About a year ago. Before the pandemic. I saw him across the crowded restaurant with his elderly parents. They didn’t look like they’d aged a bit. But he did. His face was lean, his skin was wrinkled, he was gaunt. And he still had his trademark sense of humor.
I told him I hardly recognized him.
“Yeah,” he said, “it’s this new diet I’m on, it’s called being sick, the weight just falls off.”
This is not his best joke, I’m not sure whether I should laugh.
Then he gave me the real story. It’s a long one, I don’t have room to tell it all. He became very ill with an autoimmune disease. Doctors said he was dying. His parents were braced for the worst. His mother and father became his caregivers.
His parents tell me that for two years, they did a lot of talking to the sky, asking for help.
Doctors still can’t explain how he was cured. Maybe it was the treatment. Maybe it was something else. They aren’t sure. All anyone knows is that one day he woke up better. No traces of illness are left.
“Now all I have to do is gain weight,” he tells me.
I have another friend I wanted to tell you about. I grew up with him. We once went to Mardi Gras together when we were young men—which is another long story that I don’t have time for. Let’s just say that I almost ended up as a permanent smear on a New Orleans sidewalk.
A few years ago my friend had the worst year of his life. His marriage sort of fell apart. His wife left him and took their son with her. Next he lost his business, then his money. He became suicidal.
One night, while asleep on his brother’s sofa-sleeper he had decided that he was going to end it all on the following day. He had even worked out how he would do it.
He says he whispered to the ceiling, “You’re the only one who can stop me, if you give a damn about me, you will.”
The next morning, he was awoken by the sound of a car in the driveway. It was his wife and son. She had driven three hundred miles overnight on a whim. She couldn’t explain why, but she wanted to patch things up. They are together today.
He’s never told anyone what I just told you. So try to keep that to yourself if you don’t mind.
Here’s another. I got an email from a gal who told me that all her life she wanted to play music. But you know how life goes. You don’t always get everything you want.
She married, had two kids, there was no time for music. Instead she worked a job that she hated and found herself in charge of the soccer carpool. She was falling apart inside.
Until one fateful week.
She got a call. A complete stranger offered her the lead role in a local acoustic folk band. She was so excited that she practiced for two weeks beforehand.
On the night of the performance her husband and children were sitting in the front row eating onion rings. She sang her heart out and received a five-person standing ovation. Three people were immediate relatives. Two were cousins.
After a few gigs, a man from a nearby private school called her and told her that he had seen her perform. He said the school he worked for had just lost their music teacher. He asked if she would apply to teach music.
She is happy to report that she has been a music teacher for almost two years now, and her school’s pandemic-style virtual Christmas program was a glorious technological train wreck. She still sings with a folk band sometimes. Although gigs are hard to come by during the coronavirus era.
Let’s see, what else?
Oh, I almost forgot. I got a letter in the mail from a 71-year-old woman in North Texas. The letter said that her dog recently died. A yellow Lab named Duke.
Duke was born in a shelter. She adopted him and loved him for six years until he got hit by a car.
A few weeks after his death, she got a call from the same shelter. The shelter said that a man had dropped off a dog because he couldn’t care for it anymore due to his job. The shelter was asking her to adopt it.
“No thanks,” she told them, “I just lost a dog, and I’m not ready for another.”
“Well, that’s why we’re calling you,” they told her. “This is Duke’s brother, from the same litter, six years ago. He’s an identical yellow Lab.”
That was all she needed to hear. Even though it was evening, she drove clear across town to the shelter, still wearing her ratty pajamas. Also at the time, she says—and this was actually written in her letter—that she “wasn’t even wearing a bra.” Older women can be a little too forthcoming.
She burst into the shelter, “totally unbound,” she points out, and many young men had to divert their eyes.
The dog was the spitting image of Duke. She took him home. His new name is Luke, in case you’re curious. Though, if it had been me, I would have named him “Of Earl.” But that’s beside the point. Speaking of points, you were probably wondering if there was a point to this column, there is:
Don’t give up. Not yet.
Help is on the way.
Joy Taylor-Lane - January 24, 2021 7:18 am
Thank you Sean, keep them coming. I appreciate the rays of sunshine through the clouds.
garwyo - January 24, 2021 7:30 am
Nell Thomas - January 24, 2021 9:00 am
A good one for this day and time. Something many of us needed to hear. Thank you.
Norma Den - January 24, 2021 10:19 am
Thank you. Today’s message has given me hope. Long story, better leave it at that. God bless you 🙏✝️
Peter grant - January 24, 2021 10:24 am
Nan - January 24, 2021 10:30 am
Thank you, I needed this…
PMc - January 24, 2021 10:37 am
Thanks for these kind words of hope. Today would have been my Mom’s birthday and she would havd said it like you just did for us.
Peace and Hope from Homewood ~ PMc 🙏
Margaret E Odell - January 24, 2021 11:35 am
I always wish you had room to tell just one more story… Thank you for the reminder that God really is the One in charge, today and forever!
Cyn - January 24, 2021 12:22 pm
In God’s time!🙏🏻 Thanks. 😍
Ann - January 24, 2021 12:26 pm
Susan Nelms - January 24, 2021 12:44 pm
Thank you for the uplifting stories! We have nothing if we have no hope!
