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. This morning 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 a year now, and her school’s Christmas program was a glorious train wreck. She still sings with the folk band sometimes.

Let’s see, what else?

Oh, I almost forgot. I got a letter in the mail from a seventy-one-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 nuts.

She burst into the shelter, “flopping and free,” 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.

59 comments

  1. Vivian Brown - January 12, 2023 12:27 pm

    Sean, you make me cry the best tears. Oh, and by the way, I loved Lewis Grizzard, too.

    Reply
  2. Susie - January 12, 2023 12:28 pm

    Wonderful, Sean, simply wonderful. 👍💪

    Reply
  3. Bonnie Leanne Danard - January 12, 2023 12:29 pm

    Think you gave readers hope for a better day. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Becky Creighton - January 12, 2023 12:31 pm

    ….and what a “coincidence” that these things happen at just the right time. Thank you for sharing, Sean. ♥️

    Reply
  5. Teresa Blankenship - January 12, 2023 12:32 pm

    Thank you ❤️

    Reply
  6. lesliehanson411hotmailcom - January 12, 2023 12:36 pm

    This column really struck a chord with me – reminding me of a poem by an unknown author called Don’t Quit = taped it to my bathroom mirror and read every day of my life. “When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don’t you quit! ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,It’s when thing go wrong that you must not quit!

    Reply
    • William Arthur Peacock - January 12, 2023 12:46 pm

      Thank you this picked me up!
      Bill from Detroit

      Reply
    • JonDragonfly - January 12, 2023 4:08 pm

      Keep Going by Edgar A Guest, 1921

      Reply
  7. mccutchen52 - January 12, 2023 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement,

    Reply
  8. Molly - January 12, 2023 12:47 pm

    Love your words!! Yes, don’t give up!! Thank you and thank God for you!! Molly

    Reply
  9. David - January 12, 2023 12:56 pm

    Awesome!

    Reply
  10. Pamela Smith - January 12, 2023 12:58 pm

    You always warm my heart and make my day😊❤️

    Reply
  11. Anne Arthur - January 12, 2023 1:05 pm

    Yes, help is on the way. God’s timing is often a tight race, but he’s never late, always spot on time.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply
  12. Marsha Hamby Savage - January 12, 2023 1:07 pm

    Always wonderful to read the good stuff you post. And the comment “Older women can be a little nuts”, I can totally agree with that one, since I am there “almost!” Things happen for a reason in my book!

    Reply
  13. Priscilla Rodgers - January 12, 2023 1:07 pm

    And another amen for today. Thanks Sean.

    Reply
  14. Suellen - January 12, 2023 1:08 pm

    You got me right in the feels. I needed to hear this.

    Reply
  15. MR - January 12, 2023 1:16 pm

    As always, Sean, you help me and all your readers start our day off right. I hope you have a wonderful day too!

    Reply
  16. Monica - January 12, 2023 1:32 pm

    Love these stories!

    Reply
  17. Lynne Daley - January 12, 2023 1:41 pm

    Providence

    Reply
  18. Nancy Butler - January 12, 2023 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words that I needed to hear today. Stop making me cry 😊😭

    Reply
  19. Jeanie Morelock - January 12, 2023 1:46 pm

    BOY, did I EVER need this one today! My mother has alzheimer’s and just last evening she hit a freaky low (it was like she took a hit of acid – don’t ask how I know this) – “the house was flooding because the pool broken”! My poor old father (a lovely 85 year deaf as a door knob daddy, I might add) and I did our dead level best to convince her that all was well. But alas, she accused my sweet father of trying to drown her. While I drove home (after drugging my momma) I actually prayed for the Lord to have pity on US and take her on to heaven (I know, more than a bit selfish – but it was sincerely for my precious daddy). Thank to your words today, I will revise my prayers (just a little bit)! Thank you for letting God lead you and using your words for the good of crazy people everywhere!

