Dear Texas

To the 2 million homes in Texas without power right now. To the millions covered in snow, who cannot keep their houses warm during freezing temperatures.

To Karen and Joe, in North Texas, who can see their breath vapor while lying in bed; who are eating cold cans of tuna in the dark, covered in blankets; who are constantly telling their anxious children, “Everything will be okay.”

To Lynn, the single mother with a 6-month-old who was so cold last night she crawled into her idling car parked in the driveway; who cranked the heater and cradled her child; who stayed there until three in the morning until her vehicle ran out of gas.

To elderly Miss Susan, who invited 14 neighbors into her house to share the warmth of her fireplace. She turned it into a party with games, music, and everything.

To Rod, the 32-year-old in Houston who opened his home to three homeless guys he found on the street. Rod welcomed them into his living room and showed them to his gas fireplace. Rod gave them new clothes, hot showers, then fired up his outdoor grill and barbecued a rack of Saint Louis ribs. They ate supper by candlelight.

And to those same long-bearded men who slept in Rod’s living room last night. They were men who, just yesterday, had snow encrusted whiskers and ice-covered eyebrows. As I write this, they are asleep on Rod’s floor, buried beneath a Pikes Peak of quilts, nestled beside a glowing hearth, enjoying full stomachs.

To the 27,229 homeless men and women in the state of Texas who are lost tonight. Most of them are people who have no family ties. Some are mentally ill. Each one is lonely. Almost all have been forced to huddle against buildings, in ditches, or in tents, simply to overcome below-zero wind chills.

To the emergency workers, the EMTs, the sheriff departments, the police officers, the doctors, nurses, firemen, and good Samaritans who comb the streets, alleyways, rural highways, and Texas suburbs looking for adults, kids, or lost animals who need help.

To any who find themselves asleep on the floors of Texas churches, community centers, furniture stores, or makeshift warming shelters.

To the 500 who sought refuge at a Houston facility last night just to stay alive. And to every single Texas person who helps run these 35 impromptu warming shelters throughout the Lonestar State.

To the families of the deceased.

To the family of the older woman and three children who lost power in Houston, who tried to warm themselves but caused an accidental gas fire and died.

To the 13 kids in Fort Worth who were admitted to Cook Children’s Medical Center with carbon monoxide poisoning because their families tried to heat their homes with gas stoves, open ovens, generators, or propane.

To the family members of the two men found near Houston, who were frozen to death on the side of the road.

And to those outside Texas, enduring hard times.

To the family of the Kentucky man whose vehicle ran off an icy highway and flipped.

To the family of the man near Starkville, Mississippi, whose vehicle overturned on an icy road and killed him.

To the family of the little boy in west Tennessee who fell into an ice-covered pond during a winter storm.

To the 250,000 who lost power throughout Appalachia.

To the 200,000 in Oregon who were without electricity from an ice storm.

To the 4 million people who lost power in Mexico.

To the residents of Brunswick County, North Carolina, who endured an EF3 tornado with hardly any warning beforehand; a storm with 160 mph winds; a tornado that killed people, wrecked a county, and destroyed dozens of homes.

To the hordes of school systems that were forced to close; from Chicago to Alabama; from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

To the people who lost power in Oklahoma City, during 8-degree weather.

To those in Nebraska whose power went off during 23-below-zero temperatures—the coldest within 25 years.

To anyone in America reading this right now, who is worried about where life is going. Who doesn’t know what’s happening. Who never knows what’s happening.

To anyone who has ever nailed a smile to their face during this pandemic era, choked back tears, and pretended like everything was fine.

To mothers who wake up in the middle of the night with overwhelming anxiety, who feel as though the world is crashing down on them. To fathers who feel like this past year has tested the stuff they’re made of, who feel they’ve failed.

To anyone who has ever been strong enough to look their children in the eyes and say, “Everything will be okay,” even when they themselves weren’t sure.

And to you. Especially to you.

God bless you.

80 comments

  1. Mary - February 17, 2021 6:45 am

    Amen

    Reply
  2. Pat - February 17, 2021 6:55 am

    And to you, Sean. God bless you.

