply
  5. Clay - May 25, 2017 10:16 pm

    Sean, you make me laugh and cry all at the same time. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in south Alabama, I can relate……
    Thanks for helping me remember the GOOD stuff.
    Don’t, never, ever, quit 🙂

    Reply
  6. Gayle Dawkins - May 25, 2017 10:18 pm

    This helped me today Sean. Thank you. I’m going to pray for Gloria (the other commenter)
    Gayle

    Reply
  7. Sherry L Hill - May 25, 2017 10:25 pm

    I so enjoy your daily excursions into the southern universe as I know it to be. There is good at every corner if you just look. This is the heart of the country imho and I am glad to be part of it. This particular story brought tears to my eyes, as many of your stories do. Thank you for doing what you do, from all of us :0)

    Reply
  8. Bobbie - May 25, 2017 10:27 pm

    You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you and I love you back, Sean!

    Reply
  9. Suzanne Barrick - May 25, 2017 10:44 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your writings. Have your books but haven’t read yet! Love these short stories so much. You are so real! Thank you🙏🏻

    Reply
  10. Mary Frantz - May 25, 2017 10:44 pm

    This made me cry at work. Good thing I’m working late by myself. Love this column, and will share it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  11. Sandra LEe Van Dam - May 25, 2017 10:54 pm

    Oh god, thank you, Sean. I needed that today.

    Reply
  12. Susan - May 25, 2017 10:57 pm

    Dammit, Sean, you made me cry – once again. Thank you for your kindness and love. I love you too.

    Reply
    • Susan in Georgia - May 25, 2017 11:09 pm

      Here’s another Susan leaving an I Love You note in gratitude for for seeing the richness and worth in other people, no matter what their situation. GOD bless you, Sean Dietrich.

      Reply
  13. Kathy - May 25, 2017 11:13 pm

    🤘🏻2

    Reply
  14. Marsha - May 25, 2017 11:14 pm

    And I love You.

    Reply
  15. Sandi - May 25, 2017 11:20 pm

    Thank-you for reminding us to keep hope alive.
    Sending you hugs and smiles across the miles!

    Reply
  16. Dianne Shafer - May 25, 2017 11:20 pm

    I’ll be happy to provide the name for the “whatever it is that’s out there.” It’s the Holy Spirit that provides you the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the spirit to acknowledge the good that the Lord placed in His children.
    My niece and her family, who are trying despite all odds, to adopt a Haitian child, calls this “thing” a Be The Good–Believe in the Good in People.
    Unknowingly, you write psalms of praise to the God who creates the people of His heart, who show us all, every day, how easy it is to Share the Love and Be the Good.
    Thank you, Sean. Thank you for reminding me how easy it is to simply Be the Good.

    Reply
    • Bob McGhee - May 26, 2017 1:14 am

      💕

      Reply
    • Rebecca - July 19, 2017 7:17 pm

      I love your comments, Dianne! God ALWAYS has a plan!

      Reply
  17. Fredda Shutes - May 25, 2017 11:24 pm

    Although I have never met you personally, I feel like I know you. You have a great way of putting these stores together with such love and compassion for others. Thank you for your posts. I look for it first every day and it starts my day off right even though it may be sad or makes me laugh. Sean of the South, I love the South and I love you.

    Reply
  18. Janet Mary Lee - May 25, 2017 11:27 pm

    The feeling’s mutual, Sean… the feeling’s mutual.
    Amen…

    Reply
    • Jack Quanstrum - May 26, 2017 12:15 am

      Great story. Great writing. I love you to. Your the best writer I ever read. I am 66 years old so I have been around the block. Your the best. Soooooo, looking forward to your next post.

      Reply
  19. Sara - May 25, 2017 11:47 pm

    I appreciate you for what you do and for showing the world a real Southerner. Thanks for today because today I really do feel really bad for several days. Please keep writing. You are an excellent writer. I know because I’m an excellent reader and teacher. God bless you!!

    Reply
  20. Sandra - May 25, 2017 11:47 pm

    You are a very gifted writer and loving human being. Met you once a number of
    years ago. So glad to have crossed paths with someone of your caliber.

    Reply
  21. Trina V. - May 26, 2017 12:12 am

    The last week and a half has been so so tough. I needed this. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Lisa Hodson - May 26, 2017 12:24 am

    A friend at work forwarded me your messages. I enjoyed them so much that I subscribed. Each day I think I’ve read my favorite. But today was my favorite story so far. I enjoy your writing style. It’s real and it’s real life. I smile and I cry. Keep up the good work Sean! I love you too!

    Reply
  23. Melissa - May 26, 2017 12:27 am

    You have a gift. Never quit writing.

