You will meet a dog named Ellie Mae, who will change you. She will look at you and see perfection. No human will ever see this in you. Because it’s not actually there. But this dog will give you the holy gift that only canines can give.

Dear Young Me,

I hope you are well. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, I forgot what a kid you are. You are eighteen. And even though you don’t know this, you are very, very stupid.

But that’s okay. Stupidity isn’t all bad.

You have big ideas. I’m tempted to call them dreams. But then, they aren’t dreams. Dreams are ambitious things. You aren’t ambitious. You start a project, then peter out.

You’ve been told you’re lazy, and slow, and not good at things you do. But I’m writing to say that you are good enough.

If you remember nothing else I write, please remember that last sentence.

You once had a girlfriend tell you—and in one case, even her mother told you—that you were going nowhere. You believed them.

You’re watching friends get accepted into good colleges. They’ve set compasses for their lives. They are doing well for themselves. Everyone seems to be succeeding. Except you.

Take heart, Young Me. Your life is going to be full of surprises. You don’t know it yet. You have no idea what’s around the corner. None. I get excited just thinking about it.

For example: you will meet a beautiful woman who knows how to make beautiful biscuits. You will marry, and you will be beautifully poor. So, so poor. And it will only make you happier.

Let’s see. What else? You’ll total a few trucks. You will have back surgery. And on one occasion, you will be lost in Toledo, Ohio, without a car.

And brace yourself for what I am about to say:

The Chicago Cubs will win a World Series.

I am dead serious about this. When this happens, you will shout at your television—even though you aren’t a Cubs fan. Even though your wife is asleep in the other room.

You will meet a dog named Ellie Mae, who will change you. She will look at you and see perfection. No human will ever see this in you. Because it’s not actually there. But this dog will give you the holy gift that only canines can give.

You will visit the mountain grave of your father after a lifetime of avoiding it. When you visit, you will see something incredible at the summit. Something fairy tales are made of. And it will feel like coming home. You will touch old scars and they won’t hurt.

And when you least expect it, you will become a writer.

It will be an overnight explosion in your brain. It will almost be like having a stroke—only in reverse. It will feel as though someone woke you from a nap. Your life will begin again.

It will happen when you’re an adult. You will be camping in Indian Pass, Florida—of all places. Something will come over you one afternoon. You will be looking at the Gulf of Mexico. Your bloodhound will be with you.

The stars will align, and you will feel it. And you will say to yourself: “Hey, maybe I’ll try writing.”

It will be that simple. That same night, you will write a few hundred words and they will change the direction of your life. For good.

Now, I don’t want to mislead you. Life won’t be easy. For starters, not everyone will like you. And people who reject you you will not feel sorry about it. Not everyone is nice. Some people are downright mean. Almost everyone is greedy.

But you will also meet magnificent people who ride this two-lane highway of life. People who have the capacity to love beyond their capacity.

And when you get older, you will feel less alone. And alive. And revitalized. And whole. And happy. And you’ll realize that the souls of your late loved ones are not dead, but hang like morning mist over a peanut field.

And when you reach the end of your life, Sean, I hope you remember this humble letter. It was written on a warm September night, years too late. And during your final moments, I hope you think to yourself:

“I am so lucky. So, so lucky. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.”

I envy you. You have no idea what awaits because you are, more or less, a complete bozo. I know this because I am also a complete bozo. And what a gift our ignorance is. Because if we knew what is in our future, we’d only screw it up.

Anyway, I have to go now. I love you. And one day, I promise, you will love yourself, too.

I’m not kidding about the Cubs.

Your pal,
Sean Dietrich


  1. congersinlondon - September 18, 2018 6:27 am

    Attaboy, Sean. Thanks for writing and inspiring the rest of us!

  2. Jim Keith - September 18, 2018 6:47 am

    Kudos to you my friend. Not many people are able to express their personal intimate feelings so eloquently.

  3. LaVera S. - September 18, 2018 8:28 am

    I agree with Jim what a lesson,! Blessing to you for sharing!

  4. Nancy - September 18, 2018 9:49 am

    Love, love, LOVE this! And I also agree with Jim. I start my day and set my mood by reading your sweet words. Thank you!