    Reply
  3. Bob E - February 17, 2021 7:27 am

    Dear Sean, you’ve listed so many heartbreaking ordeals experienced by people in just the last couple days – God bless you and God bless them and help them survive.
    I for one was not aware of the number and severity of all the current happenings and I’m certain there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of similar traumas all around.
    Let us all pray that the unfortunate people in our country and other countries find the will, stamina, fortitude and resources to find better days ahead.

    Reply
  4. Karen - February 17, 2021 7:42 am

    My family is one of the ones in Texas. This is so very, very hard, yet we will get through it. It’s amazing how people are reaching out to help. There is an APP that we use in Houston. People are helping with water, bringing firewood. One woman is cooking meals for free out of her home. Plumbers are teaching single moms what to do about busted pipes or low pressure. I find that God is here in the midst of pain and suffering. We just have to look.
    Thank you for your column. It’s inspiring. God bless you. And Jamie, Mother Mary and all your family.

    Reply
    • Lisa Weir - February 17, 2021 12:48 pm

      Karen, keep seeing the positives. I applaud you and those who are helping others. That’s why we are here. How I would love to be giving out hot meals from my home to all of you in Texas. God bless you. From a friend in Georgia.

      Reply
      • Karen - February 17, 2021 11:56 pm

        How kind of you. God sees your heart and willingness.

        Reply
  5. Bert Anne - February 17, 2021 7:58 am

    Dear Sean, May God Bless you, your loved ones, your family and your community!
    I am always grateful for you — and for your kind, compassionate Heart.

    Reply
  6. Pamela Beauchamp - February 17, 2021 8:29 am

    God bless you too, Sean and everyone else.

    Reply
  7. Lu - February 17, 2021 8:51 am

    Thank you God for those who still love You, and others, more than themselves. Bless you and yours Sean for words we need to hear. May we all be better humans.

    Reply
  8. Cathy Murchison - February 17, 2021 9:06 am

    Thank from Houston! It’s 3 am and the first time I’ve had WiFi in two days. You always have your finger on the pulse but the last four paragraphs said it all….

    Reply
    • CReid - February 17, 2021 3:19 pm

      Cathy, what can we do to help?

      Reply
  9. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - February 17, 2021 9:20 am

    I’m in Bham & was completely prepped for the worst but it passed us by.
    Thank you God & thank you for protecting all those that need you most right now.
    In Christ’s name.

    Reply
  10. Phil Jennings - February 17, 2021 10:18 am

    Thank you for the prayer list, Sean.
    God bless everyone.

    Reply
  11. Patricia Harris - February 17, 2021 10:29 am

    Sean, great post. Some of us were very lucky. We cry for those who weren’t.

    Reply
  12. jeanhogan1248 - February 17, 2021 11:08 am

    This post has made the tragedies of the past few days more clear than anything I’ve seen on tv. This belongs on a full page in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or any major paper between Chicago and LA.
    And yes, Phil, it is truly a prayer list. Let us Pray….

    Reply
  13. Cheryl - February 17, 2021 11:16 am

    Amen

    Reply
  14. Vicky - February 17, 2021 11:16 am

    Thank you for this, Sean. My heart is with all those affected by this terrible storm. Praying for all to be restored quickly and for life to be easier for those that need it the most.

    Reply
  15. Kitty - February 17, 2021 11:18 am

    God bless all the people who are helping others. His bless you Sean. God bless and protect us all

    Reply
  16. Romona Robertson - February 17, 2021 11:22 am

    Such powerful words and a big Amen to them. God BlessYou Sean.

    Reply
  17. Deb - February 17, 2021 11:39 am

    Just WOW. Thank you Sean🙏

    Reply
  18. Jan - February 17, 2021 12:06 pm

    I’m blessed to live in Panama City. Of course we haven’t had this extreme cold like much of the nation, but we are also experiencing extreme cold (for us). I volunteer at a center at our church where we give food and clothing for free every day. We have many homeless come by looking for food and blankets. We ALWAYS run out of blankets. This year God smiled down on us in the form of a local Catholic Church who (unbeknownst to us) held a blanket and sock drive during the month of January and donated all of this to us. Oh, what a blessing this has been. There is still so much goodness in this world in spite of the ugliness that we see each day. Thank you for this column, Sean and reminding us all of this today. God bless you.

