I can see my breath. My windshield is frosted over. And you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about strangers.

Spanish Fort, Alabama—there is frost outside this morning. It’s thirty degrees. Even my bones are cold.

I’m in a hotel elevator with two big, black men. Very big. I’m talking six-nine, maybe. They must be four-feet wide, wearing size-fifteen boots. They’re carrying luggage.

It’s not every day you ride the elevator with two NFL defensive-tackle lookalikes.

I ask if they’re famous.

They laugh.

They aren’t famous. But, they ARE biological brothers who had never met one another until a few months ago.

“I’m from Cali,” says one man.

“I’m from Birmingham,” says the other.

Their mother gave them up for adoption thirty-eight years ago. They found each other on the internet. Then, they tracked down their birth parents.

Their biological mother lives in Atlanta. Their father is deceased. They visited his grave yesterday.

“It was emotional, man,” one brother says. “You don’t think a dude you never met will mean that much to you, but… He was my dad.”

“Yeah,” the other adds.


Today, they’re going on an old-fashioned road trip together. They’re heading to Georgia to meet their birth mother before Christmas. She has no idea they’re coming.

One brother says, “I’m ready to facilitate healing to my family.”

I ask if he’d be gracious enough to spell “facilitate” for me.

We say goodbye, they waltz through the lobby. Every eye is on them because they are giants.

In the breakfast room of the hotel: a family. The back of the mother’s T-shirt reads: “Autism is not a disease.”

They are eating. The oldest boy screams at his younger brother. He is pitching a fit, making a scene. Hands flail.

The room gets tense.

She snaps into action.

She says, “Oh my! Would you look at this? It’s past nine, and you haven’t fed your toy frog.”

The kid furrows his brow.

“I did too,” he says. “Fed him this morning.”

“Interesting,” she goes on. “Then WHY did he JUST say he’s hungry?”

The boy takes the toy and observes it closely. He sniffs it. “That’s strange, he never talks to me.”

And just like that, all is calm.

Outside in the parking lot: four men dressed in jeans and boots. They’re standing in a semi-circle, heads bowed, cigarettes in hands.

I can’t hear what they’re saying, but I overhear whispered words:

“Lord,” says one. “Guide the surgeon’s hands…”

And even though I don’t know who they’re talking about, I imagine it has something to do with the man who holds his face in his hands.

I walk past them. I crawl into my cold truck and I’m thinking about people I’ve never met.

I can see my breath. My windshield is frosted over. And you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about strangers.

Well, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s because I’m nosy. Maybe because I have nothing better to do while my truck defrosts. Maybe because I’m a frustrated, wanna-be columnist who never got his big shot.

Either way, I want you to know that I’m grateful. Grateful to be here.

I don’t mean “here” in this hotel parking lot. I don’t mean “here” in Alabama. I mean HERE. With you. Right now.

Life is short. Too short. It’s people that make it precious to me. And that means you.


Guide that surgeon’s hand, Lord.


  1. Judy Ennis - December 11, 2017 12:33 pm

    Sean,your writings always touch me. You have such a gift with your thoughts and words.Thank you for sharing it with us ….your readers.

  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - December 11, 2017 12:35 pm

    Well, Sean! You are a columnist! You’re a columnist who touches our lives every day. You bring a view of life that you observe. Sometimes it’s good to get outside of ourselves and see the people who live outside our sphere. But perhaps they are in our sphere and we just didn’t take the time to notice. You make me observe! Thank you. I wish I knew more about the people you mentioned today. You see, I’m curious (nosey). Have a blessed day!

  3. Bev Mathias - December 11, 2017 12:37 pm

    Sean, you are very precious, to me, too.

  4. Vickie - December 11, 2017 12:41 pm


  5. jones - December 11, 2017 12:41 pm

    Do not be frustrated….your writings and stories uplift many, many people each day. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Susan Hammett Poole - December 11, 2017 12:45 pm

    Dear God, bless Sean today. Let him know that he is dear to a multitude of hearts who look for his posts every day because we know he cares ~ genuinely cares about those he meets along life’s highways. Thanks, Lord. AMEN.

