It’s funny, what you think about in your final moments.

I’m watching a sunrise through tall Southern pines. It’s making its heavenly climb, and I’m looking right at it, sitting on the hood of my truck.

Last night, I was almost killed. I’m not joking. I was nearly hit head-on by a red truck that was driving in the wrong lane.

It was dark. I was the only one on the road. I saw headlights speeding toward me. And I mean speeding.

I expected the vehicle would get out of my way. It didn’t. I almost swerved for the ditch.

I closed my eyes. I expected a loud sound, followed by pain, maybe the voice of Charlton Heston.

What I heard was a vehicle scream by fast enough to suck the rust off my hitch.

I pulled over. My heart beat hard enough to crack my sternum. And I cried.

It’s funny, what you think about in your final moments.

I thought about the old woman from my childhood church. She was white-haired, and balding. She claimed that on the night my father died, she had a vision. She said she saw him laughing in heaven.

For years, I was not happy about her unsolicited remarks. I don’t know why.

I don’t feel that way anymore. I’m glad she told me.

During my brief encounter, I also wondered if I’d wake up to abalone gates. Would I see Granny? My uncles, my aunts? My father?

Or: would I wake up as a baby squirrel, high up in a longleaf pine. A mockingbird, tweeting in a nest, maybe? Or a newborn hound, in someone’s barn? Or a hungry raccoon, nosing through garbage for some fresh loaded diapers?

I thought about my wife.

When we first married, I once told her I didn’t want her to remarry if I died. I joked, saying I wanted her to grieve me as a lonely widow. We’d laugh about that.

But last night, I was sorry I ever joked like that. My best friend deserves to be happy, whether I’m breathing or not. When the speeding truck was only inches from my bumper, I said a prayer.

The prayer only lasted a nanosecond, but it was a prayer nonetheless. I prayed for her happiness.

I’m lucky. My God. I am lucky.

I’m lucky to be writing this. I’m lucky to be right here. Right now.

Certainly, I have known bad days, I have known heartache, and I have known sadness—so have you.

But I’ve also known love. Real love. The granite-busting kind. And it never came from where I thought it would. It came from strangers. People of no blood relation.

I have had good moments in this life. I’ve walked the woods during spring, with a dog and a woman beside me. I’ve floated the Suwannee in a canoe with my wife on her birthday.

I’ve seen my widowed mother learn to love again. I’ve held my redheaded niece and heard her say my name.

I have watched more sunrises than I can count. I never get tired of such glorious, but brief moments. I hope you get to see one today. A good one.

I really do.

We don’t get nearly enough of them.


  1. Susan - January 30, 2019 6:56 am

    I’m so glad you are here. Thank you for sharing again. Life is better with you in it!

  2. Sandi in FL. - January 30, 2019 7:21 am

    Whew, Sean. That was a very close call. I hope that speeding red truck didn’t hit some innocent driver further down the road. Thank God he did not crash into you!

  3. Pamela Sullivent - January 30, 2019 7:39 am

    Sean… you had a guardian angel and sometimes those guardian angels go by the name Dad.
    And of course a co-pilot named God.
    Really enjoy reading how much you love your wife! I’d like to think my husband loves me just as much.
    Please continue to live your dream and letting us ride along!

  4. Betty F. - January 30, 2019 9:25 am

    So glad you survived that oh so close call. With luck that other driver got the scare of his life and will get help so no one else will have to face death at his hands, too. Selfishly I am glad you lived to love another day and write to us again.

  5. Nancy - January 30, 2019 10:53 am

    Thank the a Lord that you are okay. We are all so blessed that you are in our lives and I can’t imagine my mornings without you. Jamie is a lucky woman to have a man that loves her so.

  6. Jean - January 30, 2019 11:01 am

    I am thankful you are ok. A real close call! I think maybe you have several Guardian Angels looking out for you. I don’t think one could get the job done as it is with me.

  7. sparkerlpc - January 30, 2019 11:19 am

    I am so thankful you are alright. Surely the Lord was watching over you. What a horrible experience! Just like you to wring the good from it and use it as a blessing for you and for us. Thank you, Sean!

  8. Elizabeth Edens - January 30, 2019 11:25 am

    Finding gratitude in the midst of pain, that’s a real gift. Hang on to it!

  9. Barbara - January 30, 2019 11:35 am

    Your prayer was answered and because of it, we are blessed that you were spared. I’m thankful it wasn’t chance or luck, but a blessing, to marvel at another sunrise, hold tight your dear Jamie, love on your dogs, share your stories with us. Thanking the Lord for your protection.

  10. Grace Murdock - January 30, 2019 11:57 am

    You were blessed. Believe what you believe and continue to spread your heartfelt messages.