Bob Brenner - January 24, 2021 1:25 pm
Oh Sean, it’s already here and it’s you!! THANKS ❤️⛅️
Trilby - January 24, 2021 1:41 pm
Molly - January 24, 2021 1:55 pm
Another great story! Just what I needed! Thank you!
Bkr - January 24, 2021 2:09 pm
You have a gift for easing a burden I wasnt aware was there. Your writing just makes me breathe easier -thank you.
Jo Ann - January 24, 2021 2:11 pm
Thanks again for a wonderful message, Sean. No one would ever know these amazing stories if you hadn’t told us. Yes, they are amazing, they changed the lives of all these people. We all just need to wait, hope is never lost.
Sue Cronkite - January 24, 2021 2:14 pm
Yes! Help is on the way!
Connie - January 24, 2021 2:22 pm
Giving up is not an option. I tell my kids that all the time. I’ve seen enough in my life to know that just because things might be bad, there is always hope. You just have to hang on and pray a lot. And believe.
Jan - January 24, 2021 2:26 pm
As the song says – “Hold on, I’m coming…” . So we hold on tight and keep praying and believing! Thanks, Sean.
Peggy Thompson - January 24, 2021 2:27 pm
Love this! Great true stories of life…thank you♥️
Ruth Ann - January 24, 2021 2:32 pm
Thank you. Glad I can type by touch…the keys are a little blurry now. But I feel better.
Dee Thompson - January 24, 2021 2:43 pm
Great to see this. There have been some times in my life I was ready to throw in the towel and didn’t, and I give all credit to the Lord. It’s during such times when we find out if we truly have faith. Right now I am having to sell the home I love and there is so much chaos I am feeling mentally exhausted all the time — like many others, I’m sure. Uplifting stories like this help me to stay positive. God Bless You!
Heidi - January 24, 2021 3:01 pm
I’m adding my Thanks with everyone else. Sometimes we just need a little good news. Please keep bringing it because God knows, this has been a struggle.❤️
Tammy S. - January 24, 2021 3:56 pm
This verse immediately came to mind. I have read it often over the past year.
“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalms 121:1-2 HCSB
Thank you, Sean. As always, beautifully written.
elizabeth - January 24, 2021 3:57 pm
I wonder if Sean actually reads these comments. I sure hope he does because he does a lot of good for a lot of people. Thank you Sean.
Kathy - January 24, 2021 4:09 pm
I think the title is a typo. Should have been “A Little God.” Thanks, as always.
Sharon - January 24, 2021 5:07 pm
Thank you so much… your daily blog brings so much joy to my day!!!
John Skelton - January 24, 2021 5:29 pm
I had a friend who was looking for a chocolate lab, by found out they were too expensive. So he started looking at yellow labs. Same problem. So he finally got a meth lab.
Linda Moon - January 24, 2021 5:56 pm
I once wanted to be a back-up singer for Aretha Franklin. I never got the call. I’ve given up on the back-up singing but not on the good in LIFE as I walk through this world. Help always comes my way from good columns that I read from a Duke Of The South!
Roy - January 24, 2021 6:43 pm
Loved the stories. Thanks for sharing them and yourself.
MAM - January 24, 2021 7:37 pm
A simple, but profound, thanks suffices!
Ann Gramlich - January 24, 2021 7:47 pm
Amen to that. It was a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL blog. I am so proud of you and so thankful foryou.
Steve Winfield (Lifer) - January 24, 2021 8:29 pm
I’m living proof that things get better.
Pray every day & never stop trying.
Jannie Bryant - January 24, 2021 8:42 pm
Thank you Sean. Really needed this today. Your writing brightens my
day, gives me perspective, make me think, and reminds me of all the good out there.
Gary Tate - January 24, 2021 10:26 pm
Amen! Thank you Jesus !!!🙏🙏🙏❤️
Joann Thompson - January 24, 2021 11:02 pm
I hope my friends aren’t getting tired of me sending them your columns. Almost everyday I think of someone who usually appreciates that I have sent it. God bless you.
Cynthia Russell - January 24, 2021 11:17 pm
SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank YOU!
joan moore - January 24, 2021 11:43 pm
Your columns are like life saving medicine!
Jane - January 25, 2021 12:18 am
Yes. Just when the night is the darkest…..
Shirley R - January 25, 2021 12:33 am
Ob I liked that !!! Thanks
Christina - January 25, 2021 1:33 am
Just what we need now. Thanks
Jan-e Thornton - January 25, 2021 2:02 am
Thank you, I laughed.
Sherry in Texas - January 25, 2021 3:26 pm
I love your title. I would never call my God “little”.
Charlotte - January 25, 2021 5:15 pm
The worst thing is never the last thing.
Charaleen Wright - February 5, 2021 6:17 am
Julie - February 7, 2021 5:43 pm
Just goes to show, there are “God Winks” all around ✝️
Amy Elliott - September 4, 2021 2:28 am
I’m reading this as I’m sitting on my couch where my 10 month old boxer/lab mix River (or Lovebug, Bug or Punkin…lol) has been laying across my arm until it’s all tingly and almost numb. She was a rescue that found her way to us through my best friend not long after our Best Boy Finn passed away from cancer at six years old. My heart was truly broken but this little jet black wiggleworm with an adorable underbite managed to fill that crack with love and puppy breath. Dogs are truly a gift from God…❤️🐾