Oxford, Alabama—I am in the car. I am sipping a coffee. And I am waiting to take a stage and entertain a bunch of good-hearted people.
I have ten minutes until showtime.
And I love you.
Admittedly, I don’t know WHY I love you. Because chances are, we’ve never met. But I DO love you. And I guess you could say that I’m only passing it on. Because that’s what you do with love. You don’t keep it in your pocket.
See, once I was once a kid who looked out a bedroom window at acres of sadness. After my father departed this world, it took two decades to find myself. I didn’t know if I ever would.
I was a drifting soul. I’ve had a hundred grunt jobs, and a hundred more, and not a single job paid over a few bucks per hour. I was a blue collar nothing. You would’ve walked past me in Walmart and never remembered my face.
At big gatherings, I was the man who sort of blended into the upholstery. I am a high-school dropout, a person who once felt like a waste of cosmic space.
A man who would usually find himself in the kitchen after a family event, doing dishes because that’s where I felt I belonged.
I don’t know. Anyway, I felt unloved, unwanted, unseen, un-special, un-smart. For the largest piece of my life, I wondered if anyone gave a damn about me at all. And if they did, I wondered why.
Growing up, it seemed like other kids had more important things to do than worry about love. Most were interested in sports, girls, fast vehicles, beer, or combining all four of the aforementioned.
So I didn’t believe in love. I thought it was a made-up idea. And a cruel one at that. But I was wrong. Because somewhere along the way, I found it.
No. It found me. And I don’t have time to tell you how. I’m typing as fast as I can before I have to go.
It was average people who loved me. People who pulled me out of the upholstery.
Jim Griffith. God bless Jim. He has Alzheimer’s now, but that white-haired man treated me like his son.
Bob Browning—who gave me a job at the Baptist church, playing piano. Who took me to lunch almost every day and paid for it himself. Who couldn’t say a harsh word about Hitler if the Gestapo held a gun to his head.
And Lyle—who I talk and text with just about every day. Who took me to a local bar during the World Series. We sat at the bar together, and when some guy asked if we were father and son, Lyle said, “You betcha,” in his Wisconsin accent.
People like them.
People who encouraged me to smile so often that my cheeks grew by three cubic inches. And I’m just scratching the surface.
I’ve known some people who had no reason to love me, but did.
Some lady once gave me three hundred bucks for no reason when I was nineteen.
A corn-farming Holiness pastor from Mississippi once gave me his personal guitar because I didn’t have one.
A woman gave me a ride when I had a flat tire. A man paid for my supper because I reminded him of someone.
The list goes on.
And over time, love has done something to me. And I don’t want to get all sappy, but I’m going to:
I’m not the soul I once was. I’m a different soul. A happier one. A fella who is sitting in an Oxford, Alabama, parking lot, typing to strangers on a laptop, about to go onstage to do whatever it is that I do.
So wish me luck.
I love you.
Pass it on.
Beth Reed - April 7, 2018 6:02 am
Love does find a way and you just can’t hide from it. You can try but there will always be some one who will find you.
Have fun doing what you do and remember that when someone says they love you, they mean it.
Hugs, xxx Beth
Janellen - April 7, 2018 7:09 am
And you are loved by more than you know! I love you too.❤️
Theresa Clark - April 7, 2018 7:50 am
Another awesome and heart swelling story, Sean. I find myself so much in your words. And love found me, too. And won’t let me go. His name is Jesus. And, I like you have received such undeserved kindness in my life, that I don’t think I have enough days to pass it on. But I will try.
theholtgirls - April 7, 2018 10:30 pm
candyalso - April 7, 2018 8:43 am
I love you too, Sean.
Lucretia - April 7, 2018 10:42 am
Thank you, Sean, for counting your blessings of those who love you. I count you as one of my blessings. Thank you for loving me. I have never met you, but I truly love you. Thank you for passing it on. I will pass it on. Lucretia
Cathi - April 7, 2018 10:47 am
Kathy - April 7, 2018 10:52 am
Howard Humphreys - April 7, 2018 10:57 am
Keep going. Everyone needs to be loved and you are…
D. Green - April 7, 2018 11:24 am
I have a sticker on the front of my car that says “Grace Happens” – and it does. Love is alive and well in this world, but we all need reminding, and I thank you once again for doing that!
Suzanne - April 7, 2018 11:41 am
Judy Ennis - April 7, 2018 11:55 am
I love you Sean and yes we have met…..in Decatur and I got a big ol Sean hug and a picture that I cherish. But I didn’t need to meet you to love you that had already happened. Best of luck to you as you travel the roads and gather more stories……
Sherry - April 7, 2018 11:57 am
I love you, too! Thanks….
Renee - April 7, 2018 12:19 pm
Wonderful story to start the day with, thank you!
