You’re going to make it.
I know you don’t feel great right now. I know you’re having a crappy day. A crappy month. A crappy decade. I know this isn’t your best life.
I know your whole world is falling apart. I know your father is dying of pancreatic cancer. I know your daughter just passed away from a drug overdose. I get it.
Your grandchild has life threatening bone cancer. Your car was repossessed last night. Your dog died. You’re ill.
Your husband cheated on you with a younger woman. Your dad has a neurological disease. Your mother passed away. Your dad died by suicide. You are going blind.
You have breast cancer. You’ve lost everything. You’re a young man who was convicted by a jury of your peers, and now you’re probably going to jail. You are an alcoholic, and you don’t know what to do about it.
You’re scared. You don’t sleep. You don’t eat. The doctor is suggesting chemo.
At night, sometimes, you lie there wondering what the point is. Why keep living? Why live a life that’s nothing but pain? You’re starting to lose steam. You’re starting to get tired.
I don’t blame you. But—and I want you to listen to me closely here—you are going to make it.
I actually believe this. Wholeheartedly. In fact, I would bet a million dollars on it.
Sadly, I don’t have a million bucks because I am an English major. So—let just me empty my wallet here—I will happily bet $11 cash that you are going to be okay.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“This schmuck doesn’t even know me. How the heck can he know whether I’ll be okay? He’s just writing a bunch of hyper-emotional B.S. He doesn’t know my life.”
And you know what? You’re absolutely right, to be perfectly frank. For starters, I DON’T know anything, so how can I know whether you’ll be okay? Secondly, I have my degree in hyper-emotional B.S.
Still, here’s what I DO know.
I know pain. I know pain intimately. In fact, pain and I are old friends. And I know sorrow. Sorrow and I grew up together; we’re tight. Sorrow and I are just like this. I know failure. Failure has been my constant companion. If you name it, I have failed at it. But my story doesn’t matter. Right now, we’re talking about you.
A long time ago, when I started writing for newspapers, I used to visit random nursing homes to find stories. I love collecting stories about olden days, the Great Depression, or hard times.
Once, I met an old woman in Lower Alabama, she was 100 years old. She spent her days in the game room playing cards with anyone who dared to challenge her, drinking Miller Lite for medicinal purposes.
One summer day, I asked if I could interview this woman. She replied, “Only if you play Rummy and drink beer.”
We were a match made in Heaven.
So we played cards. The Miller was cold enough to crack my molars. And she talked.
The arthritis made it hard to shuffle. And age made her words difficult to understand. But she said something I’ll never forget.
“When I was a little girl,” she said, “all I ever wanted was for Mama to hold me and tell me I was going to be okay. That’s all anyone wants. To know you’re going to be okay. The secret to life is believing that.
“Even now, at my age, I replay my mama’s voice, telling me it’s all going to be okay, because I need to know this.”
And I started to weep. Because at the time, my life had been anything but okay. Mine has been a life riddled with suicide, death, heartbreak and failure.
This ancient woman wheeled her chair to me and placed her thin, frail arms around me as I sobbed. She smelled like a brewery. “It’s gonna be okay,” she said.
There I was. In a nursing home. I was supposed to be interviewing an old woman for a local paper. Instead I was bawling in her arms.
So please listen to me. Do not let go. Do not give up. Do not pull the trigger. Don’t quit trying. Don’t give in. And someday, when you’re through all this crap you’re going through, buy me a Miller Lite. And we’ll swap stories.
Kip - February 24, 2023 7:13 am
And now I’m bawling. I needed those words today Sean. Thank you
Bedouin Dennison - February 24, 2023 7:54 am
PMc - February 24, 2023 7:56 am
Amen Sean I needed this and right back to you. Thank you!
Peace and Love from Birmingham🙏💓
JKate - February 24, 2023 8:20 am
It is 2:17 a.m., and oh, how I needed to hear those comforting words my mother always said to me. Thank you, Sean. Thank you.