    Reply
  19. Marti Schrader - February 17, 2021 12:13 pm

    And GOD BLESS YOU!

    Reply
  20. Ann - February 17, 2021 12:24 pm

    …and God bless you for always keeping us grounded and aware beyond ourselves.❤️🙏🏻

    Reply
  21. Linda Thacker - February 17, 2021 12:30 pm

    Beautiful prayer.

    Reply
  22. Leigh Amiot - February 17, 2021 12:56 pm

    Sean, you’ve shared this burden so please don’t try to carry it all yourself. Your readers are caring, praying, giving, doing, and I’m sure you’ve done something discreetly to help another, so be sure to take a break from the news and refresh yourself. Miss Susan had others over at great personal risk during a pandemic—we all need this level of courage, and Rod’s generosity is absolutely inspiring. You bring us the best of people in the worst of times.

    Reply
  23. B P - February 17, 2021 1:06 pm

    God bless us everyone. God bless us everyone. God bless us everyone.

    Reply
  24. oldlibrariansshelf - February 17, 2021 1:22 pm

    Bless you, Sean Dietrich, most of all–for your BIG heart!

    Reply
  25. dsis3 - February 17, 2021 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this love message to those who need to hear it right now.

    Reply
  26. Guy Tunnell - February 17, 2021 1:30 pm

    I, too, am a Panama City resident, and am BLESSED that our weather hasn’t been nearly as bad as those poor souls in Texas! We have relatives there who, while they do get some electricity, it’s during a “brown out” and they’ve only got service for a few hours daily. May God bless them, and all of the emergency services providers, during these even more challenging times! Many thanks for your encouraging words, Sean. I know that I can always count on you to get my day started off on the right path!

    Reply
  27. Cyn - February 17, 2021 1:30 pm

    Thank you for remind so many of us that there are many who are suffering violently during this winter. May God bless you.

    Reply
  28. Jean - February 17, 2021 1:34 pm

    God bless you as well Sean!

    Reply
  29. Micki - February 17, 2021 1:39 pm

    Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth we’ve had historic lows and many without heat and/or water for days. A club of Jeep owners in Dallas has been offering rides to medical workers from home to work and back. They’ll pick them up at their home at 5 a.m. and show up again at the end of the shift to return them in safety. As of yesterday they had made nearly 1,000 deliveries. God bless the drivers and the workers.

    Reply
  30. Gay Talbott - February 17, 2021 1:40 pm

    And God bless you dear Sean

    Reply
  31. wbpurcell - February 17, 2021 1:45 pm

    And please add all those utility workers who are out in the icy weather working to get services restored.

    Reply
  32. Jan - February 17, 2021 1:50 pm

    Amen and amen! God bless you, Sean, and your big heart! God bless all those around the world who are in need of God’s blessings and love! May this Holy season of Lent beginning today bring comfort, peace and hope to all God’s children!

    Reply
  33. Linda keenum - February 17, 2021 2:06 pm

    I will join in with you, Sean, in asking God to bless all those folks. Wow, so many……and I will thank the Good Lord for my many blessings today, counting them gratefully. And God bless you too, for pointing out those who need our prayers. I love your heart…..

    Reply
  34. Lisa - February 17, 2021 2:08 pm

    God bless everyone, Sean. And God bless you!

    Reply
  35. Julie - February 17, 2021 2:18 pm

    WOW, Sean…just Wow… That is SOME Prayer List!! I am on my knees…

    Reply
  36. Phil (Brown Marlin) - February 17, 2021 2:19 pm

    Thanks, Sean, and God bless you, too. Prayers have been and continue to go up for those suffering from storms of all kinds, wherever, and for those who work tirelessly and faithfully to lend aid to the victims and the needy.

    Reply
  37. Lisa Sanford - February 17, 2021 2:20 pm

    And may He always bless you, my sweet son!!! Crying now!!! Love you, Sean!!!