Mark Miles - April 7, 2018 12:20 pm
Good luck man…love you too!!!
CaroG87 - April 7, 2018 12:41 pm
This is beautiful. So are you.
Elizabeth - April 7, 2018 12:45 pm
Well that made me cry…and remember. Thanks for the love and reminding. ❤️
Dianne - April 7, 2018 12:49 pm
Sean, you are loved by so many people that it would make you head spin. Your stories make my day, even the ones that make me cry. You bring love to many people who otherwise wouldn’t have a drop of it in their lives. Thank you, and know that you are loved!!
Caron Eiman - April 7, 2018 12:58 pm
I love you too! Your writing always lightens my heart a little. Opens my eyes to my surroundings a little more.
Thank you for writing.
Deena Spence Grimsley - April 7, 2018 1:35 pm
This post tells all that you could say about who you are. I am so thankful that you have found such love in this sometimes unlovable world…. you are a beautiful soul created by loving people . I thank you for sharing you with us everyday. You make my own heart softer towards the world we live in.
This is my favorite post of all. ?
Sue Cronkite - April 7, 2018 1:50 pm
It is a joy to read what you write. You’re “passing it on.”
Christina Brode - April 7, 2018 1:53 pm
well out here in reader land, we’ve never met and aren’t likely too and yet I love you back. and your family. and all the people you write about.
P.J. Anderson - April 7, 2018 2:04 pm
Love you back! Thanks for reminding us “the greatest of these is love”.
Nix LaVerdi - April 7, 2018 2:05 pm
“….looked out my bedroom window at acres of sadness”. Your stories, the way you write them, the simplicity of your imagery stem deep down into the roots. Your words are perfectly placed and hit my soul. Your stories about your wife, your mother, people who impacted your journey of life, they are golden. Your readers are not strangers, I believe. We feel every words we read because they come from your heart. Thank you Sean for living in this world and sharing your gift.
Connie - April 7, 2018 2:12 pm
Love you back. I love the people you write about. I love your family. You are all a part of my circle. I’ve been through a lot in my life, and have often felt sadness and unworthy and unlovable, but giving love opens you up to receiving love. Right after my husband left me, the only reason I kept going was knowing I had a child to raise, but there were people I didn’t even know who let me talk and opened their hearts to love me. The love of those people, some I have never met, kept me going until I felt strong again. Love does that. It changes who we are in a fundamental way. I’ve been lucky to have met both you and Jamie, and I know I’m just another faceless person in the sea of people y’all have met on this journey, but I treasure you.
Barbara Assell - April 7, 2018 2:17 pm
I love you, too. You help me everyday to know what’s important in this world. This is your calling and your ministry. God bless you always.
Debbie - April 7, 2018 2:23 pm
I love you, too, Sean. Just because. Also, because you are the most humble, human part of me. And because I am in you and everyone is in us. We are all one. And love is all that matters. ❤️
Ted - April 7, 2018 2:24 pm
Hope you entertained and people laughed, smiled and felt loved!
Edna B. - April 7, 2018 2:36 pm
Young man, you are so blessed! I love you, we all love you. You give us hope for a better tomorrow and show us the love that is everywhere. Thank you for being you. Hugs, Edna B.
Robin McDonald - April 7, 2018 2:42 pm
You are Loved by so many… including me!
Carol ann ROTHWELL - April 7, 2018 2:48 pm
Your not alone anymore,that’s for sure cause there’s a million or more people out there that love you back…and no matter what you need..and all you got to do ,Is open up one of these comments and we’ll tell you how to get to our door or meet ya somewhere for a meal,or a flat tire or a tank of gas….or if I was young enough à kidney….That’s how much I love you,cause your good and your one of God’s messengers!!
PE Huntley - April 7, 2018 3:08 pm
Thank you. I love all of your messages from the heart, but this one struck me more than others have. Love is truly the answer to most every concern our country has today. Love strenghtens and heals, and makes us thankful and happy and wanting to share that love with others. Thank you again!
Celeste Sheppard - April 7, 2018 3:20 pm
Thank you Sean! I needed that today. I also see myself in your words. You touch my heart. I love you Sean Dietrich! ❤️
Jack Quanstrum - April 7, 2018 3:28 pm
Great story. It goes to my heart. Thank you for sharing it.
Elaine Price - April 7, 2018 3:28 pm
I don’t think you realize how important what you write is-finding the good and Love in the world-showing the truth that all the crap we constantly get slapped with is only a fraction of the real world. We don’t live in the headlines-we live here among each other and we are loved. You may not see or understand how much God is using you but trust me-He is. Thank you.
janiesjottings - April 7, 2018 4:23 pm
Thank’s for the love Sean! And thank you for telling us about the wonderful people who helped you become the person and writer you are. Loved this!