    Reply
    • Stacey Wallace - January 12, 2023 3:32 pm

      Jeanie, I will pray for you. I lost my sweet Daddy to Alzheimer’s in 2018. A week before Daddy died, he fell and broke his neck and had to wear a halo around his neck. My tough as nails Daddy, who could do almost anything, could now do nothing for himself; it broke my heart. A week or so earlier, I had asked my minister would it be wrong to pray for God’s mercy: since Daddy wouldn’t get better, would God please send him home to Heaven. My sweet minister said there was nothing wrong with that prayer. Our Heavenly Father was merciful and called Daddy home soon after. You weren’t selfish at all. May God bless you and your parents.

      Reply
      • Gigi - January 12, 2023 10:29 pm

        @Stacey Wallace ~ thank you for encouraging Jeanie. I agree with you, I think that praying for a loved one to be called Home is merciful and not selfish. My sister & I were in that situation with our 90+ year old Mother. It’s hard not to feel selfish, and even guilty, when you’re in that position.

        Reply
  20. Joyce Bennett - January 12, 2023 2:10 pm

    You show me the light every morning! Thank you!

    Reply
  21. Christine - January 12, 2023 2:17 pm

    Loved this today. Don’t give up🥹

    Reply
  22. mimifran - January 12, 2023 2:33 pm

    Never give up!! Help is on the way……our Friend and Counselor!!! God is good. And so are you Sean. I love your posts and am constantly amazed at your depth. Love!!!

    Reply
  23. Diane Parsons - January 12, 2023 2:38 pm

    Dear Sean. I love you. But most of all I love the way you manage to string words together so I know they were meant just for me. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. pattymack43 - January 12, 2023 2:59 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  25. Nancy - January 12, 2023 3:00 pm

    Priceless!

    Reply
  26. Stacey Wallace - January 12, 2023 3:19 pm

    Sean, thanks so much. I read your column to my husband every morning. We particularly love your “Good” columns. My husband and I are retired school teachers. I’m sorry to be selfish, but we hope you NEVER retire. We were so disappointed that we won’t get to see you at the Opelika Public Library; we live next door in Auburn. We found out too late that you were coming. The librarian said that spaces became available on December 12; the seats filled up the same day, and over 200 people are on the waitlist list. Sigh. I told my husband that his job is to find out your speaking engagements so that we can sign up in time. Love to you, Jamie, Marigold, Otis Campbell, and Thelma Lou.

    Reply
    • Nancy - January 13, 2023 12:32 pm

      Stacey, Sean will be at the Springer in Columbus February 18. Hope to see you there.

      Reply
  27. Patricia Gibson - January 12, 2023 3:29 pm

    I love u, Sean❤️❤️

    Reply
  28. Suzanne Mitchell - January 12, 2023 3:32 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  29. dsmartin737 - January 12, 2023 3:48 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I needed this. God bless you and your writing.

    Reply
  30. sjhl7 - January 12, 2023 3:52 pm

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow … praise Him ye people here below! Thank you for reporting some of God’s miracles!

    Reply
  31. Carolyn - January 12, 2023 4:15 pm

    You do so much good by sharing these stories. Love your column. Plan to come to your Grand Ole Opry performance. Getting on the ticket line NOW!!
    Only problem with all your wonderful columns? I save every one of them, and they are filling up the hard drive on my computer! haha Bless you!

    Reply
  32. Banks Haley - January 12, 2023 4:24 pm

    Not your style maybe, but give it a listen:
    Help Is On The Way-Toby Mac

    Reply
    • Bkr - January 12, 2023 10:58 pm

      Great song!!!

      Reply
  33. conkledavid - January 12, 2023 4:25 pm

    Great one today . Thanks

    Reply
  34. Steve McCaleb - January 12, 2023 4:39 pm

    God bless you son. I pray you know what a blessing you are to sooo many people who desperately need some encouragement…..a reason to keep on keeping on. May the Good Lord take a liking to you.

