Miracle Girl

After months of hard work, the girl is on her feet and proud. And she ought to be, she’s a walking ray of sunshine.

I ran into the grocery store. I was in a hurry. I walked the aisles with groceries beneath my arms.

And it happened. I got recognized in the dog-food aisle.

I was busy trying to decide between beef chunks with gravy, or lamb with rice. A family of five walked toward me. They stopped. They stared.

The oldest daughter said, “You’re Sean!”

I looked in both directions. I was just about to explain that I had already filed for an extension this year when she hugged me.

Mother hugged me next. Then Brother. Then Father. Then Granny joined the clot.

“I can’t BELIEVE we’re meeting you here,” said the teenage girl. “It’s JUST like your stories. Oh my God, are you gonna change my name when you write about me, too?”

I made a series of unintelligible mumbles.

“I want you to call me something really crazy,” she went on. “Like Scarlett O’Hara or something.”

Admittedly, this name is a little overdone, but an overall good choice if you ask me.

Granny piped into the conversation: “Hey, I JUST read what you wrote about Chick-fil-A, only a few minutes ago.”

Right. It bears mentioning: the subject of Chick-fil-A has been a hot topic in my inbox today. I’ve received approximately—and this is a low estimate—six hundred thousand messages regarding a misinterpreted sentence I wrote about Chick-fil-A.

I don’t have time to explain here, but let’s just say that some of the emails have been less than kind. Some have been downright scary.

Readers like Dan from Georgia, for instance, wrote: “If you were up in Georgia, I’d take your [bleeping bleep] behind the woodshed and wear your [bleeping bleep] out. LOL.”

Hey, thanks for the letter, Dan. You sound like a fun guy. LOL.

But thankfully, the folks in the grocery store didn’t want to scalp me with cheese graters. No, these were kind hearted people, from Alabama.

“I think Scarlett would be a good name, don’t you, Mom?” the oldest daughter said.

A little about the oldest girl:

She speaks with labored speech, her limbs are uncoordinated, and it’s difficult for her to walk.

“I’m kinda paralyzed,” she explained. “It was a car accident last year, a bad one, my friend was driving, my side got hit.”

At first, doctors said this paralysis would be permanent. The family took it hard. She took it hard.

“I told myself I wasn’t gonna give up,” Granny interjected. Granny took her burdens to her church group, where twenty church ladies folded their hands and wore out their knees.

The rehab stayed packed with visitors. The girl’s friends visited her by the dozen. She was in a bed for weeks, but she had her people with her.

“At first,” the girl said, “I wasn’t able to feel anything below my ribs, I was really depressed, and thought I was pretty much done.”

But she wasn’t done.

One morning, she awoke to a sensation in her belly. A few days later, she could feel her legs, then her feet. Now she’s walking.

After months of hard work, the girl is on her feet and proud. And she ought to be, she’s a walking ray of sunshine.

Though, she’s not out of the woods yet. Speech can be difficult, and so can facial expressions. But she is getting stronger every day. She is young, and she is powerful.

When she hugged my neck, I could feel the muscles in her arms. She squeezed me like a girl who has courage inside her. She reminds me of things that matter, and helped me forget about things that don’t.

I needed that today.

Because I received so many ugly messages today that I had considered changing my name to Big Al, and taking a job on an offshore oil rig.

Her father shook my hand. Then her mother. Then Brother. Then Granny. We all walked toward the checkout lane together. We talked. We laughed. We complained about July traffic in Florida. We parted ways as friends.

So it’s been a nice day. Uneventful, but nice. I read a few emails, bought five cans of dog food, and I watched a teenage girl who wasn’t supposed to walk, walk.

Her name was Scarlett O’Hara.

70 comments

  1. Panzey - July 6, 2018 5:55 am

    You are a nice man with refreshing insight of things that matter! Keep doing what obviously God has chosen you to do! God bless you and Miss Scarlet!

    Reply
  2. Janet Mary Lee - July 6, 2018 6:14 am

    I always look forward to your posts! Today was no different, and your story is beautiful as so many of yours are. If you do not ruffle a few “chicken feathers” you are not doing something right! I hope I know by now that if there is something puzzling, then there is to quote another great, “the rest of the story”! Your message is always loving and self depreciating. Sometimes you are not so hard to figure! So continue with the important stuff! And kiss Thel and give her some love. And Jamie and your family too! I sure appreciate you and appreciate the Scarlet’s of this world it is your Blessing, and ours, to find!!