Marthajane Cassidey - April 7, 2018 4:27 pm
I start my day with your column. You give me hope!
Donna Gulliver - April 7, 2018 4:35 pm
I only knew of you when a friend forwarded your column about a year ago, but I love you too! I read your column first every day and it always brightens my day, even when it brings a tear to my eye, which it often does. Keep on sending love and recieving it!
Jan - April 7, 2018 4:36 pm
Love you right back!!!
Kathy - April 7, 2018 4:51 pm
You didn’t blend in. Just like the people you see don’t blend in. We see them. We each see certain people and give them love, hope and anything we can. You remind me to do that.
Diane - April 7, 2018 5:00 pm
You have a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing it
Larry Blumen - April 7, 2018 5:26 pm
Do I hear a big “aww…”?
Pat - April 7, 2018 5:27 pm
Love you too and I hope I am lucky enough to hug your neck Thursday night!
Pamela McEachern - April 7, 2018 5:41 pm
Great drawing of the heart, I imagine it being gold.
Peace and Love from Birmingham
wgarysmith - April 7, 2018 8:09 pm
Three small but powerful words that for me have always been hard to say. And when they have been said to me, I took them without thought and most of the time without any return.
I grew up in in a family of four kids, a stay at home Mom that did a remarkable job with very little, and a Dad that was one of 11 kids and experienced many hardships all through life but through hard work in tough jobs he provided for us. He also served his country, almost loosing his life on D Day and awarded a Purple Heart and a few other ribbons and metal. I Love You was not said a lot, but we knew it.
As I look back I have some regrets that I did not say “I Love You” enough to my loving wife and two sons.As I grow older in the Winter of my life I am not shy about telling my grandchildren that I love them and I am trying to do better with my wife of 47 years, sons and other family members. For all the years that I have not, I hope they knew…….I Love You!
Jewell Wray - April 7, 2018 9:25 pm
You are such an inspiration to me and many others who grew up like you did and with God’s help and many loving people starting with my foster mom we make it everyday thank you for sharing your heart with us and I love your wife for being so encouraging I love you and so do many my husband and I got to see you a couple of months before he died in November I am a good friend of Donnie Sasser’s he and my children grew up together we love him God Loves you thank you being YOU ❤️
Rose - April 7, 2018 10:59 pm
It took me many, many years to find that there were those who actually loved me. It is a grand feeling. I love you, Sean.
Sandra Smith - April 8, 2018 12:25 am
Love you too !
Lauri Reynolds - April 8, 2018 1:54 am
Indeed, you are loved.
Sandi in FL - April 8, 2018 6:33 am
Sean, never doubt that you are definitely loved by many people. Lots of us are just names in your Comments section here, but we love you and your goodness, your wit, wisdom and superb writing from the soul..
Stephen Scott - April 8, 2018 12:55 pm
I look forward to your column every day and hope some day to meet you. We have a lot in common. I hope it happens.
Kristine D Schmelter - April 8, 2018 4:53 pm
Love you right back Sean!!
Joan - April 8, 2018 9:22 pm
I love you too!! And I wil pass it on. Because you said so!
Susan Hammett Poole - April 9, 2018 11:43 am
Sean, I truly hope you know deep in your heart how profoundly your words touch our hearts EVERY day. Thank you for loving us. I feel it and I love you back. I really do.
Barbara Cottles - April 9, 2018 4:57 pm
I love that you have a talent to remind others that even little acts of kindness can change a persons life and thus change the world. You touch hearts and make them beat faster and happier.
Susan in Wausau - April 9, 2018 6:36 pm
You made me cry, in a good way. I’m so glad you lift folks up with your writing.
Such a refreshing change from the news headlines.
Betty - April 12, 2018 12:30 pm
Back at you!! From Snead, Alabama.
Pam - April 14, 2018 1:51 pm
Thanks for the smile you just gave me
I WILL pass it on
Gaylia - June 15, 2018 7:37 am
Sean, you always say something that just makes my day. If I am down you lift me up and I love you too. Thanks.
Linda Walton - June 15, 2018 10:47 am
You never know when a single act of kindness will change a life – pass it on. Love to you and your family!!
Kathy Grey - June 15, 2018 11:32 am
Nothing better than starting my day with an “I love you.” Thank you, Sean. Love you back. ?
Bellinda Davis - June 15, 2018 12:27 pm
Sean, I have no idea if you personally read all these comments, but, if you do, I just want to share with you that my devotional reading this morning was in Jeremiah where God told Israel that He loved them with an everlasting love. After my devotion, I read this post. Not a coincidence. See the theme? It’s love. Love is a mighty thing. It is a powerful thing. And it will never die. I’m glad you found it through people who passed it on to you. And thank you for passing it on too.