Janette - February 24, 2023 8:34 am
“It’s gonna be okay” is a phrase that wraps around us just like Mama’s arms, thanks to your wonderful writing!
Dwight Smith - February 24, 2023 9:57 am
The last three years have been the worst years of my life. Diabetes, bone infection , amputation daily infusion for months. But I am healed and healthy after loosing 60 pounds, a big toe and the infection. If I die today, I will die happy. Thank you for your great stories
Renee Welton - February 24, 2023 10:48 am
Ed’s Art Net - February 24, 2023 11:25 am
Good message Sean. The most important part is YOU are going to be okay. We all are at some point.
Linda Hubbard - February 24, 2023 11:35 am
Jane Norman - February 24, 2023 11:36 am
Wow!!! You hit it out of the ball park with this one!!! Thank you for putting “your arms” around all of us and telling us all that it is going to be okay. It will be as I have walked through the valley of death and have risen above it to see the entire beautiful landscape. We can’t see the entire picture until we trudge up the mountain and look over our shoulder at where we have been. Without the valley of death with my dear husband who died in my arms over 3 years ago and the dark days that followed, I would not know the sweet love of second romances with a widower. I would not be loving an additional 5 adult children who have tragically lost their beloved mother. I would not know the hugs of three additional grandchildren who are missing their grandma who was such an important part of their lives. I always say that our lives can change in a second with a phone call, piece of mail, or a meeting of a person. Just wait to see what happens and it will always get better. Love to you & Jamie from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Liz - February 24, 2023 11:39 am
Thank you, great column – eerie how sometimes your columns appear at JUST the right time. ❤️
Dolores - February 24, 2023 11:43 am
Rory and Joey Feek were a successful husband and wife country music duo. Shortly after giving birth to their daughter, Joey discovered she had cancer in female regions. She ended up in one of the more holistic cancer treatment centers after traditional treatments held no promise.
Joey had a strong Christian faith, the kind I aspire to. When interviewed she said another patient asked her how she could be joyful in spite of her diagnosis. Young, beautiful, successful and a new Mom, it was heartbreaking . I’ll never forget what Joey said, ‘whatever happens either way, I win’
That’s a peace beyond understanding, knowing everything is going to be alright. Either way.
Katy - February 24, 2023 12:50 pm
Dolores, now that’s the Truth that people need to hear!💕🙏🥳
suzi - February 24, 2023 11:44 am
Thank you 🙏🏼
Jim Saunders - February 24, 2023 11:52 am
Lisa - February 24, 2023 11:54 am
Sean, this reads as if you are needing these words right now so here ya go: Please. Don’t give up. It’s gonna be ok. Hang in there. Keep breathing. You are loved and needed and appreciated. Keep going and especially, keep writing!
Dorothy - February 24, 2023 12:01 pm
Thank you Sean. And happy Friday morning. Have a blessed day ! You are our sunshine. See what I did there ???
stephensauer1gmailcom - February 24, 2023 12:21 pm
Thank you, Sean. Never, ever give up.
Carla Walrath - February 24, 2023 12:23 pm
I absolutely love how you care about others.
I don’t know what prompted this column on this day,
But Sean? It’s gonna be okay. Hugs.
Sue Rhodus - February 24, 2023 12:29 pm
We know these words of wisdom, some days it is hard to pull them to the fore front of our minds. That is the day that we need to hear them from someone like you. We never know what someone is feeling on the inside. Be the envourager.
KATY@7:46 am - February 24, 2023 12:46 pm
Preach it, Mr. Sean! 🙏🥳Like my pastor reminded us, “It’s all going to be ok when you trust in Jesus Christ, The Divine Mercy, who has the power to rescue you from your misery, who has won the victory for you through his suffering and death on the cross, and who rose from the dead and lives forevermore to conquer sin and death and misery for you and for me until He comes again !💕
Elizabeth LeDuc - February 24, 2023 12:48 pm
Timely words. Thank you, Sean.
thewordman629 - February 24, 2023 1:16 pm
Sean, we are muy simpatico. A feisty lady in a bed and breakfast in Darien, Georgia told me about you the other weekend. She said you were the inheritor of The Lewis Grizzard Mantle (a lofty and sacred standard), so I thought I’d give you a read. You do hit the nail on the head.
