But life doesn’t always go the way you think it will.

Jacksonville, Florida—a car accident. A crushed car, sideways in the median. Years ago. She saw the car and pulled over

She jogged toward it. It was instinct. She opened the door. The man wasn’t breathing.

She had been working part-time at a pre-school. Pre-schools have mandatory CPR certification classes. Only a few days earlier, she had practiced resuscitating dummies in a church fellowship hall.

She pulled the man out of the battered vehicle. She found his breastbone. Thirty compressions. Two rescue breaths.

He’s alive today. A father of four. He keeps in touch.

Athens, Georgia—nineteen-year-old Billy didn’t want to get into a fistfight. He’d never been in a fight before. He saw a younger kid being beaten by two large boys. He couldn’t stay out of it.

Billy, who’d never thrown a punch in his life, pushed himself into the conflict. He fended off the two attackers, but not without being beaten-up.

Billy took the kid to the emergency room. They became fast friends. He brought the kid home to meet his parents. The boy told them he’d been living with his uncle—who neglected him.

Billy’s parents invited the kid live with them. They fixed the guest bedroom. They bought him a Playstation. They fed him. They made him one of their own.

When Billy got married, the kid was his best man. When Billy had his first son, the kid became a godfather.

When the kid wore a cap and gown to receive a diploma, seven people stood and clapped for him.

Hoover, Alabama—Leigh Ann was your classic shut-in. She was too old and feeble to go anywhere.

Most days, she sat in a recliner watching her stories on TV. Sometimes she forgot to feed herself. She had nobody. She’d been lonely ever since her husband passed. Leigh Ann had no children.

One day, a young man who lived on her street noticed the street-address numbers on her house, falling off. He knocked on her front door.

He offered to fix the numbers. A conversation ensued. While they talked, he noticed the paint flaking off her home.

The next day, he dropped in unannounced—with five-gallon paint buckets, three friends, and ladders. They painted all day. That was almost ten years ago.

The young man and Leigh Ann became so close, he referred to her as “Meemaw” sometimes.

He read the eulogy at Meemaw’s final service.

Charlottesville, Virginia—Eliana had cancer. She was a young woman. It was a crushing blow. Two months later, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The next two years were hell. Think: operations, appointments, and treatments.

Then multiply that figure times two.

Their kitchen counter looked like a CVS pharmacy.

Eliana lay in a hospital bed; her mother was beside her. Her mother received IV treatments; Eliana was her shadow.

They leaned over toilet bowls together. They shaved their heads at the same time. When their brunette locks hit the bathroom floor they cried until their faces hurt.

Her mother prayed each night. “Take ME, God,” she’d say. “Just let my daughter live.”

Eliana prayed the same thing—only in reverse.

But life doesn’t always go the way you think it will. Today, they are cancer survivors.

So.

Dear evening-news journalists:
Thank you for stories on nuclear threats, terrorists, mass shootings, sex scandals, and senseless acts of politics. Thank you for digging up headlines that manage to break hearts and scare the Dickens out of anyone who watches.

But you are looking in all the wrong places.

62 comments

  1. Carolyn Gilbert - March 1, 2018 7:32 am

    Worth waking up at 2 35 am. Very good.

    Reply
  2. Judy G - March 1, 2018 8:03 am

    Oh, Sean, you’re so right. Blessed be the ordinary people in all the right places.

    Reply
  3. John - March 1, 2018 8:40 am

    Nice.

    Reply
  4. Cathi - March 1, 2018 8:46 am

    Oh Sean, that was a great one…

    Reply
  5. Victoria - March 1, 2018 9:08 am

    You make me see my selfishness every day, and I thank you kindly for it.

    Reply
  6. Perri Williamson - March 1, 2018 9:18 am

    A resounding two thumbs up!

    Reply
  7. Pam - March 1, 2018 10:29 am

    Wonderful!❤️

    Reply
  8. Susan - March 1, 2018 11:07 am

    When God sent His son into the world, He came to real ordinary people……like us, and He dwelt among ordinary people…..like us! Thank you for reminding us that we are loved and He works through ordinary people………like us!

    Reply
  9. Mo Malphrus - March 1, 2018 11:20 am

    Thanks Sean for sharing your God given talent! Love your way with words! New forever fan!

    Reply
  10. Martha Owens - March 1, 2018 11:55 am

    More good news, less bad news would be a good thing! Keep up the good work with good news!

    Reply
  11. Kathy - March 1, 2018 11:55 am

    I love every essay you write that’s entitled “Good.” That said, I think it’s also the sacred duty of journalists and the media to shine a light on people who would do bad things and take advantage of others—and get away with it, and continue doing it—if journalists didn’t reveal those dirty dealings. You are an inspirational writer, Sean, but I truly believe that journalists aren’t always looking in the wrong places when they write about the things they do.

    Reply
    • Roxanne - March 1, 2018 5:18 pm

      I agree with you and am thankful for journalists who shine a light into dark places that need to be illuminated, but I also believing the sensationalism that now colors a lot of journalism has blackened the integrity and trustworthiness of the job they hold.