    Reply
  3. LESLIE T BRITT - July 6, 2018 6:21 am

    Oh Sean, it’s possible. . . that I have at times over-reacted in a particular situation to: another’s statement which at first read or hearing I misunderstood their intent, to a fast food worker when the french fries were left out, a joke told at church that made fun of my particular weakness — being late all the time maybe??, and was left standing with egg dripping off my red face! If my response was spoken out loud, I’ve had to offer many apologies for my knee-jerk, premature, juvenile, uncharitable, unChristian, less than grown-up behavior. If my complaint was for God’s ears only, I repented and received forgiveness. I hope your in-box has been flooded with at least 500,000 apologies from the ones who assumed the worst by your Chick-fil-A remark. Thank you for your grace to your readers as you hold up the mirror and ask us — do you see yourself here?! I hope you take Panzey’s advice, and I add a sincere God bless you, too! Your posts are always a bright spot in my day!

    Reply
  4. Linda Chapman - July 6, 2018 6:24 am

    I’m sorry for all those hateful messages….I had to quit reading the comments knowing how hurtful they would be for you to read. I truly thought your readers were better than that. Most of them are…I’m still here although I’m a new follower and I promise to try to be at least half as kind as you are. You are a gift and I’m grateful I found you!

    Reply
  5. Susan Parker - July 6, 2018 6:28 am

    Keep right on doing what God has given you the talent to do. You are helping to spread love. Of course you will be opposed. People are getting addicted to hate, divisiveness, and fake outrage. Just keep right on. You make a huge difference, as do most people who don’t think they do. Sending love!

    Reply
  6. Steve Winfield - July 6, 2018 6:38 am

    Wow. Again.

    Reply
  7. Steve Winfield - July 6, 2018 6:40 am

    Oh yeah. Nice sketch at the top.

    Reply
  8. Karen - July 6, 2018 6:56 am

    How anyone who has read more than one of your columns could say any of those things is beyond me. I read you every morning to start my day with hope and a smile. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  9. Karen - July 6, 2018 6:58 am

    So……Your remark about Chic-fil-A did not get me at all. What got me was the 30 professors at the audition who told you to come back when you could read music. I don’t understand why they would want to hurt a young student. Why couldn’t they have just thanked you for your audition? It says a lot about their university and their music program.
    Your posts help me to see the goodness in people. They also break my heart. You make me want to be better. Kinder. More compassionate.
    I love reading your posts. I would love to hear you play Stars Fell on Alabama.

    Reply
    • Penn Wells - July 6, 2018 7:54 pm

      Good one!

      Reply
  10. Delynn Roberts - July 6, 2018 6:59 am

    I don’t understand why people feel the need to take their pent up anger issues out on others. I’m sorry you have to be on the receiving end of that. Those folks just need to learn some manners. Your email is a blessing to so many. Thanks for who you are & keeping it real.

    Reply
  11. Melanie - July 6, 2018 7:57 am

    I had to go back and reread the Chikfila (sp) story thinking I must’ve missed something. Nope. Same story. Guess some people just don’t get it. Not to worry. They are vastly outnumbered by those of us who do. And we are all still here waiting to enjoy the next story. And the next. ❤️

    Reply
  12. Pamela McEachern - July 6, 2018 8:14 am

    When I read the CFA rant by the angry person, I thought about what the number of comments would be about your comment. I completely understood, you were not really talking about CFA but you meant it as a slight about yourself and your life. People are going to come to your defense because of the way you always try to lift people up and remind us of the good old days of past and yes, the present. Keep your faith in us all and bless us with your stories. You make a difference!

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  13. Gary - July 6, 2018 9:23 am

    Love the story, Sean. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. Kelly - July 6, 2018 9:25 am

    At first I was a little baffled about angry CFA letters but then quickly remembered that people get so upset about the stupidest things lately. With all the awfulness in our world today, your stories and adventures are something I look forward to reading every morning. Keep letting your little light shine! (And hug your dog -that makes everything better😊)!

    Reply
  15. ponder304 - July 6, 2018 10:28 am

    What a blessing you are! Thank you for writing about us coo on ole folks! We really care about each other.

    Reply
  16. Judy McInnis - July 6, 2018 10:35 am

    I seemed to have been fortunate enough and so busy that I missed all the “chicken” comments; I feel blessed!
    You have started my day again with a tear or two, maybe three. Thank you for allowing your readers your insight into your day to day encounters. We all have them in some way or another even if we are not “famous”!
    We are just are not the intuitive writer as you. Thank.

    Reply
  17. Donna - July 6, 2018 10:50 am

    Good grief – don’t people have enough to do without bothering you about CFA? I’m sure Truett Cathey understands exactly where you’re coming from, as did I!