  7. Juanita Ruth One - December 11, 2017 12:45 pm

    You write about people you don’t know because YOU KNOW that we are related — individual expressions of the One Being — all children of Father/Mother God! And you live by our Brother Jesus’s teaching, “That you love one another.”

  8. Alan Akridge - December 11, 2017 1:01 pm

    Well written Sean. From Mobile via St Simons.

  9. Kathy Daum - December 11, 2017 1:27 pm

    I understand. I guess I’m just nosy, too. But most people like being seen.

    • Sue - December 16, 2017 11:10 am

      Yes, Kathy, people want some recognition that they count.

  10. Kathy Daum - December 11, 2017 1:28 pm

    To Susan, Amen.

  11. Connie - December 11, 2017 1:31 pm

    Just said a prayer for somebody I don’t know because you told us about him. I imagine hundreds more are doing the same. Thank you for bringing all these people to us.

  12. Carol Nimrod - December 11, 2017 1:42 pm

    You were not around strangers. The minute you saw them, each one, you were joined, you cared. Just as God intends for us all to do.

  13. Jan - December 11, 2017 1:46 pm

    Mornings with Sean …. my favorite time of day!

  14. Patricia - December 11, 2017 1:47 pm

    I’m thankful for you Sean!! You and your thoughts and writings have become a daily blessing in my life! Merry Christmas Sean!!

  15. Sybil - December 11, 2017 1:50 pm

    I get a blessing every time I read your page. You create such wonderful pictures.x

    • Sybil - December 11, 2017 1:53 pm

      Remove the second sentence.

  16. Joy Collins - December 11, 2017 1:54 pm

    Dear Sean, My name is Joy and I start all my mornings with you. God bless you and your family. Never stop writing the way only you can !!!! ” MERRY CHRISTMAS ” and God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Susan Reese - December 11, 2017 1:57 pm

    Hi Sean, I look forward to your posts everyday. You have a way a seeing what most of us miss and you make the ordinary special. I live in the North Georgia Mountains so I relate to much of what you write. Thank you for sharing your gift so freely.
    Merry Christmas Sean!

  18. Jack Darnell - December 11, 2017 2:23 pm

    Hey dude, you know ’em elevators got a load limit! You live dangerously. YOu are evidently famous in the RIGHT circles. Them guys who write and appear internationally write about RAPE,KILLING and Pillaging.

    But some of us like to know there is good in the world cause we have read enough crap. We want to know about ’em guys going to see their mama. They gonna skeer her to death first off.

    And we want to know someone is praying for God to guide the surgeon’s hands.
    GOOD stuff. I mean GOOD thoughts.

    • Gloria Wethington - December 11, 2017 10:08 pm

      Sean, your writing always touches me – makes me cry. So glad you’re not a journalist who writes about all the bad things that make us sad – but about the good in the world. So glad you’re nosy – and that you care so much for people in this world!

  19. Candy Clark - December 11, 2017 2:42 pm

    I’m glad you’re “here” also! Everyday! May you be greatly blessed this Christmas season! Thankful for your words Sean!

  20. Patricia Schmaltz - December 11, 2017 3:16 pm

    We are all grateful you are here!

    • Ronnie - December 11, 2017 6:06 pm

      Yes we are! Love your writing!

  21. teachenglish67 - December 11, 2017 3:16 pm

    “wanna-be columnist who never got his big shot.” Hmmm, to me those people just give news and report. Who really pays attention to them? It’s as though their readers just want to be entertained. You, on the other hand, give insight and something to think about perhaps all day. You, on the other hand, have more readers and “thinkers” than the columnists who got their big shot. I’ve forgotten about the columnists whom I’ve read their writings who got their big shot; but, I don’t, nor haven’t, forgotten about you and all you give to me and others to think about. Thank you, Sean, for another few things to ponder and mentally ruminate.

  22. Leslie Landiss - December 11, 2017 3:54 pm

    You, my friend I’ve never met, are one of the highlights of my day. Thanks for writing what you write!
    Also praying for that surgeon and the one he is operating on today.
    Bless you!