    Reply
  35. Amy Moss - January 12, 2023 4:42 pm

    LOVE!!!

    Reply
  36. Gayle - January 12, 2023 4:55 pm

    Sean, you are a dear man and a great writer that always comes through with a reason to smile and look each day in the face.
    Now I have a question for you…I always wonder how people get letters to you? Is there some kind of special club you have to be in to have that privilege?
    You, Jamie and your dog babies have a great day 😊

    Reply
  37. Teresa Clabots - January 12, 2023 5:38 pm

    Dear. Sean. A friend of mine turned me on to your daily letters. They give me hope. I am a pediatrician who 13 years ago started falling.
    Today is my 69th birthday and I have been suicidal for the last year. After 5 years I was finally diagnosed with IBM inclusion body myositis. It is a progressive weakening muscle disorder, kind of like muscular dystrophy. I devoted my life to helping people and saving lifes. How do I find hope with this disease that is slowly crippling me?

    Reply
    • Susan Kennedy - January 13, 2023 2:54 am

      Teresa, as long as you are breathing, there is hope. God is still writing your story! MY birthday is tomorrow. I’ll be thinking of and praying for you!

      Reply
    • Nancy Grinstead - January 19, 2023 3:08 pm

      Teresa Clabots
      my prayers are with you

      Reply
  38. Jukie - January 12, 2023 5:55 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    Reply
  39. Ellouise - January 12, 2023 7:33 pm

    You are simply wonderful

    Reply
  40. Sharron Paris - January 12, 2023 9:01 pm

    For future reference Sean, women over 70 have earned the right to be “flopping and free” after years of being “constrained and contained”. The real point is that her beautiful heart was a gift for Luke or Of Earl and she has given her heart away again. Kudos to your wonderful way with words.

    Reply
  41. Gigi - January 12, 2023 10:12 pm

    I learned never to give up a few years ago. I had been praying faithfully, every single day for 14 years that my granddaughter would reach out to her father and start a relationship with him. God answered my prayers !!! Don’t ever give up, it’s all in His timing, not ours.

    Reply
  42. missusmux - January 12, 2023 10:13 pm

    This is a message of encouragement, with a side of humor and lots of warmth. I think commenter Teresa Clabot needed it and also others. My foster brother has IBM, like you Teresa. I’m sorry you are dealing with this affliction. Please reach out for support. Sean often helps remind us to count the blessings. Prayers for Teresa.

    Reply
  43. Gigi - January 12, 2023 10:20 pm

    I learned a few years ago to never give up ! I prayed faithfully, every single day for 14 years, that my granddaughter would reach out to her father and establish a relationship with him, which he badly wanted. God finally answered my prayers !! Don’t EVER give up !!!

    Reply
  44. Bkr - January 12, 2023 10:57 pm

    I loved this!!!

    Reply
  45. Olivia Lawrence - January 12, 2023 10:57 pm

    Thank you for this one. I needed it.

    Reply
  46. Pam Brewer - January 13, 2023 2:45 am

    Sean you are the Bee’s Knees!!!!!❤️😘

    Reply
  47. MAM - January 13, 2023 3:01 am

    Help is not only “on the way.” It’s there all the time if you just ask for it. Now, of course, God may have other ideas about whether your request is worthy, but when push comes to shove, that help IS available. Count on it!

    Reply
  48. throughmyeyesusa - January 13, 2023 10:20 pm

    You just have to ask sometimes.

    Reply
  49. Buddy Caudill - January 14, 2023 2:36 am

    Home run.
    Again

    Reply
  50. Ruth - January 14, 2023 1:40 pm

    What sweet encouragement your stories are! You will will never know how many people you help on this side of heaven.
    Thank you Sean😇

    Reply
  51. Karen Snyder - January 17, 2023 10:25 pm

    🧡🧡🧡

    Reply

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