It Might As Well Be Spring

It is the first day of spring, and somewhere in North Georgia, a newborn baby named Joy is drawing her first breaths. She was born late on Friday evening, only hours before springtime.

So even though, yes, this has been a year of hard times, as of right now: Joy is here.

Which is why Joy’s mother thought this particular name was perfect for her child, especially considering the non-joyful period in which the baby was born. Right now everyone could use a little Joy.

“I feel like we’re living through history,” says Joy’s mother, cradling her child, speaking to me via cellphone. “I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she is a huge joy during this time.”

And so it is that Joy will have some very big things to do in this world. She will make this universe more cheerful. She will do this by eating lots of pureed food, giggling a lot, and wearing lots of expensive baby onesies which she will joyfully fill with poop.

Meanwhile, over on the Kansas-Oklahoma line, the first day of spring will be greeted by Mark and his son, Patrick. They are taking a fishing trip. They are visiting Mark’s family pond, which has been around since the late 1800s, fed by a large creek.

“The fish rarely bite there,” says Mark. “But that’s not why we go.”

Mark remembers fishing here with his father as a child. And, he also remembers taking his father fishing here shortly before the old man died from prostate cancer 12 years ago.

Mark himself was diagnosed with cancer last year and it has been a familiar, arduous battle. Treatment after treatment has weakened him. But unlike his father, Mark is winning.

“All I could think about when I was in treatment,” says Mark, “was taking my son fishing. It’s everything. That’s why we’re going.”

Now let’s go to Virginia Beach for a moment, where Mariposa and her adult daughter Tiffani will also be welcoming in spring together. They are going to run their own two-person half marathon on Sunday.

They originally wanted to run an organized race last spring, but then the pandemic happened, and many races were cancelled. So Mariposa and her daughter have had nothing better to do all winter than to keep jogging together.

“I’m 62,” says Mariposa, “and I’ve always wanted to run a half marathon, so I’m like, ‘Hey, you know what, why wait any longer? Let’s go for it this weekend.’ And since there are no races, we’re just gonna do our own mother-daughter thing.”

They will begin at 5 A.M. If you see two semi-identical brunettes jogging on a Virginia beach road, make sure you honk and wave like a maniac.

They will be running in memory of Mariposa’s late son, who ended his own life last year.

Over on the Oregon coast, about 2,988 miles west of Mariposa and Tiffani, we meet James, who will be celebrating six months of sobriety this spring.

James emailed me last year when he first decided to enter treatment for drug addiction.

“In a way this pandemic saved me,” he says. “I woulda never known what kinda demons I was struggling with if things hadn’t gotten bad.”

It has been a slow journey to recovery, he adds. And he’s still at the beginning stages. But in his last message to me, he says, “They teach us to celebrate the milestones, no matter how small. I don’t have many people in my life to be proud of me, so I just thought I’d tell you.”

James, allow me to be the first to say: I am so proud it hurts.

And we close with Myra in South Texas. On Monday she is beginning a new job. A good job. It’s a job she has always wanted, a job she never thought she’d get because Myra has a sketchy past.

She has a rap sheet from her high-school days that returns to haunt her whenever she fills out a job application.

Myra says, “Usually, as soon as any employer sees my record, and the things I done when I’s a kid, they always say ‘Sorry, girl. Don’t let the door hit you where the dog bit you.’”

But as of last month, Myra’s application was accepted. Her new supervisor welcomed her aboard, saying, “I have a past just like yours. And I wouldn’t be where I am today if someone wouldn’t have given me a second chance.”

Myra is making a clean start. Her salary will jump to three times what it was last year when she was working as a hotel maid. She is celebrating this week by purchasing ribeye steaks for herself and her four kids.

When we talked over the phone I could hear excitement in her voice. “I haven’t eaten steak since before the pandemic,” she says with a laugh. “I feel like I’ve been given a new life.”

And so today, if the heaviness of our previous winter has left your heart feeling cold; if your sky looks about as friendly as steel and your soul is iced over; if the world feels like it’s off-kilter; if the talking heads on cable news channels, who chew the same cud day after day, are insisting that evil is on the rise, that hatred is swallowing us alive, and there is nothing wonderous left in this world; do not give up. You must believe in spring.

For even though this past year has been perhaps the worst of our lives, history is not finished with us yet.

Because as of right now, Joy is here.


  1. Cheryl Buchanan - March 20, 2021 8:16 am

    And what joy your writing brings!

  2. Nell Thomas - March 20, 2021 8:38 am

    Very appropriate for this day and time.
    A bundle of it touched home. Thank you.

