Remember when you were little? Remember how whenever you were sick your mother made chicken soup? Remember what culinary pageantry this was?
Your mother would go to great lengths to boil poultry in a giant stockpot, filling the kitchen with steam so that the wallpaper started to peel. And she did this for you.
And even though you were as sick as a cup of warmed over manure, remember how wonderful that felt?
Remember how whenever you were scared, your beautiful mother would cradle you and tell you everything was going to be okay?
Remember how you would always ask her, “But how do you know it’s all gonna be okay, Mama?”
Then, remember how she would answer by pinching your little nose and singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” until your tears evaporated?
Of course you remember all this. And so do I. We never forget the people who made us feel protected. We were helpless kids with perpetually runny noses and unclean underwear, living in a dangerous world. But within Mama’s embrace we were safe.
“He’s got you and me brother, in his hands…” she would sing, rocking you gently.
How about your teenage years? Remember those? Remember how you thought you were a tough little cuss? Nothing could harm you because you were Billy the Butt Kicker.
But inevitably something unpleasant would happen to you because that’s how life works. Someone would break your heart. Some hapless kid would call you stupid, ugly, or, God forbid, chubby. Your tough-guy façade would shatter, and you ran crying to Mama.
Because deep down you just needed to be held. You needed Mama to wrap her two wondrously soft, non-health-club arms around you and tell you that it was all going to be okay. Maybe even hum a song into your ear while swaying back and forth.
But then you got older.
Suddenly you weren’t a baby anymore. You can’t remember how this happened, but it did. Which comes as no surprise
inasmuch as aging is part of life. All humans age except Cher.
Take a gander at at your reflection. Your pants are a little snug. Your hairline is receding so that it now begins at the nape of your neck. Your upper arms look a little more like Mama’s every day.
The crummy part is, at your current age, Mama is not around to hold you when things go haywire. Nobody bursts into your bedroom when you’re sobbing and enfolds you in a wonderful embrace.
You’re a grown-up now. You’re supposed to deal with it. Suck it up, SOLO cup. Quit whining. You want chicken soup? Tough spit.
We adults are expected to carry on. And that’s exactly what you’ve been doing. You carry on. Day after day. And it’s draining.
After a while, you start to accept the fact that you’re on your own now. No one is going to sing happy little Sunday school songs to you to ease your troubled mind. Protective hugs are a thing of the past.
Soon, your sense of security begins to erode. Eventually you, the self-sufficient adult, start to believe that not only is everything NOT going to be okay, but life is falling apart.
This is the reason I am writing to you.
You don’t know me. I am a nobody from nowhere with no credentials to his hick name. I am some guy on the Internet who has no expertise. I painstakingly maintained a 1.7 GPA in college, and I still type with my index fingers.
Still, you’ve read this far, and there must be a reason why. Maybe it’s because your life sucks right now. Maybe each morning you awake and feel unsure about where life is taking you. Maybe you’re scared silly about it.
Maybe sometimes you cry when nobody is looking. Maybe all you want is for someone to hold you, to kiss your hair, to press their nose against yours, and to give you words you can believe in.
Well, here are some words. And the best part is, you don’t have to believe in them for them to be true:
You are going to get through this.
I don’t care how bad it appears, or what the experts say, or how bleak the sky looks. You are going to survive, you are going to thrive, you are going to win, you are going to smile again.
And someday, you will tell your story. One day in the not-so-distant future, you will tell the doubters and downtrodden souls that their lives are not over. You will tell them that everything is going to be okay.
These people will immediately ask how you know such things to be true.
And you will smile to yourself. Because in your heart you will recall the warm embraces from a woman in an apron who once sang to you. Then it will hit you. All at once.
The lyrics to your mother’s little song were true.
J R Morgan - January 4, 2022 7:07 am
Well done sir! We (your readers) are privileged to live in a time that your mastery in writing and expression coincide with our lives. Thank you for using your God given gift to get to an old soul like myself. Again, well done sir!
