Hey, It’s Me

Hey,

It’s me again. I just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing. Also, I wanted to ask you to do something about this crummy weather. It’s overcast and pitiful.

There’s no hurry. I know you’re busy. I imagine you deal with lots of headaches, and the last thing you need is me whining about a few clouds. This whole COVID business hasn’t been easy on anyone, least of all you.

So I guess it’s a good thing that you’re a divine being. That must make things easier. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that makes everything harder. I don’t know. I’ve never been divine.

The closest I ever came to holiness was when I played the role of Joseph in the school Christmas pageant. I got to hold the hand of Amber Hodges who played Mary and also looked like a high-school senior. It was great.

But anyway, I’ve been feeling blue ever since this whole coronavirus thing started. Some days I’m in a great mood; other days the sunshine hides behind clouds and I get sad.

This dark period the world is going through is no laughing matter. I read yesterday that suicides are on the rise because people feel more isolated than ever. Alcohol and drug abuse are at an all-time high. For America, this is one of the toughest years, mentally, since the Great Depression.

My request for sunshine must sound petty in light of all that.

But then, why am I telling you all this? You already know this stuff.

Actually, you know more than we humans give you credit. Humans can be real dipsticks sometimes. I know this because I’m usually the biggest dipstick of them all.

The truth is, I went through a long period of not knowing how I felt about you. I’m not proud of this, but I’m only being honest.

I wasn’t sure if you were real or some pie in the sky idea for babies. As a boy, I thought maybe you were a vague, unseen force that made grass grow, and chose the winners for the Florida Powerball. But that was about all you did. You weren’t concerned with regular kids like me.

When my father died, I decided not to bother with you. I was thinking, “What’s the point?” After all, you never seemed to bother with me. And you sure as hailfire didn’t prevent daddies from dying.

I’m ashamed about all that now. I had you wrong. But do you know what I like about you? You don’t hold it against me. Not even when I act like—I think I already mentioned this—a complete dipstick.

By the time I was an adult, I’d been through a lot of bad things. And some of them got me to thinking about you. That’s when I began wondering about stuff. Big stuff. Life stuff.

Mostly, I started to notice little occurrences happening in everyday life. Tiny things I’d always thought were coincidences.

Over time, I started to realize that life itself was just millions of these overlooked coincidences all leaned up against each other. That’s when it hit me.

If all these coincidence happen multiple times per day, multiple days per year, multiple centuries per Bronze Age, then they aren’t coincidences. Because coincidences by definition are rare flukes. And there’s nothing rare about miracles that happen every couple seconds.

Take yesterday. I was walking through the supermarket, wearing my mask, reading my wife’s shopping list.

For some reason, I started thinking about my old friend, Greg, from grade school. His mother died and his brother raised him. Greg walked a few miles to school every day, and he bought his own groceries with food stamps.

I hadn’t thought about Greg in a hundred years. Then (bam!) out of a clear sky, Greg calls me in the supermarket. I don’t even know how he got my number. I’m guessing you did that.

And that’s just one example of an incidence that was definitely not an accident.

So if there aren’t any coincidences—stop me if I’m wrong here—then this means everything in the whole universe kind of works together. Like an enormous celestial symphony.

And if THAT’S true, then it stands to reason that there must be a musical score all the instruments are playing.

A few years ago, I went to see a philharmonic play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The conductor let me into the orchestra pit for a tour before the concert.

It was fantastic. I couldn’t believe how meticulous the written music was. His pages notated every millisecond of the symphony. Every note, every beat, rest, movement, crescendo, glissando, and every breath. It was all outlined ahead of time. In fact, it was all planned by Beethoven himself back in 1822.

During the performance, there were times when I thought the whole choral symphony was falling apart, but somehow the conductor brought it all together. It was nothing short of magic.

That’s what you do, I think. You bring it all together. The sting of living, the pain of loss, the thrill of romance, good food, the warmth of sunshine, poetry, and love. You make it all work somehow. I give you a lot of flak, but I’m sorry. I know not what I do.