  11. Beth Ann Chiles - January 30, 2019 12:23 pm

    I am so relieved…what would the world do without Sean Dietrich? It would be a sadder place for sure. As I write this comment I am watching the sunrise. I, like you, can never get enough of them and our house is situated so we can watch the sun rise each morning over the lake. I can’t think of a better view. Thank you for today’s words and stay safe, my friend.

  12. Sherry - January 30, 2019 12:25 pm

    God is love….

  13. Keloth Anne - January 30, 2019 12:27 pm

    So glad you are safe??
    You spread so much goodness, love and joy and I pray your day is filled with blessings and hugs♥️♥️

  14. Susie - January 30, 2019 12:30 pm

    So thankful God was watching over you and spared your life. How many times does He watch and care for all of us each day.
    What a miracle our lives are.
    Keep on, keeping on.

  15. Peggy Savage - January 30, 2019 1:03 pm

    Powerful experirnce. So thankful for your safety. Blessings as we share another beautiful day together.

  16. Debbie - January 30, 2019 1:28 pm

    Sean, you have so much yet to give the world and I am glad you are still here to do it❤️
    Your friend,

  17. Johnny Parker - January 30, 2019 1:31 pm

    Angels watching over you, Sean.

  18. Debbie Britt - January 30, 2019 1:36 pm

    Life is fragile! Handle with care! So glad God allowed you another glorious sunrise! Make the most of it like I know you will!

  19. Regina Hudson Birrenkott - January 30, 2019 1:42 pm

    The close encounters always remind me of the things I treasure in this life. I’m so glad you are still with us this morning, to remind us of the everyday things that we take for granted. I grew up in Mississippi and your writings all seem to capture the best parts of the South and the state I love! Thank you

  20. Margie Van Oostrum - January 30, 2019 1:42 pm

    Thankful that you are here for another sunrise and sunset. God is not done with what He has for you here on earth yet. You encourage so many people. I am so thankful for your postive people- loving stories.

  21. Jan - January 30, 2019 2:05 pm

    So thankful for your presence in this world, thankful that your near miss was just that – a miss! You are someone who sees through the extraneous to the solid gold center in life. We need more of that … Your post today reminds me of one of my favorite John Denver songs – “Poems, Prayers and Promises”!

  22. Patricia A Schmaltz - January 30, 2019 2:10 pm

    SO glad you are safe! We are lucky to be reading this note, and knowing we get to read many more. I believe in prayer and sending good thoughts to all, and in giving thanks. THANKFUL for YOU!

  23. Pam Watson - January 30, 2019 2:32 pm

    Wow Sean! I sure am glad you’re ok! You weren’t “lucky” though. You were “blessed”!!!!!

  24. Rhonda - January 30, 2019 2:33 pm

    Sorry Dude, We ain’t giving you up yet. Too many need these words every morning like manna from the good book. Lets pray for the truck driver. Something tells me they might not know even know how close they came.

  25. Tammy Moody - January 30, 2019 3:16 pm

    Our sunrise was gorgeous this morning! It had to be viewed from inside, since the temp outside is -15° . With a temp like that I’m just glad the sun is shining today! Bless you Sean – I’m so glad that truck missed! ♥

  26. Heidi - January 30, 2019 3:26 pm

    Sometimes we get an experience that makes us rethink or appreciate more. You got yours last night PLUS keeping your guardian angels on their toes! It’s not your time yet Sean….thank God. You have a lot more work to do.

  27. Shelton A. - January 30, 2019 3:50 pm

    Glad you’re still with us. Brushes like that change how we see everything. Been there, done that.

  28. that's jack - January 30, 2019 3:52 pm

    Glad it was you, and glad YOU missed the chance to see the pearly gates this time, but glad for good memories. You are able to make me remember about as good as my sweetheart can!
    Good one and stay off ’em back roads, I hear folks hauling liquor on ’em…. In Red trucks, WIDE OPEN!

  29. Connie Havard Ryland - January 30, 2019 4:10 pm

    Thankful you are okay and still here to write about it. Thankful every day someone shared your column and I read it because I’ve been hooked ever since. Love and hugs.

  30. Ala Red Clay Girl - January 30, 2019 5:16 pm

    God must have decided you needed more time with Jamie & other loved ones, more walks with your dogs, more sunrises to watch, and more columns to write! I so enjoyed hearing you and then getting to meet you and Jamie at Athens State University a couple of weeks ago.

  31. Barbara Kornegay - January 30, 2019 5:21 pm

    You’re not lucky. You are blessed by God. And I am blessed because I can continue to read your uplifting stories everyday. Love you!

  32. Jon Dragonfly - January 30, 2019 5:49 pm

    I have told my family that I intend to come back as a mockingbird. So, in the Spring, when they hear a mockingbird gaily singing, they’ll know it’s me singing to them.