  5. Glenda Hulbert - September 18, 2018 10:25 am

    And….I Love, Love, LOVE this one! You speak to my heart and it hears you, thank you from the bottom of IT!!! Will start tagging you as Clint Eastwood YOU “make my day”,

  6. Beth Andrews - September 18, 2018 10:56 am

    I’ve often wished I could go back and give my younger self much the same message you gave to yours. I would tell her that her life has purpose, despite the many messages to the contrary. That her love for words – and one day The Word – is the heart of that purpose. That a man will break her heart, but another one – named Jesus Christ – will put it back together. That another kind, gentle sweet man will love her for the long haul. That being popular isn’t a goal to reach for, but being kind is. And that one day, just like you Sean, she will write. Thank you for your beautiful, intimate message to yourself. You are a blessing.

    • theholtgirls - September 18, 2018 1:29 pm

      Dear Beth, Your words make His Words sing. Thank you!
      Love from a sister in Christ

    • Becky - September 19, 2018 2:02 pm

      Exactly, perfectly said..

  7. Sherry G Bourgeois - September 18, 2018 11:19 am


  8. Terri C Boykin - September 18, 2018 11:49 am

    Dear younger “stupid” Sean, one day you will have a large audience of folks that wake up, grab their tea or coffee, and anxiously search out YOUR written words to start their day with. You will make them laugh, cry and raise the hairs on their skin – but above all, you will touch their heart. All of your readers will think they know you like a beloved friend. Love you much Sean.

  9. Renee' Flory - September 18, 2018 11:58 am

    Sean, I love your stuff! Each day I look forward to it, among the clamor of email. But more than that, I love your heart….and your eyes that see…and your ears that hear. Thank you for the fresh breath on life. I too just returned from a journey (of sorts) around America, visiting faces and places that mean much to me. (I now live overseas, ministering to people…I could have never imagined this in my life!!) I found it to be a much more emotional trip than I expected. In fact, I didn’t expect an emotional trip at all, other than walking alongside loved ones as they grieve the loss of dear loved ones…little did I realize how much I needed to grieve them too. It was to be a trip of thanksgiving…literally, a trip of thanks giving…to all those who’ve been a part of my life and helped me to be who I am this day. I do give God credit for all of it, as I should have died of hopeless, lack of vision, lack of future, and a many-timed broken heart so, so long ago. As I traveled, the most meaningful gift I gave…that is, other than presence, time, tears, ears, laughter and play, and some doing of laundry and dishes of those tired…was a print of a painting i had drawn with a rose on it and the word “grace” (…and in two language…the one of my birth, and the one of my birth of real life!). That word came to mean so very much, not only to those whom it seemed perfect for…but also so very much so for me. Thank you for reminding me today that I can write to that girl and tell her of all the wonders that are to come, those that she couldn’t even imagine…and yes, also the heartbreaks, seasons of depression and despair…and of a Greater Love…that gives more than we could ever ask or imagine…but keeps telling us to ask! So, I ask for God’s continued blessing upon your honest and open heart…that is helping to breathe life into a dying world. Thank you!

  10. Joy - September 18, 2018 12:27 pm

    You always touch my heart and speak to me…thank you so much….loved all the previous comments and can say ‘ditto’ to all of them! God has given you a wonderful talent of writing, sharing and helping others through your words! Have a good day…you always make my day better! God bless you,

  11. Jo Ann - September 18, 2018 12:35 pm

    Thank you, Sean. We’re the lucky ones.

  12. Sandy Riley - September 18, 2018 12:58 pm

    That my friend is the BEST thing you have ever written. Believe it!

  13. Rebya Falk - September 18, 2018 1:04 pm

    I am blessed for finding your articles. I do not agree on some subjects, but always get a smile on my face!

  14. Donna J. masmar - September 18, 2018 1:14 pm

    You ALWAYS start my day on the right note–you have found your niche;

  15. Kathryn Arnold - September 18, 2018 1:28 pm

    Whether i catch your words late at night in Facebook or in the morning via email, you make that day better. God bless you and yours.

  16. Janie's Jottings - September 18, 2018 1:30 pm

    Once again you’ve touched my heart Sean! If we could all know how little we really know as young adults. Life and experience are great teachers. Love your story!