To the similarities, you and I are both Southern boys, grew up Southern Baptist, and are English majors. We’re about three decades apart, but that’s pretty irrelevant because a lot of things in the the South—and in life—don’t change much. Thanks for reminding me of the good things.
mccutchen52 - February 24, 2023 1:17 pm
Thanks “again” Sean. Sometimes the simplest is the best.
Charles Farrell - February 24, 2023 1:20 pm
Mostly good days overshadowing bad. Yesterday was a very good one. Bobby was there smiling and laughing maybe even pissing pants watching you hold those lung shattering notes. Vestavia great day thanking you. C
Patricia McAllister - February 24, 2023 1:28 pm
Thank you Sean, I start every morning with you and my coffee. Makes for a great day!
Maggie Priestaf - February 24, 2023 1:59 pm
Despair is an awful thing…
Krista - February 24, 2023 4:16 pm
If it’s chasing you, Maggie, hang in there.
ROBERT STORCK - February 24, 2023 2:00 pm
The last 15 months have been a medical disaster for me. I am a gym rat that has been prevented from working out the way I was accustomed to. The results of limit activity are evident. And presently I have no idea when or possibly if I will ever be able to return to my former activities which I love. That said when i look around and see what others endure I can only consider myself blessed. Yes that is hard. Your words today hit home. Maybe a beer someday.
Maggie Rowe - February 24, 2023 2:08 pm
I just sent your opening paragraph to a woman in Connecticut named Lucinda. She reads you every day but hadn’t gotten to you yet because she got devastating news last night. This is the same Lucinda who asked a red haired guy with a lot of talent and a cute wife to tell stories at the Mark Twain museum last week. That same one. And your post today was for her, my best friend. Bless you bless you bless you.
David Britnell - February 24, 2023 2:15 pm
Love you Sean. You’re gonna be okay! I think we are all bawling a little now. LOL
Helen De Prima - February 24, 2023 2:21 pm
You are an incredible gift to so many!
Patricia Gibson - February 24, 2023 2:22 pm
Thank you, Sean❤️
Debbie Lynn - February 24, 2023 2:25 pm
You brought me to tears this morning while I was reading your article. You’re a very good writer!
Cathy Meintjes - February 24, 2023 2:36 pm
Thank you!! Thank you!!
cdlaforest - February 24, 2023 2:46 pm
It’s going to be ok… love it.
Cathy M - February 24, 2023 2:58 pm
Some days I have to ask myself what life would be like without you. I remember the time I met you and Jaime at St. Stephens Episcopal church. I felt drawn to read your columns and it is now part of my day , every day. Life is hard but you help countless people deal with their hardships. God is using you in a big way. I pray that you feel the love
Dennis - February 24, 2023 4:38 pm
I want to know what a Southern Baptist was doing at an Episcopal church. Not asking for directions, I hope. (wink)
Johnson Small III - February 24, 2023 3:10 pm
Well, that was plum amazing.
EPGregg - February 24, 2023 3:10 pm
Could we make that a Michelob Ultra?
Rene Youell - February 24, 2023 3:17 pm
Sean, the true beauty of your writing is that you hit home. You tell us things we need to hear and need to know. Thank you! And Sean, it will be okay! Sending you a virtual hug from a grandma who knows the pain of life.
Donna - February 24, 2023 3:19 pm
Okay, then—an offer you can’t refuse. Miller Lite or any other beer you desire. Crab cakes. A pier where we can sit, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. We tell stories to one another. Bring Jaime because she’ll make it even more beautiful. And the dogs. I need a hug badly and Marigold is the one. Anytime you want, but come!