Dennis Browne - January 4, 2022 7:07 am
Great writing tonight … altho I never as a child, that I can remember, had my Mom, or Dad for that matter, tell me that things were going to be ok … But as a Dad now and a Grandpa of 6, I sure tell my now adult kids, and my grandchildren, those same words, things are going to be ok … accompanied by a huge Dad or Grandpa hug. Thanks for the reminder of how portent that connection is with our children and grandchildren.
Lelah Boldin - January 4, 2022 7:34 am
Aaauamen. 🎵 Aaauamen. 🎶Aaaaumen.🎵Amen. Amen. 🎶
Shari - January 4, 2022 10:35 am
Having lost a dear friend and colleague of 35 years, I so needed to read this to start my day! Very well written! Thank you!
Lynn - January 4, 2022 11:09 am
I can’t stop sobbing. Thank you for this. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.
Kim Powell - January 4, 2022 11:31 am
It’s as if you’re sitting in my living room. Thank you, Sean.
marisafranca - January 4, 2022 11:31 am
Thank you! You brought back some amazing memories of my Mamma and her singing when I was worried and scared. How I miss her!!
Patricia - January 4, 2022 11:48 am
Love your writing Sean. There’s nothing like a Momma’s love , embrace , and assurance that all will be ok and that “ He’s got this “. Wishing that all could feel this all through life.
Trish - January 4, 2022 12:11 pm
I was just telling a friend the other day how exhausted I was from getting through the day to day. I’m usually the one telling everyone else it’s gonna be okay and I usually hide behind “I’m fine”. But I confided in my friend I wasn’t fine. She prayed with me. I don’t have those types of warm and fuzzy childhood memories. But, I have praying friends. There’s nothing better than someone who really listens and then says, let’s pray. Because when you pray, God listens. Have an outstanding day. Thanks for sharing your beautiful gift of writing.
SW - January 8, 2022 7:22 am
Friends who pray for us are indeed a blessing!
Sharon - January 4, 2022 12:22 pm
Thanks, I needed this today.
Ann - January 4, 2022 12:26 pm
You have no idea how many people flashed through my mind …who need this insightful column today..we are not alone! God bless
Rose White - January 4, 2022 12:35 pm
I’m 77 years old and I needed to hear this message today! Thank you for your insightful Ed’s. May God bless you!
Kathy - January 4, 2022 1:00 pm
I miss my mama! I know you still miss yours. Tell Jamie I know she misses hers. Love to you both.
Audra S Isenhour - January 4, 2022 1:37 pm
I am the Mom who sings the song, makes the soup, or in my case, the pound cake or Snickerdoodles. I am a 74 year old widow and I know I am loved and I tell my children and grandchildren, even friends that it will all be fine. Then as I walk my dog I sob and tell God I am tired and lonely and would love some chicken soup from my mom. You really hit the feels today Sean. God bless you.
Holly Layman - January 4, 2022 4:08 pm
Dear Miss Audra,
You sound just like my mom. She sang the songs and made the tasty treats. She was 75 and I just lost her two days after Christmas. I’m so sorry you’re tired and lonely. I’m glad you have your children and grandchildren though. I wish I had some words of comfort, but I just wanted to let you know you remind me of my mom. Thank you. <3
Celeste Sheppard - January 4, 2022 1:48 pm
Thanks so much Sean. I really needed that today. Ever since my hubby passed away I’ve felt like a boat in a stormy ocean. He was my rock. We were high school sweethearts, married for 53 years. Thanks again for those words of encouragement.
Suellen Dehnke - January 4, 2022 7:32 pm
Celeste: I know how you feel. My husband had a stroke almost 3 years ago. While he survived he isn’t the same person I married. I cried so many times and told people that he was my rock and I felt like I was adrift without him. Then I noticed while doing my devotions over and over again I was told that Christ is my Rock. It took awhile for that to sink in to me. Then one night after 3 different devotions telling me He is my Rock the light dawned and I’ve never felt that aloneness again. Praying you will feel His presence and the love and prayers of those around you.