      Reply
  12. Sherry - March 1, 2018 11:59 am

    Turn off the tv and read….

    Reply
  13. Jo Ann - March 1, 2018 12:02 pm

    Thank you, Sean, every day, for looking in all the *right* places.

    Reply
  14. Penn Wells - March 1, 2018 12:13 pm

    As others have said, Thank You. Thank you for the few minutes at the beginning of each day to focus on the other reality….the reality that there are still good people and good things happening in this world. Unfortunately, the are also other things happening that cannot be ignored and will require our attention…ALL our attention…to get back on track. God Bless.

    Reply
  15. Steve Welch - March 1, 2018 12:34 pm

    Damn Sean. You got me again. Great piece. Amen. Life is not always easy, but it is always good. Actually, it is whatever you make it.

    Thank you sir!

    Reply
  16. Dale - March 1, 2018 12:40 pm

    Amen! Amen!

    Reply
  17. Rita Chapman - March 1, 2018 12:41 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Reply
  18. Suzanne Jackson - March 1, 2018 12:42 pm

    I so agree! I wish just one news station would do only positive stories for an entire week and see how that would go!

    Reply
  19. Ginger McPherson - March 1, 2018 12:57 pm

    Sean, thank you for replacing Fox and CNN for my news of the day. Somehow I manage to sleep better and I have a better perspective on the world. Sweet Sreams!

    Reply
  20. Susie - March 1, 2018 1:05 pm

    Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Sue Cronkite - March 1, 2018 1:09 pm

    When I worked at the Birmingham News in the early 1960s, and 1969-1981, we tried to have at least one good news story on the front page. Most days it worked. Many people told me that was the first thing they read.

    Reply
  22. Carl Wagner - March 1, 2018 1:14 pm

    Every day your stories break the shell around my heart. Just discovered your blog, going through stuff right now. No coincidence in the timing as I am revived by your posts and the prayers of my people. ICH

    Reply
  23. Jan - March 1, 2018 1:17 pm

    Amen and Amen! By the way, I really enjoyed the article and photos of you and your lovely wife in the Birmingham News last Sunday. Please keep up the good work. You make my day!

    Reply
  24. Connie - March 1, 2018 1:24 pm

    Dang it. I have got to stop reading your column at work. People come in and look at me crazy because my eyes are red. There’s good in the world. Thank you for seeing it and writing about it.

    Reply
  25. Walter R Singletary - March 1, 2018 1:24 pm

    Amen! Amen! and Amen!

    Reply
  26. Linda - March 1, 2018 1:43 pm

    Amen

    Reply
  27. Connie - March 1, 2018 1:45 pm

    Amen about the news!

    Reply
  28. ted isascs - March 1, 2018 1:56 pm

    Amen Sean…..and by the way; I’ve been forwarding some of your posts to friends and family….like “shining a light into dark places”. Thank you for the light.

    Reply
  29. Gary - March 1, 2018 1:59 pm

    AMEN !!, I refuse to listen to the so called news anymore, they all have their own agenda !!

    Reply
  30. Patricia Schmaltz - March 1, 2018 2:01 pm

    Amen, amen, amen. Bad news gets advertisers. That’s the only explanation:$$

    Reply
  31. Sarah Gail Hytowitz - March 1, 2018 2:36 pm

    I start my day with your blog and coffee.. it is your blog I need, not the coffee. Thanks so much for making my day start off on the right foot !

    Reply
  32. Joan Busby - March 1, 2018 2:38 pm

    Thank you for starting my day on a positive note. You are my daily morning coffee companion. Just sending you a big hug of thanks!

    Reply
  33. Cindy - March 1, 2018 2:53 pm

    Thank you for another good morning blessing! I love starting my day with your column. What a gift God gave you and us in your writing!

    Reply
  34. Jack Darnell - March 1, 2018 3:16 pm

    I know you seldom blow your own horn, but I sure wish there was a way to get this to the attention of national media. We need a go getter out there who knows how to GIT-R-DONE.

    Reply
  35. Steven - March 1, 2018 3:16 pm

    Amen.

    Reply
  36. Nix LaVerdi - March 1, 2018 3:30 pm

    Way to tell it, Sean. Thank you for this. Sincerely, Nix

    Reply
  37. Judy - March 1, 2018 3:34 pm

    Thank you for pointing us to the right places. You are a gift.

    Reply
  38. Maxine - March 1, 2018 3:37 pm

    Sean, THANK YOU once again for reminding us life is worth every minute we’re given to share life, joy and love with each one whose life we touch. Bless you for your goodness.

    Reply
  39. Carol Houston Rothwell - March 1, 2018 3:37 pm

    There is still some good news like that…
    Last night I watched CBS.News with Jeff Glor..so sweet and giving the news with calm & careing.
    It was the story of how one kidney doner..turned into 12 doners.and created a chain reaction…
    He always ends his show.with a story of good in this world…snd when it’s not….at least he doesn’t
    Scream it. ,like it’s the end of the world….which I have to pray every day it isn’t! !
    Thank you Sean,for reminding us too.that there is still ,
    Good in this world.!