So on second thought, don’t worry about the weather thing I was asking about. Except of course that you already have. All of a sudden the weather has gotten very sunny outside.

What a coincidence.

Thanks, God.

58 comments

  1. Gordon - July 20, 2020 7:02 am

    Like the SUV incident? I had one of those a few years ago, driving in the dark. There was an unlit cattle trailer involved. I won’t bore you with it.

    Reply
  2. Sharon Brock - July 20, 2020 7:37 am

    God knows I get heat sickness outdoors even to water my plants. So tonight and much of tomorrow, HE has sent rain so I don’t have to go outside. Little miracles. Thanks, Sean.

    Reply
  3. Sam - July 20, 2020 7:51 am

    Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

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  4. Susan - July 20, 2020 10:23 am

    I love this and you & Jamie❣

    Reply
  5. Perri Williamson - July 20, 2020 10:49 am

    Yes. Amen.

    Reply
  6. Tim Smith - July 20, 2020 10:58 am

    Have you read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho? I think you would like it.

    Reply
  7. champ1031@yahoo.com - July 20, 2020 11:02 am

    One of your best. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Warren Evans - July 20, 2020 11:13 am

    Coincidentally God put you here to give us a glimpse of how He works. And we’re thankful He did. Bless you Sean.

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  9. Linda - July 20, 2020 11:25 am

    Thanks, Sean. I needed to be re-centered!

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  10. Betty F. - July 20, 2020 11:50 am

    It is really hard to remember to focus on the little miracles each day with the constant bombardment of bad news everywhere.Thanks for reminding us. If you can re-frame all you have been through, then I guess I can quit whining, too.Thanks.

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  11. Judy - July 20, 2020 12:08 pm

    God is good. Even when we don’t see it…He is good. 🌻

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  12. John - July 20, 2020 12:09 pm

    As my daughter liked to say when she was younger – in fact, she still does: there are no coinkidinks.

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  13. Eddy - July 20, 2020 12:12 pm

    Yes! Thanks, God ✝️🙏❤️

    Reply
  14. Carol Harlan - July 20, 2020 12:17 pm

    Your work is a joy to read often giving me lots to think about. Keep up the good work. Glad to know you are a fellow Christian.

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  15. Susan Bradshaw - July 20, 2020 12:18 pm

    Beautifully written! ❤️

    Reply
  16. jane davis - July 20, 2020 12:24 pm

    I KNOW this is exactly how many people feel. I have friends who doubt doubt doubt and nothing I say influences that b/c they like to argue and resist and defend their hurts and hates…my heart aches for them to discover what you just described in exactly the same way you discovered. When I read Zephaniah 3:18 (I think that’s the verse – and yes that’s an obscure book of the Bible we don’t often have to pronounce🥴) it became my fav verse which I have a hard time believing when I am a female version of a dipstick. In my Bible I wrote “so you REALLY rejoice over me with singing?” What a thought. How humbling. How hopeful and happy.!!! So many gifts like that in the Bible. The people who resist and the people who want to get rid of the Word just don’t know it’s full of that kind of love and surprise do they? 💜

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  17. Trevin - July 20, 2020 12:33 pm

    Oh man, I love that!!

    Reply
  18. Becki McCallum - July 20, 2020 12:40 pm

    Thanks Sean – another really good one!

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  19. MermaidGrammy - July 20, 2020 12:48 pm

    The best kind of prayer. Just talk to Him. Or Her

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  20. Ann - July 20, 2020 12:56 pm

    Amen! A beautiful prayer🙏🏻

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  21. Myra Walters - July 20, 2020 1:21 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  22. RJ iacino - July 20, 2020 1:28 pm

    So, how is Greg????

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  23. Becca - July 20, 2020 1:31 pm

    AMEN AND GOD BLESS YOU AND JAMIE!