    As a radio personality used to say as I was growing up, “Everybody’s got their own sack of rocks to tote around with ‘em…”

    He’d also tell you to “Keep on keeping on…”

    You do that!

    Reply
  18. Kris - July 6, 2018 11:14 am

    I hope you bought the beef chunks and gravy dog food. When did dog food companies come up with the lamb and rice combo for dogs? Thanks for the blog message each day. it’s easy to caught up in the “busyness” of our lives and miss the meaningful moments , and your messages are a good reminder to pay attention.

    Reply
  19. MaryBurns - July 6, 2018 11:14 am

    Like!

    Reply
  20. Connie - July 6, 2018 11:37 am

    Mornin! 🌝 If you could just bottle some ‘Kind Heartedness’ and some Walkin Ray of Sunshine’, and
    get people to take it, the world would be a better place! Thanks for trying to do that by sharing the 💕!

    Reply
  21. Linda - July 6, 2018 11:37 am

    Sean, I understood what you meant when you said you weren’t proud for playing at Chick-fil-A. Only people who are emotionally challenged would take offense at that. We can’t please everyone all the time. I love you!

    Reply
  22. Tina - July 6, 2018 12:07 pm

    I love how God puts people in our path to lift us up when we need lifting. I love your writing and hooray for Scarlet!

    Reply
  23. ViolaClick - July 6, 2018 12:18 pm

    Dear Sean,
    Being a non-professional musician, I knew exactly what you meant in your Chick-fil-A post. How could you NOT be a lover of their chicken! Keep up the encouraging writing that reminds us of all the GOOD people and things that are happening in our wonderful country. 👍

    Reply
  24. Jo Ann - July 6, 2018 12:18 pm

    I think anonymity tends to bring out the meanness in people. Or makes people who are naturally mean feel they can say anything without consequence. If I disagree with something someone writes, I just move on & forget about it. Why comment? Thanks, Sean, for what you share with us every day. You are a blessing.

    Reply
  25. Martha - July 6, 2018 12:29 pm

    You made Scarlet’s day along with her family.
    You didn’t say….. did you get beef or lamb?
    Thelma lovers want to know.

    Reply
  26. Lydia - July 6, 2018 12:39 pm

    Your words touch a lot of hearts!

    Reply
  27. Terri - July 6, 2018 12:39 pm

    Sean, this story about Scarlett made the hair on my arms rise. The power of people in prayer! If I ever see you in Georgia, get ready, cause I’m gonna hug the daylight oughta you! Love you.

    Reply
  28. Connie Havard Ryland - July 6, 2018 12:40 pm

    Love the story. Love you.

    Reply
  29. Edna B. - July 6, 2018 12:42 pm

    These good folks are right. There are a lot of stupid people out there. But you seem to find all the wonderfully good ones. I love your stories, and I wish I could have met your Scarlett o Hara. She sounds like an awesome young lady. My Pogo sends woofs to Thelma Lou. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  30. Carol - July 6, 2018 12:43 pm

    Thank you Sean.
    Your the best!!!!Rhett Butler!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  31. Sue Cronkite - July 6, 2018 12:47 pm

    Over the top fantastic! Keep writing!

    Reply
  32. mimifran - July 6, 2018 12:47 pm

    Sean, having read your stories for several years, it never crossed my mind that you really did not like Chick-fil-A. You love people and all that is good then there are people who look for the dark rather than the light, Blessings to you and one of my favorites, Scarlett O’Hara!

    Reply
  33. Dianne Correll - July 6, 2018 12:56 pm

    You are a Blessing!!

    Reply
  34. Brenda - July 6, 2018 12:57 pm

    Sean, I think your writing makes me a better person. Thank you

    Reply
  35. Laura - July 6, 2018 1:25 pm

    Sean, in today’s world the media tries to always focus on negative, bad things. I have no respect for them. They take anything said or done and twist it to be something it isn’t. When you wrote about Chick-fil-a, I read it and thought, “What musician wants to play a gig at the opening of a fast food place?” You could have been speaking about any fast food place and there would be someone to focus on the negatives. If it had been Starbucks, all the liberals out there would be sure your words were focused on negative thoughts about the lesbian and gay community. If it had been Taco Bueno, your words would be seen as anti-Hispanic by some folks. My point is that the “haters” mentioned in your post yesterday are the ones who always look for negative. Give me a break! I, too, met the Truetts at their church in the Atlanta area. Though Mr. Truett has passed, I am sure he would have laughed at what you said and not taken offense. People need to step back and not look for what is not there. I love you Sean.