    Reply
  40. John F. Edwards - March 1, 2018 4:13 pm

    YES!!!!!!!! Thank you.

    Reply
  41. Shirley - March 1, 2018 4:42 pm

    Sean this is a wonderful story. We need some good news in our life. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  42. Arlene - March 1, 2018 4:43 pm

    Sean, I am grateful to you today, and every day, for your humanity and humility. You are my pot of gold every morning. I am blessed to have discovered you. Thank you. You make me want to be, and be, a better woman.

    Reply
  43. James McClure - March 1, 2018 4:48 pm

    Thank you times 1,000!

    Reply
  44. lavenderlady - March 1, 2018 5:01 pm

    Amen. Amen. Looking in all the wrong places…

    Reply
  45. Roxanne - March 1, 2018 5:06 pm

    10% of the people cause 90% of the problems in the world, and 99% of journalists focus on it. I tip my hat to people like Charles Kuralt, Steve Hartman and others who go out in search of the good that happens all around us every, single day. AND I know that Charles Kuralt had his flaws and is often vilified now, but very much like me, he was just a human–and one who looked for the good more than the bad. We all need to pat each other on the back more and cut each other a lot more slack. Thank you for being a star shining in the universe.

    Reply
  46. Marty from Alabama - March 1, 2018 5:36 pm

    True.

    Reply
  47. S C Anderson - March 1, 2018 6:28 pm

    Amen to that!

    Reply
  48. muthahun - March 1, 2018 6:42 pm

    I am uplifted by your words, Dear Sean, and often moved to tears, joyous though they might be. I am also a firm believer in studying history lest we be condemned to repeat it, and a firm believer in staying informed and aware of what’s going on around us, especially in times like these.

    Reply
  49. swuppet - March 1, 2018 7:25 pm

    Amen! I wish you’d start your own good news network!

    Reply
  50. janiesjottings - March 1, 2018 8:37 pm

    We hardly watch the news anymore. We’d much rather, as my husbands say’s every day, see what Sean’s got to say today. Keep searching out these heartwarming good news stories Sean! We sure do need them.

    Reply
  51. Jody - March 1, 2018 8:39 pm

    What a gift. Reading your daily posts lifts my spirit and helps me stay focused on the positive aspects of life. Thanks 😊😊😊😊

    Reply
  52. Lynda - March 1, 2018 10:17 pm

    thank you people for relaying these stories to Sean, and thank you, Sean, for forwarding them on to us. I need all of the positive stories I can get these days.

    Reply
  53. Kathleen - March 1, 2018 10:28 pm

    Someone once told me, “You may be the answer to someone’s prayer.” Not that I can answer prayers, but that I may be the one God plans to use.

    Reply
  54. Kaye - March 2, 2018 4:55 am

    OH, how true that is…..that we could put aside our selfishness, our politics, our next tragedy headline and help those in need and HEAR IT EVERY DAY!

    Reply
  55. Ellen Shelley - March 3, 2018 7:24 am

    My favorite part of the nightly news is when, at the end, a “feel good” story is thrown in. I can watch all the bad stuff if I get the dessert at the end that reminds me Who is in control. Thank you for all your “feel good” stories that keep me in check.

    Reply
  56. Mary Lee - March 4, 2018 12:17 am

    Fantastic..I remember when my son was really very young there was a news show on TBS..Good News. Loved watching it and it was uplifting..didn’t last long..so disappointing. Thank you for the good news.

    Reply
  57. Patricia Yard - May 12, 2018 10:00 am

    Amen! Well said! They ARE looking in the wrong place! So many acts of kindness go overlooked by our news agencies. Why do we always seem to be bombarded every time we turn the news on? Why is it that we hardly ever hear of such good deeds? Thank you for this healthy dose of pure love at this early hour to start the day with.

    Reply
  58. Terri - May 12, 2018 1:29 pm

    Sean, YOU are my news in the morning now. Thank you so much. God bless you.

    Reply
  59. Jimmie - May 12, 2018 1:52 pm

    Sean, you’re a sweet old soul in a young mans body. Beautiful reminder of kindness and good. Thank you as always.

    Reply
  60. Elouise Billions - May 12, 2018 3:36 pm

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Reply
  61. unkle - May 12, 2018 3:41 pm

    You are kind to call them “news journalists ” . I would describe most of them as “septic tank workers ” they go out and dig up a bunch of crap , then they tell about it over and over and over . They cannot get the smell out of there pointy heads and go on to something else . It maks me mad to flip on the news and it is like Groundhog Day , the run away and hide because you are ashamed of yourself version not the bill murry funny one. Some one told me long ago that if you tell a lie enough that it will turn into the truth. They are lazy , out of touch and sometimes I thank just mean. We here in Dothan have been blessed with a new group of young news and weather people . I have been lucky to meet and visit with many of them , they are sharp , honest , Good workers. The ones who have left here for their 2nd job will be remembered for their good work . The old bobble heads where they are going better look out . WE THE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF YHE SAME OLD CRAP. Thanks for the updates that you bring us Sean . A light in the darkness ..You are our on the spot GOOD NEWS GUY. ……uk

    Reply

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