Jocelyn - January 4, 2022 1:56 pm
As long as I keep my wits about myself I can get through anything.
Rhonda - January 4, 2022 2:16 pm
America’s biggest problem is the negativity and FEAR.. MY GOD FEAR ALONE CAN MAKE YOU SICK
Cathy M - January 4, 2022 2:33 pm
Today’s message was beautifully written and I would like for you to stand up and take a bow. Now, listen to the applause. I wish I could hear you read this bc the only thing that would make it better is to hear your voice and see your facial expression . January is a hard month for many of us so please keep on lifting us up. That will be almost as good as the chicken soup and hearing your mom say, everything’s going to be ok. I believe that our God truly has the whole world in his hands
Gloria R. Reynolds - January 4, 2022 3:08 pm
It’s so true about moms. My son is 23 and still, sometimes, he still lets me hug & hold him. It’s a blessing for us both.
Marge - January 4, 2022 3:45 pm
Dear Sean, I start my day with your insightful words and, most often, end the reading in tears. Today is no different. When my husband of 56 years went home to be with Jesus, I realized he was the one who always would tell me “It’s gonna be OK” when I was fearful of doctor’s appointments, world events, disappointing myself over things I couldn’t seem to do…now, as I am going on 82 years of living, I realize God has put me exactly where He needs me to be and I gather strength to find my way though my days. You have given me my happy morning tears, again, and I thank you.
Shelton A. - January 4, 2022 3:49 pm
Thanks for a reminder of knowing love and security from your family. Not my mom, she was abusive. But the rest of my family and friends of my family who did give me a feeling of security and that everything would be ok. And they are. My love to all those who stepped in for my mom when I needed it.
Susan Kennedy - January 4, 2022 4:08 pm
I needed this today as our 35 year old daughter has been placed in a mental health crisis unit. My mama heart is broken. Please pray for us.
Holly Layman - January 4, 2022 4:20 pm
I lost my mom two days after Christmas. I see her in your column today. She sang songs, she comforted, she cooked and baked. She always seemed to know how to make things right, or at least bearable. My dad and son and I miss her so much. It doesn’t feel like it now, but I know you’re right. Everything will be ok. It might just take a little bit to get there.
Paul McCutchen - January 4, 2022 4:39 pm
Tears in my eyes this morning.
Candi M - January 4, 2022 4:58 pm
Oh Sean, Your words were a gift from God. As I read, I thought of how my mom would hug me and tell me it would be okay. And yes, she taught me that song, which I sang to my sons. But today, I needed to hear her sing it and bask in her warm hug, knowing she is with my husband, who left this world for Heaven one year ago, tomorrow. The tears sting my eyes and the memories leak down my cheeks as I miss them both. Thank you for wrapping this altogether for me.
Stacey Wallace - January 4, 2022 5:07 pm
Thanks, Sean. And everything will be okay.
Andrea Gainous - January 4, 2022 5:24 pm
Thank you. 🥺 I’m home with a sick little boy today.
Robert Washington Ennis - January 4, 2022 6:06 pm
I feel foolish leaving a comment and I know you will probably never see this but I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for inspiring me every day, reminding me of that little slice of Mayberry in west Alabama that I grew up in and the compassion that may still exist in our troubled world.
Dianne - January 4, 2022 6:35 pm
Well, I just had my cry for the day, Sean. I don’t know how you do it, but you always seem to write what many of us need that day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dixie - January 4, 2022 7:18 pm
Your words today brought me to tears. Precisely what I needed. Thank you.