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  24. Anthony - July 20, 2020 1:34 pm

    Theology we can all understand.

    Reply
  25. Betsy Hughes - July 20, 2020 1:45 pm

    Hey Sean! Please don’t underestimate the power of your words. I look forward to your column every morning. You need to remember that you,yourself, are important to us especially during this uncertain time. Thanks for being there!

    Reply
  26. Diann - July 20, 2020 1:50 pm

    Here’s another “coincidence “ for you. This morning I was reading in Psalms. This is my go to book for peace, comfort , protection, etc. Anyway,
    Psalm 57:1 says “I will take refuge in the shelter of Your wings until the danger passes by”. So Sean, in the midst of all this unrest, take shelter my friend- He’s got this!

    Reply
  27. Lynne - July 20, 2020 1:50 pm

    This might be your best one yet! But then, I have had that thought before. 😉Just what I need today. Thank you and God!

    Reply
  28. Rebecca - July 20, 2020 2:31 pm

    As a child, one of my Sunday School teachers told me that what others call coincidences are “God winks.” He is reminding us that he has not forgotten us or forsaken us and he has it all under control. Sometimes it is a message that the ball is in our court and we need to act. Whatever they are called, I am happy to get them.

    Reply
  29. Robert M Brenner - July 20, 2020 2:31 pm

    Thanks we all needed your words on God right now! He never forgets us, what a wonderful thing to know. Sometimes we forget Him, but he never forgets us. Thanks

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  30. Norman Purdue - July 20, 2020 2:32 pm

    Sean, your submission this morning greatly encourages me. I have always wanted to believe that you believed and trusted in God. That came through loud and clear this morning.

    I am thankful for that and thankful for you. You lift a lot of spirits through your writings.

    Blessings in abundance

    Norm

    Reply
  31. Patricia Gibson - July 20, 2020 2:33 pm

    Well said Sean🙏 My faith keeps me going.

    Reply
  32. Catherine - July 20, 2020 2:47 pm

    And you, Sean, are one of God’s great winks! He gifted you to bless us and we are so greatly appreciative! I needed this exact Sean dose this morning and you didn’t fail. “Coincidence?” 😊

    Reply
  33. Christina - July 20, 2020 2:56 pm

    The fact that many of us found your writing pre-pandemic is a “divine coincidence” that connects us us in ways that no virus can break. Thanks be to God.

    Reply
  34. Linda Anderson - July 20, 2020 2:57 pm

    You are a gift from God. You touch my heart every morning. God lives you and so do I. A Virginia Grandmother ❤️

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  35. Helen De Prima - July 20, 2020 3:15 pm

    I’ve always thought life — fate, divine planning, whatever — is like driving through miles of road construction: dust, delays, detours, mostly confusion observed from the driver’s seat. But from a higher view, maybe from a helicopter, a pattern becomes apparent. And from a jet, it’s only a small disruption in the grand scheme of things. Works for me, most of the time.

    Reply
  36. Lynda Gayle Knight - July 20, 2020 3:22 pm

    Well, you’ve outdone yourself again which, by the way, is not an easy thing to do. Since you won’t call yourself a writer, by all means, call yourself an author. Anyone can be a writer, not necessarily a good one, but none the less, a writer because that only requires a paper of some sort and a writing tool. Only people with special abilities can create thoughts that leave the reader with some type of feeling or emotion. Yours does❣️

    Reply
  37. Susan Bowen - July 20, 2020 3:29 pm

    Thank you for posting this. Last evening I was thinking about your posts and wondering what your beliefs are. Coincidence? Maybe but then maybe it was God also.

    Reply
  38. Sharon Carter - July 20, 2020 3:50 pm

    I hope Edna. Jack.Pam M.and some other regulars are alright. missing you. this post has you on my mind thank you
    Sean. rivergal

    Reply
  39. cronkitesue - July 20, 2020 3:54 pm

    Another great column.