  33. 4Dees - January 30, 2019 6:14 pm

    Thankful you are okay!

  34. Barbara - January 30, 2019 6:36 pm

    Thank you again Sean for your messages of Hope, Love, and Peace. I read them every day, and am grateful for your thoughts, memories, and peace.

  35. Janie F. - January 30, 2019 6:48 pm

    I’m so glad you’re ok Sean!!! Once I was driving to work on rain slicked pavement when the car in front of my hydroplaned & turned in a half circle and headed toward me in my lane. At the last second, it seemed, the car veered off the road and down a deep embankment. This was before cell phones. I didn’t stop because just up the road was a convenience store. I ran in and told them what had happened & asked them to call 911. It was a close call and I still hate being on the road when it’s raining. Life can change in the blink of an eye. We should be grateful for every blessing.

  36. Mona Robertson - January 30, 2019 6:52 pm

    I feel your awe and understand how this makes each following day very special. I was not lucky in the fact that the oncoming car in my lane missed me but still lucky with months off work and months of physical therapy I survived almost as good as new and I am here to tell you and anyone who will listen that “God is good”. So happy we, who love reading your work, still have you to to keep writing. May God continue to bless and keep you.

  37. Kathy Daum - January 30, 2019 7:12 pm

    “Life is too damn short. Which only makes it more beautiful. ” You said that once, and it’s true.

  38. Becca - January 30, 2019 7:41 pm

    So glad you are still able to show us the world through your eyes, Sean.

  39. Nix - January 30, 2019 8:07 pm

    So beautiful. You are here, another day, to tell a story. You tell good stories, Sean. Glad you are still with us!

  40. Leslie - January 30, 2019 9:00 pm

    So thankful you are still here! We need you to remind us to look for the good every day!

  41. Terri C Boykin - January 30, 2019 9:51 pm

    God is good! Love you much Sean.

  42. Cheryl Ward - January 30, 2019 10:08 pm

    Don’t we all need a moment like this to put things in perspective. My husband and I have been married 55 years in July and have often said the same selfish thing but loving them as ourself makes us want them to find someone to care about. Thanks for all the great truths and thankful HE alloiwed you to live and write and speak and share.

  43. Jenny Young - January 30, 2019 10:51 pm

    I watch the sunrise every single day I can….it is always inspiring.

  44. Stuart - January 31, 2019 3:50 am

    Glad you’re ok.
    If you’ve ever done something for someone and somebody else got credit for it, you don’t appreciate that much.
    I dont think God appreciates “luck” getting the credit.
    And people aren’t reincarnated. Your soul and spirit will go to heaven to be joined later by a glorified, resurrected body, unless the Lord comes back before you die. Then you will be caught up with him in the air, glorified and taken to heaven to worship him forevermore.
    Now, that’s a whole heap better than being a squirrel and getting eaten by someone like me.

  45. Peggy Bilbro - January 31, 2019 4:03 am

    I’m glad you are still on this side of the pearly gates. Now go home and tell Jamie to find happiness no matter what, whether you are still here or not. But I’m still glad you’re still here.

  46. Carol Stern - January 31, 2019 4:31 am

    Are you coming to Mississippi any time soon. Would love to see you!

  47. Mary Lee Morris - January 31, 2019 7:50 pm

    I thank God you are safe, Sean. I would miss you terribly.
    Love and prayers,
    Mary Lee

  48. Edna B. - February 1, 2019 12:09 am

    I’m glad to hear that you are okay. I lost one of my daughters in a nasty car crash. I’m so glad your angel was riding with you Sean. You have a wonderful evening, hugs, Edna B.

    • Janet Mary Lee - February 14, 2019 6:16 pm

      Edna B…So sorry for your loss. I know you are a long time reader of Sean’s work and you always have something wonderful and full of love to say. Prayers for you and your family. for your loss.

  49. Janet Mary Lee - February 14, 2019 6:25 pm

    Sometimes I get behind reading you Sean. I live alone except for my Hound/Pointer mix, whom I love dearly.(you know!!). But on reading this my heart stopped. I agree, God is just not thru with you yet!! And what insight you will have, more than you usually do!! I also am just happy you are here. I was hit by a log truck who was going 60mph.It sheared off the entire side of my car, but I was fine but for a few stitches on my head. But what remains the most profound part of my experience is the other worldness, thankfulness, and gratitude I experienced at this time. God is most Awesome and His ways are not ours. I am thankful to this day for Him and my Fluffy Angels..(I am fluffy!). Bless you Sean. I am thankful for you!

  50. Gloria Rumph - February 28, 2019 9:06 pm

    I’m so glad you weren’t hurt and we will still have you around for us to read your stories about you and Jamie Thelma Lou and Otis Campbell! You’re one of the highlights of our day!??


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