    Reply
  24. Beverly Mathias - May 26, 2017 12:30 am

    Thank you, that touched my heart

    Reply
  25. Philip - May 26, 2017 12:46 am

    I love you too Sean

    Reply
    • Jack Quanstrum - May 26, 2017 12:56 am

      Thank you. I have always thought there was and is alot of great people out there but of course we don’t hear about them through our news, tv, or fenses. Your depictions of others and there unique situations and circumstances come to life for me in my heart. Your stories motivate me to be more authentic from the inside out to others. Peace be with you brother.

      Reply
  26. Wilma - May 26, 2017 12:49 am

    I know that you must be familiar with the late Lewis Grizzard. He was very special to me and I was living in Atlanta when he passed. I mourned him as if he were a close family friend. I thought he could never be replaced. You, dear Sean of the South, are right there beside him. Love your writing.

    Reply
  27. Linda Allen - May 26, 2017 1:08 am

    Wow, you sure put everything into perspective. And how you do it everyday is amazing. Thank you for your kind heart…❤️
    And Gloria, know that you are in our thoughts and hearts.

    Reply
  28. Mary Pettit - May 26, 2017 1:23 am

    Thank you. I love you, too.

    Reply
  29. Carol Goodson - May 26, 2017 1:44 am

    I really don’t know what to say, except that being the way you are, and trying to influence others to be that way, is the only hope–and it’s so good to know that there are a few people like us in this world… and maybe there are more than I think there are. God bless you.

    Reply
  30. Laura Young - May 26, 2017 1:53 am

    And I love you, Sean, though I don’t know you. I wish I did. I can so relate to this story. I have felt so low at times that I wondered if I would ever feel right again. I have seen horrible disasters and injuries and illness and have cried with many people who felt pain and loss over a 47 year nursing career. I have never been homeless but have felt lost and hurt and without anyone who cared (though that was not true, I felt that way at times). But I also have laughed and rejoiced at true miracles I have seen. There is “something” out there and the good far outweighs the bad. Sometimes we just have to look past through the dark to the light beyond.

    Reply
  31. Jackie - May 26, 2017 2:25 am

    Love you too and hope to someday have the opportunity to give you a big hug for writing things that make me both laugh and cry. That’s a gift!

    Any way to know where you will be speaking?

    Reply
  32. Patty - May 26, 2017 2:35 am

    Dear Sean. Your words are always the bright spot in my day, creating an image that sits in my heart, filling my soul with warmth. Every single day I look forward to reading a glimpse of others lives through your eyes, your heart and your soul. Love you man – Patty

    Reply
  33. Sam Hunneman - May 26, 2017 2:38 am

    “I read the news today, oh boy…” and man! Is it depressing. And yet there are people like you in my world, doing stuff for others, sharing their light, feeding the strays, appreciating the little things. Someone along the way taught you to count your blessings and isn’t that just… well, everything, really? You’re one of my blessings, honey. Thanks.

    Reply
  34. Kathy Petersen - May 26, 2017 2:38 am

    I love you too. I love what you write and that you are uplifting all who read what you have written. I am 72 (an old southern girl) now and still have a good life, but there are days that I am frightened, the days I watch the news. Frightened and appalled at the same time over what is going on in our country. Then I read one of your pieces and I feel good again. You are making a difference. Thank you.

    Reply
  35. Judy - May 26, 2017 2:43 am

    You inspire me. Thank you for that, and for this.

    Reply
    • Betty - May 26, 2017 3:14 am

      This is wonderful – I enjoy all of your writings!

      Reply
  36. Starla /Granny - May 26, 2017 2:47 am

    Thanks! It’s so good to see good souls exist. I’ve begun forwarding you to my son in Brooklyn. It helps keep him grounded to his roots.

    Reply
  37. Pat Byers - May 26, 2017 3:27 am

    with your words, you bring out the best in all of us. we feel good. we look for good. no, i don’t know you or you me. BUT i do know you. i know so much about you. you share you with us and we all get a glimpse of the man you are. it is a blessing each day. THANK YOU.

    Reply
  38. Wendy Boston - May 26, 2017 4:37 am

    ❤️

    Reply
  39. Allen Berry - May 26, 2017 4:55 am

    Right back atcha.

    Reply
  40. Allen Berry - May 26, 2017 4:57 am

    By the way, the delightful young lady who turned me on to you says: “He notices those who blend in.” She’s a wise and insightful young lady, and I’m very, very fortunate to have made her acquaintance, and by proxy, yours.

    Reply
  41. Robin - May 26, 2017 8:55 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  42. Judy Miller - May 26, 2017 11:40 am

    I feel like I know you. Thanks for the written hug.

    Reply
  43. Beverly - May 26, 2017 2:09 pm

    Thank you.. .. I’m 82 and feeling a little sad this morning…. I needed that…

    Reply
  44. Jane Wasden - May 26, 2017 2:21 pm

    Wow! I cried …. and then I smiled and smiled and smiled. Sean, you are wonderful and I love you back!