    Reply
  38. elizabethroosje - February 17, 2021 2:27 pm

    Amen 🙏🕯 praying for these! 2 of my TX friends had pipes burst, ceilings collapsed, we are praying and lighting blessed candles for all ❤

    Reply
  39. Ann Mills - February 17, 2021 2:33 pm

    Dear Sean,
    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. For the first time since March, I feel like someone really cares.
    Ann in Texas

    Reply
  40. Bob Brenner - February 17, 2021 2:59 pm

    Sean thanks for sharing the incredible stories of heroes and those being helped! ❤️

    Reply
  41. Linda - February 17, 2021 3:03 pm

    My heart & prayers go out to all those suffering. My prayers for covering to you Sean, you send out a light of hope, encouragement, awareness & love w each post. Thank you for utilizing your God given gift. Blessings

    Reply
  42. Susie Shultz - February 17, 2021 3:14 pm

    Thank you, Sean. We can never hear enough, in these sad times, of the good in people. Yes, we can pray and thank god all we want…..till the cows come home. But….god helps those who help themselves, am I right?!? Until WE ALL get SERIOUS and band together as a cohesive group on this climate change issue, (yep, there it is again) , these bizzare, extreme, harmful weather patterns will continue to occur and worsten; we haven’t seen anything yet! Yep, there it is again. Extremes in weather. And we humans, the smartest beings on earth, are causing it. WE NEED TO SPEAK UP to our government to GET MOVING FAST on this climate issue. If we don’t act now, people, these harmful weather patterns that are KILLING US AND OUR PLANET WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN. Mother Nature can only repair, in a VERY SLOW fashion, the harms we do, but our actions are overtaking her at an alarming rate. IT’S TIME; IT’S PAST TIME. Our S L O W, LACKADAISICAL attitude toward this issue I find arrogant, shameful and sad for ALL of us. It’s getting past time to act, if it isn’t already. Pray to god all you want, people, but ROW TOWARD SHORE, for all our sakes.

    Reply
  43. Suzie - February 17, 2021 3:54 pm

    Sean, thank you for such a wonderful letter today….my heart goes out to all the many people suffering and blessing to the many people helping in so many wonderful ways !

    Reply
  44. Al Cato - February 17, 2021 3:57 pm

    ” Love your neighbor as yourself even if you are complete strangers” Opportunities abound everyday. Thank you Sean for highlighting so much goodness. Prayers and God’s Blessings pour down on all who are in need.

    Reply
  45. Becca - February 17, 2021 4:00 pm

    THIS is the reason I always read your column every day! You remind me that there are other people less fortunate than yourself and to be thankful for your Faith, family and friends and most of all, your Blessings! Just like my Mama always said! God bless!

    Reply
  46. Charaleen Wright - February 17, 2021 4:13 pm

    💖

    Reply
  47. Bobby - February 17, 2021 4:19 pm

    Sean – one of the most moving things I’ve read in while. Too often we forget the reality of those who impacted by events like this. Thanks for reminding us. And God bless you.

    Reply
  48. Jenny Young - February 17, 2021 4:23 pm

    I hope you’re warm & safe today.

    Reply
  49. Beki Denison - February 17, 2021 4:25 pm

    Thank you Sean. For once in over 3 days I feel like I’m being seen and not forgotten about. I live in Abilene, Tx and it’s now been 49 hours with no electricity. Our entire town has also lost water. It’s heartbreaking to see our local fireman responding to house fires and are forced to let the homes burn to the ground because we have no water. I’m thankful we have places to go to warm up. I’m a single mom and I’m already worrying about losing all the food we had just bought. Where does the money come from for that? But I know my God will provide. He’s never let me down before. I thank everyone for their prayers for everyone who is suffering. Praying friends are the best friends to have.

    Reply
  50. Patricia Gibson - February 17, 2021 4:30 pm

    Amen and God Bless everyone struggling right now🙏❤️

    Reply
  51. Helen De Prima - February 17, 2021 5:05 pm

    To the ranchers and farmers trying to keep their stock alive as well as their families, just at start of calving season. These are the folks who feed our nation and beyond.

    Reply
  52. Helen De Prima - February 17, 2021 5:07 pm

    To the ranchers and farmers trying to keep their stock alive as well as their families. These are the folks who feed our nation.

    Reply
  53. Joretta Parker - February 17, 2021 5:28 pm

    God bless you too Sean. My heart and prayers go out to all these people.