  17. MermaidGrammy - September 18, 2018 1:53 pm

    I always think, “this is the best one. Ever!” But, maybe this one is. We should all write a letter to ourselves as children. For me, it would be when I am five, before I realized the world could be really, really mean. Thank you. And, I always agree with you.

  18. Connie Havard Ryland - September 18, 2018 2:00 pm

    Great one today. I think you’re right-if we knew what life had in store for us, we would find a way to mess it up. I’m glad you found your way, and that you open yourself up and share with us.

  19. Suzanne - September 18, 2018 2:09 pm


  20. Jack Quanstrum - September 18, 2018 2:41 pm

    You put a warm smile on my face with that story. It hit the spot!

  21. Connie Suttle - September 18, 2018 2:57 pm

    Hi, Sean. This morning, while making coffee, I thought about you. Then, after about three sips (which is far from coherency in my perspective), I thought about the movie, “Field of Dreams,” and how it made me think about you, too. The parallels in my slow-and-not-yet-productive mind made sense at the time–because it’s about fathers, sons, baseball, love and imagination. You probably have no idea what I’m rambling on about so early, but I appreciate what you write every day.

    So thanks for the words, and may the coffee be with you, too 🙂

  22. Jane Wood - September 18, 2018 3:00 pm

    Love all your stories and the memories they bring to mind. Thank you for writing about the things we all enjoy.

  23. Shelton Armour - September 18, 2018 4:37 pm

    Nice, comforting, and revitalizing letter to your younger self. Very inspiring-hope it inspired you, too.

  24. Bev deJarnette - September 18, 2018 5:22 pm

    Sean, I wish that you could read that letter to every youngster in school who is suffering from low self esteem. And then have a time to talk to them all—one on one, or a wonderful small group setting. How many young lives you might you change. I can always pray that for you and them??❤️

  25. Carol - September 18, 2018 6:21 pm

    I hope and pray that a lot of young men and woman can hear,see,and read you one day and know that they are so much more than just today..
    Tomorrow can and may be hard for a lot of them , but tell them again how much people can be good and love able!
    You know you and Thel should go to some of these schools and detention centers and spread that news around. You know they might even want to adopt a dog,a pal that will be their first love an unconditional love!!!
    What you think??
    Love ya!

  26. P S Dickeson - September 18, 2018 6:41 pm

    I am so glad u discovered your writing talents.. my Dad started sending me your columns & enjoy them everyday! U speak my language!! Girl from North Fla/ South Georgia/ Lower Alabama xoxoxo

  27. Wadena - September 18, 2018 10:10 pm

    Love this and everything you write. It’s so up

  28. Arlene - September 19, 2018 1:09 am

    I find it interesting that so many of us have low self esteem when we are young. Where does that come from? Love this letter to yourself. If you have kids, have them read it. Thanks

  29. Stuart - September 19, 2018 2:48 am

    Opening yourself up to the whole world is something that I could never do, not even with my own family. I wish that I could. Luck has nothing to do with it, you’ve been blessed.

  30. Mary Ellen Hall - September 20, 2018 7:33 am

    You are an ABSOLUTE BLESSING; Sean Dietrich, & I’m SO BLESSED to have found your writings!!

  31. Carolyn K - November 14, 2018 11:46 am

    You are such an inspiration❤️ Your articles

  32. GigiBeth - November 14, 2018 1:28 pm

    “And when you get older, you will feel less alone. And alive. And revitalized. And whole. And happy. And you’ll realize that the souls of your late loved ones are not dead, but hang like morning mist over a peanut field.” … or over the lake where I live. This touched my soul down deep. I can feel them around me, especially my mama who thought I was the best thing since sliced bread. Thanks for this beautiful story.

  33. Shannon Mcgee - November 14, 2018 1:37 pm

    Indian Pass ❤️ A magical place

  34. Beckie - November 14, 2018 3:32 pm

    Beautiful!!! You really get it Sean. Thank you.

  35. Carolyn Skelton - November 14, 2018 8:53 pm

    Love, love, love your writing!! Such a wonderful God-given talent!! I just recently discovered you and I am blessed every time I read a story from your heart or hear you speak. Blessings to you and your family!!


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