  3. Nan - March 20, 2021 9:20 am

    Thanks and lots of love to you Sean.!

  4. Ann - March 20, 2021 10:09 am

    Great way to begin my day…and JOY is my favorite word!!
    Your last big paragraph says it all…also your last sentence….thank you, it’s a joyful day❤️🌷🌻

  5. Susan - March 20, 2021 10:41 am

    Spent the day and night with my youngest grandchild, Rosemary. It’s been a joy! Thanks for the uplifting post, Sean! BTW, I stopped listening to the talking heads a couple of months ago and my stress level has gone down substantially!

  6. Dean - March 20, 2021 10:48 am

    Thank you for starting my day off with a smile.
    So proud of the ones you wrote about today and all the people who kept trying and help themselves and others.

  7. topdock - March 20, 2021 12:01 pm

    As I sit reading this, I glance up to see the sun rising brilliantly in the East. It reminds me of the legend that says Bear Bryant kept a prayer about a new day in his pocket. It is the promise of a new day for us all. May I make the most of this day.

  8. Cyn - March 20, 2021 12:21 pm

    Thank you for reminding us that “joy comes in the morning “. Spring can be our new beginning if we will but accept it. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge like the one you provided us this morning. Bless you.

  9. Debbie Taylor - March 20, 2021 12:40 pm

    These stories made my heart happy … thank you, Sean, for bringing joy into our lives with your writings ❤️

  10. Keloth Anne - March 20, 2021 12:49 pm

    Oh yes—always find the joy and love!!!! And be sure to share it with others 🥰♥️ Thank you, Sean

  11. peggyhayesauthor - March 20, 2021 12:51 pm

    Another good one! Thank you for bringing so much Joy to our lives!

  12. Leigh Amiot - March 20, 2021 12:54 pm

    Please tell James your readers are rooting for him. God bless and keep Joy, Mark, Marisposa, and Myra. May God’s richest blessings be upon them always. God bless you and Jamie, too, Sean. And welcome spring! Oh, how I love spring!

  13. Melanie - March 20, 2021 1:12 pm

    James or Mark or both: I am so proud of you. Please do not give up. Speaking from three years of sobriety that feels so amazing it is literally like being reborn to the person you want to be and were always meant to be. I love you and wish you all the best ❤️

  14. AlaRedClayGirl - March 20, 2021 1:17 pm


  15. Donette Lee - March 20, 2021 1:23 pm

    Sean, I am writing this from my hospital bed while recuperating from emergency surgery a week ago. Your writings every day are always such a bright spot but this is the first time I’ve been inclined to comment. At 85 years old I had never head my belly cut open and I know now that I have not been as sympathetic with others who have gone through major surgery. It is very hard work just to sit, eat a few bites, get arranged comfortably in bed , and need help with every little task. For an independent woman this is quite humbling. My two wonderful daughters are taking care of all the at home arrangements. I cannot fathom what people do if they do not have family support. I am so very grateful for them and my extended family and friends.Thank you for being a friendly beacon in otherwise tough days. Keep up the good work.
    Donette Lee
    Hiram, GA

    • Barbara J Schweck - March 20, 2021 5:06 pm

      Hope you have a quick recovery!! You are indeed blessed to have close, caring family. Get Well Soon!!!

  16. Jan - March 20, 2021 2:05 pm

    What wonderful news! I am so happy for sweet baby Joy and her mother, Mark and his son, Mariposa and Tiffani, James and last but certainly not least – Myra and her family! I am thrilled that spring is here and with it, all of these precious stories of people who have not only survived but thrived in our winter of sickness and loss. Thank you, Sean, for reminding me that Joy comes in the morning!

  17. Elizabeth Viertel - March 20, 2021 2:12 pm

    Tell Mark I’m proud of him too. I have a son who is 31 years clean and sober and I have a great-grandson who is struggling with it.

  18. Robert Smyth - March 20, 2021 2:19 pm

    Thank You, I needed that

  19. Bobby - March 20, 2021 2:20 pm

    This post gives me joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. ❤️

  20. NancyB. - March 20, 2021 2:22 pm

    Spring! I’m planting some pansies today in a huge black kettle that sits at the corner of my front porch. I know I’ll only get maybe six weeks out of them before they succumb to rising temperatures, but during that six weeks they will give me HOPE that better days are ahead and JOY for all the good that is still happening in the world! HAPPY SPRING!