    Reply
  36. Brenda - July 6, 2018 1:29 pm

    Dear Sean, you are such a blessing and bring so much light and hope to most people who read your column. I say “most” because of the small minded bigoted people who send you hateful messages. I read your column every morning in my inbox and in no way did I think you meant anything other than what you said. They missed the whole message in your column. Not surprising at all really. They take loving helpful words and twist them to meet their need for hate. Keep on writing buddy and forget those who ridicule your work. You are such an inspiration to those who love your columns. You make us all want to be better people. I am sure I am not alone in saying this. God bless you! And God bless Scarlett!

    Reply
  37. Candy Clark - July 6, 2018 1:38 pm

    Dear Sean – Everyday, you either make me smile or cry! That’s a gift!! Don’t let the ugliness in! Don’t let it change you. I look forward to your posts everyday!

    Reply
  38. Julie Y - July 6, 2018 1:41 pm

    Once, I accidentally sprayed a store clerk with pepper spray. Even though my actions were unintentional, I felt horrible about it, and was depressed for the next several days, until I saw a family of six walking on the freeway after their car broke down. I was driving a vehicle big enough to give them all a ride home, which somehow helped my heartsick over the pepper spray incident and I always figured that family was sent by God to help me feel worthwhile and “good” again. In the same way, I think God sent Scarlett and her family to help you feel better after the C-F-A brouhaha. I am praying for Miss Scarlett today and for her continued healing. And for yours.

    Reply
  39. Anita Wright - July 6, 2018 1:42 pm

    Sean, the only thing I have to say is I am offended that you are trying to take the name of my beloved Crimson Tide’s mascot. JUST KIDDING!!!!! The fact that people have been so ugly to you about a misunderstood comment about Chick Filet just shows how nutty society has become. Keep on keeping on!

    Reply
  40. Beau - July 6, 2018 1:48 pm

    Sean, pay no attention to people who criticize your writing. Young man, you do a fine job and I look forward to your piece in my box every day!

    Reply
  41. Jack Darnell - July 6, 2018 1:55 pm

    Great people entry! Love it@!

    Reply
  42. Charlu Kent - July 6, 2018 2:12 pm

    Soooo lamb n rice, Orr beef n gravy?? Scarlett O’Hara is a beautiful name for a young Warrior Woman.💙🐭❤️😎

    Reply
  43. Jones - July 6, 2018 2:26 pm

    The oil rig probably wouldn’t allow much time for your talent and daily gift to so many of us who read (and need) your daily posts! Roll on!!

    Reply
  44. Michelle Cooper - July 6, 2018 2:28 pm

    I ain’t never seen more butt-hurt people in my life!! And about Chik-fil-a for corn’s sake!! I’ve rolled my eyes so hard, I’ve been looking at the rear of my behind!! Don’t pay no attention to nothing the haters are saying. They got nothing better to do, bless their hearts. Love you Sean!

    Reply
  45. Diana - July 6, 2018 2:30 pm

    Beautiful!

    Reply
  46. Phillip Saunders - July 6, 2018 2:55 pm

    Hey, Sean,
    Another great story today about meeting Scarlett and her family in the grocery. She is tough and sweet all at the same time, and she will make it. Keep meeting good people and writing about them. Try to just brush off the hate mail. A few folks will find something to gripe about no matter what. BTW, next time, get a cart. Lugging all that stuff under your arms might gross out the checkout girl. Hope you remembered Thelma’s dog food. She will remind you later. P.S. I like Chic-fil-a, too.
    Phil

    Reply
  47. janiesjottings - July 6, 2018 3:11 pm

    Beautiful! The part about granny & the church ladies brought tears to my eyes. When my husband was six months old one of his knees became really swollen. There was talk of cancer and amputation. His aunt got with the ladies of her church and started praying. The swelling subsided and it was determined to be a bad infection. He’s 66 and is still going strong. I love hearing about the people you meet. Hope you never stop writing.

    Reply
  48. Shelton Armour - July 6, 2018 3:20 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration. So, Scarlett O’Hara it is.

    Reply
  49. Barbara Assell - July 6, 2018 3:22 pm

    I just went back to the comment I made about chick fil a and it was much kinder than most. I said I hoped it wasn’t what we all read into it. I truly apologize. As one other person commented, you have connections to that fast food restaurant and you are never political. So how could any of us jump to conclusions so quickly? Please forgive us for we know not what we’ve done.

    And, I’ve made reference to some of your posts in my adult Sunday School lessons. You’re the best!

    Reply
  50. Bonnie - July 6, 2018 3:24 pm

    Love, Love your stories!!!

