Maybe this will be the year. Maybe this will be the Christmas that erases all the bad stuff that’s happened. Maybe the old year will disappear once the holiday arrives and all our troubles will be out of sight. You never know.
Perhaps some wonderful thing you’ve been waiting for is going to spontaneously occur this year. Maybe you’re about to be happier than you’ve ever been. Maybe a surprise will come out of nowhere.
Perhaps you’ll make a new best friend. Or you might get a new job that will put money in your pocket. Maybe the handsome guy in third period English will ask you on a date.
Maybe your cancer will respond to treatment. Maybe for once you will stand up for yourself. Maybe you’ll finally be pregnant. Maybe your father, who abandoned you when you were a kid, will call after 30 years and apologize. Maybe you will fall in love. Maybe this will be the year.
I know you think I’m full of it, but what if I’m not? After all, this kind of stuff happens every day. So why couldn’t it happen to you? Tell me, why not? I am being serious, I would like you to explain why something wonderful can’t happen to you personally. Go ahead, I’m waiting.
See? You can’t do it. You can’t name one valid reason why an event that is life-changingly, unexpectedly awesome can’t take place in your life. Because the one thing we all know about this universe is this: anything can happen.
So, not to point out the obvious, but this means that on a deep level, you are aware that these miracles are always behind the gate. They can take shape as easily as clouds materialize in minutes. They can grow as simply as a sapling becomes a sycamore. As surely as a Buick burns oil.
Good things can happen as effortlessly as tragedies. And these marvelous joys can befall entire civilizations at once. Which leads me back to my opening sentence, which was… Hold on, let me look. Ah, yes.
Maybe this will be the year.
Now, I know that this is all starting to sound pretty far fetched, but I promise, I’m not a complete weirdo. I don’t organize my furniture according to feng shui, and I’m not selling an infomercial book series on how to get rich, cut carbs, and get a firm butt in 30 days or less.
I am talking to you in solid, feasible, logical terms. Good stuff can happen in your life. It can happen to the entire human race, too. It happens the same way a virus spreads. And we’ve learned a lot about viral things this year, haven’t we?
When goodness multiplies it becomes an unseen whitewater flood that even the strongest civil engineers could not dam. Like a torrent that smooths jagged boulders, cuts through mountains, and carves brand new Grand Canyons into the heart of man. And even though you might not physically see all these good vibes swimming around, believe me, they’re out there.
A few days ago at Dairy Queen something good happened. It took place about 100 miles north of Minneapolis, in the wintry town of Brainerd. An ordinary guy pulled up to the drive-thru window and told the cashier he wanted to pay for the order of the car behind him.
It was a nice gesture. The store manager, Tina Jensen, has seen this happen before. This sort of thing isn’t unheard of during the holidays. Usually the next person in line realizes they’re getting a free meal and ends up doing the same thing for the car behind them. On and on it goes.
Tina Jensen says a chain reaction like this can sometimes last for up to 10 or 15 cars before it peters out.
But in the little town of Brainerd, on one chilly Thursday, a 10-dollar gesture of goodwill did not peter out. In fact it spread like heat rash.
After one man paid for the car behind him, it just kept going. Pretty soon every single customer in the drive-thru line was doing the same.
This kept up all morning. Then all afternoon. All night. And it carried over into the next morning. And the next afternoon. And the next evening. And the next day. This domino-effect took place for two and a half days, each person doing their part, each person adding to the chain of Christmas glee. And after 900 hundred vehicles, it was STILL HAPPENING.
Nine hundred. Stop and think about that.
That’s a rural school district. That’s 100 baseball teams. That’s… It doesn’t matter how many that is. What matters is that these 900 people are your fellow human beings. Within that drive-thru line was your boss, your landlord, your neighbor, your mother, your babysitter, your cousin, probably not your ex, but give it time.
That’s a lot of good out there. Maybe somebody who gave money at that drive-thru will even be reading these words. Or better yet, maybe somebody reading this will end up starting the same thing at their drive-thru. Maybe people will be doing unsolicited charitable deeds in Cleveland, Atlanta, Sacramento, South Padre Island, Washington D.C., Pensacola, Eugene, Los Alamos, or Topeka.
Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t a rare act that happened in a fairytale-like distant land, but something that happens every moment of every day. All the time. Around the world. In every dark corner.
Maybe simply knowing how much unrestrained beauty is out there will help you realize that it’s not a matter of whether this unseen goodness can alter the world, but it’s just a matter of when.
Maybe this will be the year.
Susan - December 11, 2020 6:25 am
Beautiful. While reading this, the hymn “Pass It On” came to mind. We should spread kindness, generosity, and love all year long.
Paula - December 11, 2020 6:28 am
Oh, Sean! This is one of the best you’ve written! Thank you!
Meredith Smith - December 11, 2020 10:12 am
Sean, my mantra is to Be Kind. But you might know that already bc I’ve said that before. And my Instagram page says it. Anyway I totally believe what you are saying. It can totally happen. Just believe and have hope. And it helps that your post came in at 1:11. I see that and 11:11 every day, numbers that I believe mean something bigger in my life. Now make no mistake-I’m not into numerology or anything, but when you see something every day, it starts to get wierd and you notice it. So I believe it will manifest itself into something good in 2021. I believe. ❤️
Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - December 11, 2020 10:18 am
Maybe. We can hope and do our part. My money is on next year though.
Jean - December 11, 2020 12:07 pm
I hope so!!! We need a major dose of good will and happiness right now. I hope it begins now!
Karen Goss - December 11, 2020 12:40 pm
My husband and I bought an inn and restaurant 16 months before COVID-19 fell upon the world. I can tell you, to the penny, what we’ve lost but I can also tell you about all we gained. We can tell you so many stories of kindness we’ve encountered, so much good that has happened this year. There is much, much more good in our world. You just have to be sure you’re looking for it. Look for it, you don’t want to miss it 🙂
Susan Parker - December 11, 2020 12:51 pm
God bless you, Karen. Your ability to notice and be thankful for your blessings while enduring such hardship is inspirational. Merry Christmas!
Susan Parker - December 11, 2020 12:53 pm
Exactly, Susan. Pass it on. “It only takes a spark…”!
Kate - December 11, 2020 12:59 pm
One rarely sees good or kindness or a miracle when they are focused on themselves. Good happens when we give to others. There are a lot of people who have very little who are happy and filled with joy and are giving and loving. There are others who have much and are miserable, grumpy, and constantly find fault. It is always our choice. Not always easy, but the best way to stop focusing on yourself is to do something for someone else. There are plenty of people who would love a phone call, NOT A TEXT, to actually hear someone’s voice, and have someone to talk to. Not to hear about their misery but to hear them share something positive, a story, a memory, a “feel good” laugh. Thanks for all your positive Sean. I know someone who takes $500 each Christmas and randomly gives away $20.00 bills. The rule is that you cannot give to anyone you know. While $20.00 might not seem like a lot to some, it brings a lot of smiles to people who are working at fast food windows, standing at the gas pump, and generally just look tired and defeated. Merry Christmas Sean, to you and yours. Thank you for being a light.
DiAn - December 11, 2020 1:42 pm
Maybe this’ll be the column that starts it all! Thank you, Sean, for following your gut and for writing this down. And, Merry Christmas!
Norma Pruss - December 11, 2020 1:47 pm
Your best column yet! Thank you!!!
Debbie - December 11, 2020 1:52 pm
I too pledge to join the crowd of “ this little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine”. Merry Christmas to all thank you dear Sean
Jo Ann - December 11, 2020 2:01 pm
Thank you, Sean, for again reminding us that lots of good people are around us every day & night. We don’t hear about them, but they’re quietly going about their towns doing good things for others. We love you.
Beryl - December 11, 2020 2:01 pm
Johnny Mercer sang, “Accentuate The Positive.” Let it ring out across the land. Thanks for the reminder.