    Reply
  40. MR Russell - July 20, 2020 4:06 pm

    Sean, I think it is great that you wrestle and struggle with your faith, because I believe it is the wrestling with the hard questions and struggling through the pain of not understanding that makes our faith genuine.

    God is soooooooo much bigger and deeper than we are! We are so much better off when we totally surrender to the Maestro, for it is He who makes all things work together . . .even when we don’t understand how or why.

    Reply
  41. Susan Kennedy - July 20, 2020 4:30 pm

    I love this Sean. Thank you. God loves you and Jamie and so do I. 💙

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  42. Char Stidd - July 20, 2020 4:32 pm

    Like Diann Zep. 3:17 is a favorite verse in God’s word and I have faithfully prayed Psalms 91, personalizing it, inserting the names of loved ones, as I pray God’s word back to Him.
    You are a blessing to everyone that reads your words. The way you write makes us stop and think…they are not just words in black against a white background to be read and then forgotten. Oh, no, they have mighty weight in the hearts and minds of your readers. Thank you for that. May God bless you and Jamie beyond measure. Char

    Reply
  43. Linda Moon - July 20, 2020 4:35 pm

    You got me thinking as I began to read this divine missive from you to God. I wondered if it was brought about because of Jamie’s Divine rescue by you and the Recipient of this prayer of gratitude. One of my best (of many “bests”) oncologists told me in answer to my question about why a child died from cancer, but I lived. That was 13 years ago. Her answer was, “God always has his purposes”. Thank you for helping me remember this as I thought about Jamie’s survival. Coincidences are really God’s purposes in disguise!

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  44. TerriByrd - July 20, 2020 5:59 pm

    The sunshine makes a difference for me, too. You’re also offering some needed light, as well. May light and joy find you in the midst of this darkness.

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  45. Ann Gramlich - July 20, 2020 6:48 pm

    It is a wonderful piece !!

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  46. Shirley Gerald - July 20, 2020 7:58 pm

    Absolutely lovely…thanks!

    Reply
  47. Kathy - July 20, 2020 8:00 pm

    Isn’t it great how God stays with us when we struggle!

    Reply
  48. Vicky - July 20, 2020 8:02 pm

    Thank you for your writing and how you inspire us. You make life better for so many by reminding us of God’s miracles and the kindness of people. We need you.

    Reply
  49. Maxine - July 20, 2020 10:46 pm

    Sean,I am PROUD of you. For many years I called good things lucky. I’ve learned those things are BLESSINGS. And you are one of them.

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  50. turtlekid - July 21, 2020 12:32 am

    Magnificent Message!

    Reply
  51. Robin Kidd - July 21, 2020 12:40 am

    One of the best ones. Just keep your eyes open and your ears listening, amazing what you will see and hear.

    Reply
  52. MAM - July 21, 2020 3:16 am

    Thank you, Sean, for reminding all of us about who is in charge! God is in charge and I wish the whole country would go back to believing that God is in charge. The United States was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. We need to return to them. Thanks as always for your wise words.

    Reply
  53. Tammy S. - July 21, 2020 12:41 pm

    Thank you, God! And thank you, Sean!
    ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  54. Susan - July 21, 2020 3:53 pm

    Precious! He longs for us to talk to Him – BE with Him – every day.

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  55. Mary-Lou - July 21, 2020 6:52 pm

    Thanks you, Sean. I have been struggling with this pandemic also, getting very discouraged and downright cranky,and also questioning my faith these days. There’s more at play than the virus, but that’s a big part of it. Thanks for helping me get back on track. God bless you.