  23. Dianne Correll - December 11, 2017 5:11 pm

    Thank you, have a blessed day!!

  24. Lisa W. - December 11, 2017 5:43 pm

    You bring tears to my eyes every time I read your writing. Sometimes there’s a chuckle, but always tears. Always gratitude. You have blessed my life with your words.
    Merry Christmas to you & yours.
    ~Lisa W. (South AL transplant in Mississippi)

  25. Deb Moody - December 11, 2017 6:35 pm

    Dear Sean,

    You might not have a name EVERYONE knows or a broadcast show for millions on Sunday, but THIS is your big shot. You leave your mark on this world and touch lives one reader at a time.
    I know. You’ve just touched my life.

    Glad you have recognized the calling God gave you.

  26. Jan - December 11, 2017 7:59 pm

    And I am grateful I found you. God bless your journey.

  27. Ari - December 11, 2017 9:24 pm

    You ARE a big-shot columnist to me.

  28. Maureen Sudlow - December 11, 2017 9:40 pm


  29. Mary Anne - December 11, 2017 10:19 pm

    Whoa. You had me at “Guide that surgeon’s hand…” More years ago than I care to count, I was going into surgery the next morning. When my doctor (God Bless Him) came by my hospital room to check on me the night before, he said “don’t be scared, get a good night’s rest and you just pray that the Good Lord guides my hand tomorrow morning!” He did guide that doctor’s hand. I lived and so did my unborn child. She turned 40 last May. She’s the apple of my eye. Can I get an Amen for God-fearing surgeons and kicking cancer’s tail? I just have a feeling that He guided that surgeon’s hand that those men were asking Him to do for that person also. Thank you, Sean, for being such a wonderful, caring writer. Merry Christmas.

  30. Linda goodwin - December 11, 2017 10:38 pm

    Love this tale…uplifting…insightful…amen.

  31. Susan Warren - December 11, 2017 11:53 pm

    Love,love these precious stories!

  32. Michael Hawke - December 12, 2017 3:22 am

    You have given me an appreciation for my home town, Leary, GA. Just about one hour’s ride east of Dothan. Would love to show you around.

  33. Janet Mary Lee - December 12, 2017 3:38 am

    Beautiful, as always! What would we do without you? Amen..
    And God bless those men and those they know and need.
    And God bless you! ( And yours!)

  34. Deena - December 12, 2017 5:23 am

    Sean, I’m sorry you feel like you haven’t gotten your big shot off into the world of writers. There are countless folks like me who think you are so much better than many who are considered as top of their field. But we all have our dreams of who we want to be and the accomplishments we hope to achieve.. keep on keeping on till you get there but in the mean time , I’ll just keep enjoying all of your heartfelt writings and feeling like I have connected to a soul much like my own.. I love people – wish I could feed , shelter and protect them all.. I know you receive as many blessings from giving as the people whose lives you touch, receive. More in some cases.. I consider you the most humble man I “know”. Christmas blessings to you and all whom you love!


  35. Jo Findley - December 12, 2017 7:42 pm

    Your writing is amazing!! Keep it up, please!!

  36. Carolyn Gray - December 12, 2017 10:21 pm

    You mean a great deal to me. I so look forward each day to hear from you about feelings thoughts and the people you meet. My life is enriched by you and your writings. God bless you and all you love this Christmas 2017 Carolyn

  37. Kathy Burgess - December 13, 2017 5:07 am

    You will never write anything that will make me not love you and your writing.

  38. Alison - December 14, 2017 4:23 pm

    Spanish Fort, that’s my town. Next time your here , even if it’s cold , join me at the fountains at the Eastern Shore mall I’ll share my lunch with you. Usually around 12.

  39. Mel Armstrong - December 16, 2017 2:22 am


  40. Kathy Phillips - December 17, 2017 2:32 pm

    It would be awesome to know how the surgery went and anxious to know how the brothers’ trip turned out. Good morning to you.

  41. Barbara Bray - December 27, 2018 2:06 pm

    We are all in this together , Sean. It is good to stop every now and then to think about that. Thank you for the reminder.


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