  21. elizabethroosje - March 20, 2021 2:46 pm

    My Grandma told me about how it can be so hard to believe that Spring is really going to come again, when you see all the trees without leaves (she lives in MI) but that Spring always comes again, the trees have leaves and are beautiful. She told me it reminds her of how God is still in control and always brings us back to Springtime.

  22. Patricia Gibson - March 20, 2021 2:52 pm

    For sure!!

  23. Suzanne Brantley - March 20, 2021 2:54 pm

    Thank you, Sean. This morning I am with my husband at his appointment for treatment of multiple myeloma and I so needed this. He reads you articles also. Joy is here.

  24. Connie Pearson - March 20, 2021 3:12 pm

    And today my husband and I celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It is a very, very good day!

  25. Mary - March 20, 2021 3:20 pm

    James, if you’re reading the comments please know I, too, am proud of you and what you have accomplished. Here’s to another new day and new season in your life. God bless you and hold you close.

  26. Cecelia Arnold - March 20, 2021 4:28 pm

    Great column. Very encouraging. Myra should know that some of the charges from her past can likely be expunged from her record. She should contact a lawyer in her area.

  27. Christina - March 20, 2021 4:29 pm

    Thanks for spreading joy, and cheers to Joy, Mark, Mariposa, Tiffani, James and Myra! We celebrate you!

  28. Linda Moon - March 20, 2021 4:54 pm

    Thank you for bringing these stories of people to us readers. Joy is here today for one of my gingerheads who’s on a long trail right now…the beginning of a six-month journey. Your last three paragraphs, Writer, enlightened my mindful soul’s long journey. Thank you again, for the joy you bring. It’s here.

  29. Barbara J Schweck - March 20, 2021 5:04 pm

    Oh, how I needed this writing of yours today!!!! God is so Good and I simply must stay away from the talking heads
    (which I listened to, too much yesterday since I am from Atlanta). Prayers and best wishes to all that you mentioned in your piece. Hope is back in the air!! As always, thank you Sean for providing stories of love, persistence and most of all hope!!!

  30. Mitzi S Curtis - March 20, 2021 6:02 pm

    Good to read good, well-written news! Thank you Sean!

  31. MAM - March 20, 2021 6:48 pm

    A simple and heartfelt thanks to you, Sean, for your positive writing, which we all need a dose of these days!

  32. Ingrid Whigham - March 20, 2021 8:58 pm

    Thank you for your positivity when many things look negative.

  33. Suzi - March 20, 2021 11:46 pm

    True joy today as two friends took me to a Tulip Farm in our little corner of the world at the one year anniversary of my husbands death.
    And James, you hang in there fella, I will be praying for you, I am very proud of you!

  34. Shaw - March 21, 2021 1:25 am

    James, what a great thing to celebrate. I’m very proud of you, too.
    And Myra, the past is just things you’ve done, we’ve done, both good and bad. You are not your past. Congratulations on the new job, and enjoy those ribeyes!
    And God bless the guy who hired you. We all need second chances, third, fourth.

    Great column.

  35. Phyllis - March 21, 2021 2:10 am

    Thank you for this piece. I really needed some joy today!

  36. oldtimedan - March 21, 2021 7:24 am


    Another excellent column, wonderfully written. Thank you for what you do. Yours is the good work. I pray you’ll be collecting, telling and writing about this wonderous thing called life for a long long time to come.


  37. Julie - March 21, 2021 2:07 pm

    You are a magnet, Sean, to all of the wonderful people who seek your encouragement and hopefulness, but especially your unconditional love❣️ Thank You, God, for Sean, who spreads all of these virtues, and more…so that we all may benefit, and make ourselves better for it✝️

  38. Leesa - March 21, 2021 3:06 pm

    Congratulations and best wishes to Joy, Mark, Patrick, Mariposa, Tiffani, James and Myra. And, thank goodness for second chances. If not for those, most of us would be in a terrible place.

  39. Lori - March 21, 2021 10:08 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for such enjoyable, encouraging and quite often hilarious stories of real people and times.

  40. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - March 22, 2021 4:08 am

    We have a baby in our family who has been in the hospital since her birth in September and she will probably be released this week. We are so excited. Babies do bring joy. I love hearing about the people you tell us about.

  41. Bob Brenner - March 22, 2021 6:42 am

    “Joy to the World“ the Lord has come. Sean you are one of his Angels! Thanks

  42. nebraskannie - March 22, 2021 1:35 pm

    I turn off the TV and today I planted petunias to celebrate.

  43. Gordon - March 22, 2021 2:40 pm

    Perfect for “such a time as this”. Just perfect!


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