    Reply
  51. Fran Dean - July 6, 2018 3:35 pm

    Sean, don’t ever let any negative comments discourage you. For every negative one, there are many positive ones in thoughts that are not being written. I enjoy your column every day. I love your heart.

    Reply
  52. Jody - July 6, 2018 4:15 pm

    Thank You lord for the gifts Sean shares and the blessings his writing gives us. Thank You ,also, for the healing that Scarlet is enjoying

    Reply
  53. Marcia MacLean - July 6, 2018 4:45 pm

    You made her day just running into you at the grocery store. I can only imagine the thrill Scarlett felt reading this. Thank you Sean for the smile I now have on.

    Reply
  54. Wadena - July 6, 2018 6:09 pm

    Just had to let you know how much I love your column. It is a bright ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark world.

    Reply
  55. Laura - July 6, 2018 7:27 pm

    Sorry- I said Truetts but it was Truett Cathy so I should have said the Cathys. Getting old makes you forget names..;-)

    Reply
  56. Penn Wells - July 6, 2018 8:02 pm

    Sean…buddy…oh wise one: there is a rumor you are not perfect. I like Chick-fil-a, but there’s also a rumor they are not perfect, either….don’t make me count the ways. All you really need to know is that you are loved. BTW, I never understood what all the hubbub was about…but I agree with Karen…who put a burr under those professors saddles??? Keep ‘em, Sean!

    Reply
  57. Lynn - July 6, 2018 8:10 pm

    Thank you for writing today. I loved hearing about Scarlett (beautiful name) and how strong she is and all the church ladies who prayed for her. Bless them! You make me smile everyday and your stories make me thankful for this life we have. May God keep blessing you too!

    Reply
  58. Marcia Zuhlke - July 6, 2018 8:46 pm

    Sean, i have been reading your column daily for about six weeks now. I so like them because they are short but pack a good message. Since you stress friendship, community, family I can’t believe people who follow you would turn on you like a Salem Witch Hunt over ChikFilA (sp never been there)😂😂😂. Pick your battles people! And don’t sweat the small stuff blah blah. Stay strong Sean and keep writing what you feel

    Reply
  59. Donna Johns - July 6, 2018 9:37 pm

    I love how you love people!! P.S. Guess where I’m eating?

    Reply
  60. Carol Stern - July 6, 2018 9:49 pm

    As always, you touched my heart. And Scarlett O’Hara’s❤️

    Reply
  61. Heidi - July 6, 2018 9:56 pm

    I’ll take you over CFA anytime even though I do love their food. I work in retail and there’s always just a few mean people out to ruin someone else’s day. Ya just drop it & move past……..

    Reply
  62. June - July 6, 2018 10:18 pm

    Sean, regardless of what others may say about the Chick-fil-a thing you are awesome. I so enjoy your writing. – former Alabama girl now in Texas

    Reply
  63. Maxine - July 6, 2018 10:52 pm

    I read your article on the Chic Filet gig and understood what you meant the first moment.. I am sorry for those who did not..
    I love Ms Scarlet and her courage and that of her supporters during her journey through a tough challenge.
    You make my day and those of at least a half MILLION more who appreciate the good in this world. I had gotten down on society in general until I started reading the untold stories of the warriors fighting daily battles and winning. PLEASE SEAN, continue to give us hope for a conquering army stamping out selfisness, sadness and grief and defeat. There are fighters out there on all fronts and you are leading the charge. Carry on. We salute your observations of mankind and the reports you send every day encouraging each of us to see and do our best so in passing we can be a good soldier. Love you.

    Reply
  64. Dru - July 6, 2018 11:06 pm

    After the little Chick-fil-A comment, which caused me to wonder a second or two, I knew trouble was coming! So I carefully quit reading comments, till today. Some people are goofy, but not you and not Scarlett. 💃🏼

    Reply
  65. C.E. HARBIN - July 7, 2018 3:15 am

    Praise The Lord for all the Grannies who take to their knees in a crisis, They are true warriors. … AND so is Scarlett O’hara…..and so are you.

    Reply
  66. Billie Bandstra - July 7, 2018 7:18 pm

    I really enjoy you site. Wish my brother in Al. could get them.

    Reply
  67. joyce luker - July 8, 2018 10:13 pm

    The power of prayer still works!!!

    Reply
  68. Doris Wismer - July 9, 2018 5:12 pm

    Chick-fil-a comment was clear as a bell for those who have come to know you via your columns. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.

    Reply
  69. Lisa Reynes - July 14, 2018 1:21 pm

    God bless you Sean! Each and every day!

    Reply

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