Leslie - December 11, 2020 2:11 pm
Impossible as it may seem, 2020 has been the year for my husband and me. Selling a home in a day, moving to a new city for a once in a life-time ministry, finding and buying a new home that we love and it all started pre-Covid. 2020 has been a miserable year, but I still claim it as a year of blessings in the midst of all the misery. I believe 2021 will blow our collective socks off! God is good. Thank you for your blogs, Sean. May your holidays be blessed! Chaplain, Leslie
Jan - December 11, 2020 2:15 pm
Thank you, Sean, for lighting the candle in the darkness and letting your light shine on all who will open their eyes! God bless you and keep you!
Jane Burt - December 11, 2020 2:34 pm
I’ve cleaned and rearranged the furniture of my heart as your stories come in to visit. Thank you❤️🎄
MermaidGrammy - December 11, 2020 3:10 pm
You are genuinely a good man, Sean. My sister, a NICU Nurse, says this about “her” babies: “I can’t save them all, but I can save this one!” Similarly, as the man at Dairy Queen, I may not be able to help/feed everyone, but I can pay for the guy behind me. Especially since I got in line ahead of him. Thank for for another marvelous way to start my day
Patricia Gibson - December 11, 2020 3:21 pm
You are so right! An enormous amount of good out there that we don’t always hear about. Thanks for sharing that story! Merry Christmas 🎄🎁
Patti Couger - December 11, 2020 3:27 pm
Every person in this world should read this. Thank you Sean!!!!!!
Bobbie - December 11, 2020 3:46 pm
I’m going to remember this! Thank you again Sean for reminding us of all the good…let’s just turn off the tv a while and meditate on ways we can join in and help others. It really is more blessed to give than receive! And not just at Christmas but all year. I wish I had an extra $500 or $5000 to just give away at random…the clerk at the grocery store, the really nice guy who loaded my Walmart order and slipped in a nice little gift bag, the person ringing the bell for Salvation Army….just to be able to hand them $20 and see the surprise on their face. That in itself is an awesome gift. Maybe if I do some figuring, I can come up with a few tens or twenties. Thank you Kate for the idea. God bless you all. ❤️🎄😷🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Michelle Johnson - December 11, 2020 3:58 pm
I love you 🥰 may God richly bless you and those you love for all the inspiration you share🙏🥰😇
Vicki Tuch - December 11, 2020 5:01 pm
Sean, I just absolutely love your writing! Your honesty, humor, insight, pain and joy are without a doubt so utterly refreshing and make my day…every day! You are a brilliant writer, Sean! May all good things be yours this blessed Christmas season and may you never, ever stop sharing your beautiful gift with the world !
Mildred Davis - December 11, 2020 5:02 pm
What a refreshing read! There are many wonderful people in the world. We all need to strive to be one.
greatgrams6 - December 11, 2020 5:06 pm
Our local station KTIS here in the Twin Cities promotes a “Drive Thru Difference” on the first Friday of the month. Many people participate and a lot of times it will “pay it forward”.
Linda Moon - December 11, 2020 5:29 pm
I think you’re full of it. “It” is the stuff you’re made of, Sean, and it’s not bad. Something wonderful occurred from you just now as I read “Brainerd” and Marge appeared in my brain! She is one of my best heroines. You’re a pretty good hero, and it’s a beautiful day!
Michael Hawke - December 11, 2020 5:45 pm
Thank you Sean. Well timed, as always.
MAM - December 11, 2020 10:31 pm
May 2021 be blessed!
Lisa - December 12, 2020 2:52 am
Love this! Merry Christmas!!
Helen De Prima - December 12, 2020 3:04 am
From your mouth to God’s ear!
Bob Brenner - December 12, 2020 12:32 pm
You have hit the “nail on the head! It can happen we just forgot that it could. 🔨❤️
Maggie Kruger - December 14, 2020 3:13 pm
This Is the Year https://www.amazon.com/dp/0839825803/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_Fd41FbTB7Z10Y
Julie - January 2, 2021 3:53 pm
Ah yes…The Three Theological Virtues – Faith, Hope, and Charity. The Bible says that “the greatest of these is Charity”, but you are emphasizing Hope…and that is exactly what we need at this moment in time! As always, Thank You for another enriching column that feeds our souls.