    Reply
  54. peggybilbro - February 17, 2021 5:43 pm

    Thank you for this Sean. So much suffering that we never see or hear about. Bless them all.

    Reply
  55. Sandra Lydahl - February 17, 2021 5:45 pm

    Thank you for a heart warming post today. Truer words were never written.

    Reply
  56. Linda Moon - February 17, 2021 5:48 pm

    My family in Texas who were without power are okay. Doctors in Houston and my family helped save my life when I wasn’t sure that everything would be okay. I’m especially sad to read about the older woman and children who lost their lives while trying to stay warm. God bless you and your family, Sean. I’ll be checking on mine often, with blessings and gratitude.

    Reply
  57. Kate - February 17, 2021 6:47 pm

    Thank you Sean, your goodness is always a blessing and your column gives others an opportunity to share the goodness they see as well, which helps uplift us as well.

    Reply
  58. Linda Holmes - February 17, 2021 7:01 pm

    God bless you, Sean.

    Reply
  59. Heidi - February 17, 2021 7:33 pm

    Our daughter, her husband & three little girls live in N Texas. It’s been rough but they are hanging in there and we are so grateful. It is so important to recognize & remember all the people you listed. We really are one big family. Prayers up for all those suffering and in peril. Thank you.

    Reply
  60. Suzanne Moore - February 17, 2021 7:35 pm

    God bless you, Sean, and God bless all those whom you mentioned in this post, as well as those not named, but known to God. Let’s take care of one another and pray for one another until we get through this crisis.love to you and yours…

    Reply
  61. Margie van oostrum - February 17, 2021 7:45 pm

    Thank you. Sean

    Reply
  62. Debbie Taylor - February 17, 2021 8:35 pm

    Thank you, Sean. And may God bless you for honoring those who are struggling with your light, your humble heart, and your beautiful words.

    Reply
  63. Alice Purim - February 17, 2021 10:33 pm

    Thank you. God bless you, Sean.

    Reply
  64. Julie Stovall - February 17, 2021 10:50 pm

    Thank you for your loving tribute to good Samaritans and request for blessings on all affected by this weather event. You mentioned the little boy in West Tennessee who fell into a lake. This 10-year-old child actually jumped into the water to save his 6-year-old sister who had fallen through the ice. The little boy was able to push his baby sister to safety, but drowned in the attempt. Life has heartbreak and beauty.

    Reply
  65. Joan Mitchell - February 17, 2021 11:02 pm

    God bless you for writing this.

    Reply
  66. Bill - February 17, 2021 11:15 pm

    Yes, by all means. God Bless.

    Reply
  67. MAM - February 17, 2021 11:16 pm

    May God Bless you, Sean!

    Reply
  68. Robyn Coffey - February 17, 2021 11:59 pm

    I ❤️ You Sean!!!

    Reply
  69. Bernadette Wyckoff - February 18, 2021 1:08 am

    Tears flowing and still trying to believe things will be ok. I am a native of Houston. Feeling pain I haven’t felt since leaving to relocate to S Alabama 33 years ago. To all friends, family, and anyone who may have crossed my path in life there especially children, homeless and elderly…I am grieving your losses and praying for your safety. Lord please let this nightmare end and thank-you you Sean for grieving with all of us…your words said it all for our whole country.🙏🙏🙏🙏

    Reply
  70. Annie Sommers - February 18, 2021 2:44 am

    Sean, God Bless all the ones hurting and suffering tonight from someone in Alabama. You always know what needs to be said during these trying times. You have been and are a gery Special Angel.

    Reply
  71. Katie J Waters - February 18, 2021 5:25 am

    AMEN!

    Reply
  72. Louise - February 18, 2021 2:36 pm

    Amen

    Reply
  73. Jane - February 18, 2021 4:51 pm

    Amen.

    Reply
  74. Heather Braun - February 18, 2021 7:53 pm

    This is a great way to keep warm without electricity:
    https://youtu.be/eyRzcwGbvwE

    Reply
  75. Suz Cahill - February 19, 2021 2:29 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  76. Peggy Thompson - February 20, 2021 5:02 pm

    Amen…God Bless all..I 🙏🙏🙏

    Reply
  77. Katie - February 20, 2021 8:43 pm

    God bless you Sean.

    Reply

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