    Reply
  56. Anna Howerton Flink - July 21, 2020 9:46 pm

    Sean- I read many of your articles. I also send some of them to my four grown children. You have a unique ability to be impressive in your simple, southern way of writing as though you are speaking and yet to make such “ everlasting“ points. Since I am also a southerner, a Christian, and unfortunately sometimes a doubter, I am super – impressed with your writing.. But my life is too crazy to have read all of them. Lately I have not read many. I know one of God’s “winks” caused me to read this today.
    It’s an unusually hot, humid, overcast, thundery day here in the Virginia mountains. Days like this seem to make all of my doubts sprout. But I have had numerous “Coincidental“ occurrences over my lifetime and that of my deceased husband. They re-convince me of how clearly, and often, our Father uses these seemingly tiny bits of our lives to remind us of His love even when we are convinced we are “one of the least of these”. My husband was a truly unique individual who grew up without a father also. We met on a blind date he from the Gulf Coast, and me from a Va farm family. We sat on my apartment sofa and listened to “records”. Unbelievably his favorites were my same odd ones- Classical,and BlueGrass instrumental, Neil Diamond and Joan Sutherland!
    His father was shot and killed one night at their small mostly handbuilt family-run motel in the coastal south by a drifter who tried to steal tires. My husband was nine years old. Very long story very short – he also survived cancer at 23, and marrying me at 26 even though his “cured” cancer had returned. His Navy docs suggested I not follow through with our week-old engagement. Somehow I kept hearing phrases running through my mind – “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” and “God is my captain”. More God-winks.
    We were fortunate to realize early, and throughout our marriage, our amazing blessings. To have each found the love of our lives, have 42 years of marriage rather than the predicted 6 months, with numerous years of relative health and strength was an absolute miracle. This was amid 13 near-death medical crises. He once Coded for 5 minutes in the midst of surgery. We were very different, yet alike in the ways most important to a wonderfully close marriage. He was a top-notch physicist/computer scientist, I crashed his most advanced computers just by getting near them. He was devoutly Catholic, I was devoutly Methodist/Presbyterian. Try explaining a Presbyterian christening in a tiny country church then growing up Methodist, then becoming Presbyterian in college to a Catholic priest, His Navy chaplain, was very reluctant to perform a “mixed marriage“.
    This mixed marriage lasted 42 years, through hurricane Katrina passing directly over our heads, all of the medical trials, and my desperate but faith- driven attempts to find the best, newest treatments and physicians. We were super-blessed with our four adopted children and now nine fantastic grandchildren. Through it all, God somehow scattered amazing little “coincidences“. After my wonderful husband passed on despite a briefly very successful very serious cardiac surgery, another huge and surely impossible coincidence occurred. I was not prepared for the depth of grief, despite our faith and his many near-death experiences, and still am not, So our unfathomable God dropped another “coincidence” in front of me. I woke up in the middle of the night at exactly the same time, to the second every few weeks. I had major fears and worries just pop into my mind at exactly the same time during the day. Or I glimpsed a large bright red cardinal in the trees at that same exact time. Or a son suddenly found a deer a few feet from him in his city yard, standing still there for several minutes and looking right into his eyes at that time. Or a daughter jogging past a local Catholic Church quickly looking at her watch as the bells rang out unscheduled, at that time. After a near-collision I saw his now-rare Avalanche on the road at that same time. I began to think I had lost most of my marbles, not just the few I was sure of losing. (I spent 40 years as a school psychologist, but firmly tried to keep my feet on the soil of my uncles’ farms, realizing early on that plain old common sense is the most valuable of all of God’s gifts.) Two years after my husband’s passing, I had to yet again pull out a death certificate to mail off. It had been much too painful to actually read it word by word, so I had always grabbed the paper and stuffed it into an envelope. This time I dropped it and in putting it back on the desk I crumpled it a bit. Smoothing out the crumpled line of print, I read: “time of death”. In military time were the exact numbers I had been seeing in so many situations for two long years. The exact time he met God.

    Reply
  57. Mary Lou - July 22, 2020 12:45 am

    Sean, I say this every day. This is your best stuff! Thanks. We all need that. Even, no especially, us dipsticks.

    Reply
  58. Robert Chiles - July 24, 2020 7:35 pm

    Anna Flink- It’s not uncommon to have your experiences. They’re called “consolations”

    Reply

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