    Reply
  45. Buck Godwin - May 26, 2017 2:44 pm

    Sean

    You’re pretty lovable yourself young man.

    Just in case you have forgotten,
    GOD is LOVE!

    Reply
  46. Kathryn - May 26, 2017 2:59 pm

    Well, it seems obvious to me – after reading all these comments that we all love you too!

    Reply
  47. Jacque - May 26, 2017 3:14 pm

    Thank you. I needed that today.

    Reply
  48. Marilyn Cook - May 26, 2017 3:57 pm

    Thanks, Sean. I love you too!

    Reply
  49. Patricia Gibson - May 26, 2017 5:05 pm

    What a wonderful message!

    Reply
  50. Carolyn - May 26, 2017 5:11 pm

    Sean, you both reminded me how long it’s been since I’ve had a good hug then gave me a warm hug with this message. Thank you…love you back.

    Reply
  51. Barbara Nelle Ewell - May 27, 2017 12:52 am

    I love you, too.

    Reply
  52. Mp - May 27, 2017 3:33 pm

    You have a amazing way with words! We love you and love to read your words! Thanks!

    Reply
  53. Dave Harmon-Vaught - May 28, 2017 5:38 pm

    Don’t know you either, Sean, but you bless my heart every day. Thanks for the “I love you”. I needed that today.

    I love you, too, brother.

    Reply
  54. Cindy Hosler - July 19, 2017 1:20 pm

    How did you know? Those words mean more than you will ever know…

    Reply
  55. Carra - July 19, 2017 1:27 pm

    A friend met you in Panama City the other day. I had read a couple of your posts but subscribed to your page that day. Thank you for daily positive musings and for your warm reminders. I love you, too, and I hope that you feel the love of all your readers reflected back to you…

    Reply
  56. Sylvia Williams - July 19, 2017 1:57 pm

    Sean, you are truly a God sent of inspiration and encouragement. You may think your words are not much, or they have no impact on people’s lives. But you would be wrong. The people who need these words today will learn how to pass them on to someone else tomorrow.

    Reply
  57. Donna Schoditsch - July 19, 2017 2:13 pm

    Just doing fine, Sean, keep it up. The world is listening……..

    Reply
  58. Mary - July 19, 2017 3:58 pm

    The word you’re looking for is compassion.

    Reply
  59. Cindy - July 19, 2017 6:14 pm

    This came at just the right time. I’m a volunteer EMT in a rural town in southern Utah. Two days ago, a friend and her adult down syndrome daughter were in an ATV wreck, the daughter died. I was there. Yesterday a woman I know said goodbye to this world with pills. I have wondered how much longer I can be in this business (I am 58) and then I read this post. It helps me remember why I started doing this to begin with. I am so grateful for your way with words, Sean Dietrich. Thank you.

    Reply
  60. Clint Thompson - July 19, 2017 6:51 pm

    At some point in your life, God blessed you. He gave you the ability to convey in words what many feel. I’m happy for you. Happy you found your niche in life by writing. You are loved by many. And by God.

    Reply
  61. Annette Bailey - July 19, 2017 7:52 pm

    Sean…I don’t know you either. I began reading your stories only a few months ago…and haven’t stopped. They make sense me, all of them. I’ve either been there…done that, or know someone who has. Growing up, I had a life where both parents worked one or two jobs all the time. And then one day…all six of us kids grew up, became successful, and took care of our parents. My husband and I built my Mom her first, nice, brick home and she didn’t know how to act. I’m thankful for my husband for working so hard to do this for my parents….they certainly deserved it. I lost Dad years ago and I lost Mom last week. It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to face. Thank you for the strories and know that I love you…..for writing them.

    Reply
  62. Jessi Correa - July 19, 2017 9:09 pm

    Every day I have something I want to say to you, but my words fall short of what I am feeling. With this reading, I knew.

    I read my very first Sean of the South column a few weeks ago and at that moment I realized exactly this: I don’t know you, but I love you.

    That’s a rare thing. Thank you for the gift.

    Reply
  63. Lolita Brim - July 19, 2017 9:20 pm

    Thank you for writing and sharing. Please know that you are loved also, by lots of people unknown to you. I’m one of them. May God bless you, Sean of the South!!

    Reply
  64. Tracye - July 20, 2017 12:24 am

    Thanks I love your stories. Keep them coming. Love ya.

    Reply
  65. Ben smith - July 20, 2017 11:00 am

    Awesome. Life has it’s up and downs.Its called life never give up it has it’s up and downs. Never forget where you came from because it might take you some where you never have been before. God Bless you all. That’s a fact.

    Reply
  66. Camille Atkins - July 20, 2017 10:23 pm

    <3 <3 <3

    Reply

Leave a Reply