Norma+Den🇿🇦 - January 4, 2022 7:20 pm
So many lovely memories of childhood. We were a fairly big family but loving parents made up for all we didn’t have in the way of material possessions. Mom & Dad were true Christians, Mom the helper to all, our table always had space for another chair, her mantra was Blessed are the peacemakers, & she lived that through her all too short life, going home to Heaven aged 64. Dad was the Whistler, & sometimes the singer of hymns while working on a project. His favourite & mine just as comforting as your Moms song. What A Friend We Have In Jesus is my oh so comforting hymn. I know they’re both home & were welcomed with the words, Well Done, good & faithful servants.
Karen Snyder - January 4, 2022 8:00 pm
True then. True today. True always. I am thankful that He gifted you with the ability to remind us of that when we most need reminding.🧡
MAM - January 4, 2022 8:16 pm
Of course, the lyrics are true, because God always has you and me, brother, in His hands. Thanks for the reminder, Sean!
Linda Moon - January 4, 2022 8:18 pm
Yes, I remember. It was wonderful in those younger years with Mama. She kept calm and carried on in spite of hard times. She actually resembled The Queen very much and was once mistaken for The Queen at a formal gathering. I continue reading now to find your reason, and I think I know what it is. And then, “You are going to get through this”. Yes. That’s my reason. If my Mama did it, so can I. Beautiful, wonderful words of LIFE are here from your Mama.
aerialhorizon - January 4, 2022 8:41 pm
Thanks; we all need a little of that from time to time.
Patricia Gibson - January 4, 2022 9:33 pm
Wonderful as always!!
Rebecca Galyon - January 5, 2022 12:24 am
Sean, I was introduced to your podcast right before Christmas by a dear librarian friend who thinks you are wonderful. I have read all your podcasts and now have ordered your First Volume One Short Stories and Whistling Dixie.
You have that ability to draw me right in, make me cry, laugh and bring back lots of memories in a few paragraphs. Thank you. I have sent your stories, podcast to all my close girl friends. They’re going love you too!
Jan Werbish - January 6, 2022 5:08 am
You’ll love all Sean’s books!! He’s quite the author !!
Ann - January 5, 2022 1:42 am
While some of us didn’t have moms who made homemade chicken soup or cuddled us when sick, we all have Jesus to hold us no matter how big or how old we are.
Debbie - January 5, 2022 1:09 pm
Singing mamas, praying friends…..there’s hope for our world yet. We just have to remember that these are what matter. Everything’s just gonna be alright…. Thank you, Sean, for reminding us.
Roseann Romans - January 5, 2022 1:57 pm
What a lovely uplifting message to start the New Year with. Thank you.
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - January 5, 2022 2:59 pm
Penn Wells - January 6, 2022 4:31 pm
All true. But – and this is key – it’s important to make it past 3:00am and for the sun to rise. Then you have a shot. But 3:00am? Man, that can be tough sometimes.
Melissa Claunch - January 8, 2022 1:33 am
Goodness! I lost my precious Mama in September. She raised her 4 children to be strong independent adults. But, I miss her so much. I’m just lost…
Wayne Robbins - January 8, 2022 4:12 am
Your words as usual are very upbeat and comforting. Wish that I had the ability to put words together and make them really mean something. A lot of people needed what you said today. I think that you instilled hope in quite a few folks and often that’s what it takes to make it until tomorrow. Keep up the good work!
MJ BREAUX - January 9, 2022 12:20 am
Thank you, I’m feeling lost and humiliated. I can no longer afford my home, my job will never pay more. It’s absolutely soul crushing to fail at 61.
Naomi Smith - January 9, 2022 5:33 am
Thank you for those reminders. I was always loved and cared for by my parents. My mother always fixed food for any ailment. She would sing and read the Bible to improve everything. My Dad was 6’6” and when he picked me up and carried me, I felt like nothing could touch me.
As a mother of 3 children I tried to nurture them as I was nurtured. Now that they are grown(38, 44, and 46), when I know of their world being a little off, I immediately try to figure out what I can do to make it better. I can’t always fix IT anymore, but I’m encouraged by your thought. Maybe some of the memories of the past will do what I’m no longer able to do. Thank you.