Cheryl Yarborough - February 24, 2023 3:21 pm
Great advice for everyone, as always a great story.
Peggy M. Windham - February 24, 2023 3:24 pm
I’d give anything to hear my mother say it’s going to be okay and hug me one more time! 😢
Priscilla Rodgers - February 24, 2023 3:27 pm
Oh Sean, you are so right. And to all those people, yes, bad things happen but hold on, give it a few minutes and the good will come. And you know there’s Someone who loves you so much, you’re not alone.
Nan Wilson - February 24, 2023 3:32 pm
I needed that, thanks
Cynthia - February 24, 2023 3:40 pm
Oh my heart!
Lily - February 24, 2023 3:40 pm
Very, very helpful
Steve Mehaffey - February 24, 2023 3:43 pm
You and Andy Andrews in the same morning! Boy “it’s gonna be ok!”
Stacey Wallace - February 24, 2023 3:45 pm
Sean, you made me cry. I lost my sweet Mama last May 19. I so wish she could hug me as that sweet old lady did for you. But it’s going to be okay. One day Mama will hug me in Heaven. Love you.
Nancy Colin - February 24, 2023 3:48 pm
I do the same thing. Can still hear my mother saying it will be ok. Great comfort. Thank you for your remarkable writing.
Bill woodward - February 24, 2023 3:50 pm
Kemie Brown-Vansant - February 24, 2023 4:06 pm
Boy, did I need this today…..and every day. My husband died of metastatic colon cancer, I had breast cancer, both of my parents died and my grown children haven’t spoken to each other in over six years. This mama’s heart is broken. But, you are right. It’s all going to be okay. I just hope and pray I live to see it. ❤️
Norma Brunson - February 24, 2023 4:11 pm
I needed this. Thank you. I went for a walk today and told God I was tired. I didn’t want to do this anymore – “this” being taking care of my father with dementia. I’ve been living withy parents for almost 2 years now. Only getting to spend the night in my own bed, in my own house for one night a month. Only spending 4 hours there on Saturdays. Among my own things… My momma was on Hospice for 1 1/2 years. I’m so grateful for the time I had with her. It was hard though. I missed being able to jump up and go somewhere. I watched all my friends taking trips, vacations, going to events, restaurants… It has been hard. But I loved my momma so much. And she lived to see her 93rd birthday and she was married to my dad for 75 years. When the Lord took her it was relatively fast. It was like Ding! Ding! Times up! And I was trying to grasp at fleeting moments flying through my hands. Now I’m left with my Daddy. He has Alzheimer’s and we both grieve mom. I wish he were one of those pleasant little senile elderly folk. But he can be grouchy. And sometimes down right hateful. And then he’s pitiful, and fragile. So I told God I was tired. I’m ready to go to my house. My bed, my porch, my yard, my flowers. But that’s not going to happen any time soon. So yes, I needed this today. God responded by sending me some love from my Mom. A beautiful butterfly went fluttering by. The Lord said, “your momma is enjoying Heaven right now. She has a well deserved rest going on.” “Let not your heart be troubled.” “You will be fine.”
Martha Williamson - February 24, 2023 4:32 pm
Nice, Sean, really really nice. And realistic. And convincing. I hope you get all the positive reaction this article deserves.
Dennis - February 24, 2023 4:35 pm
Around a million people will comment today that this column really touched them, it was your best ever, and how you a counter to (mythical) male toxicity. Put me down as 1,000,001. Great stuff, Sean.
Elizabeth Adams - February 24, 2023 4:38 pm
I needed to hear this today, beautiful writing, beautiful, comforting words. Thank you. 💖
Peggy - February 24, 2023 5:05 pm
You are such a gifted writer 😊
Joan Busby - February 24, 2023 5:13 pm
Great pick me up for today – and I needed one. THANK YOU! I read you every day. Bless you and Jamie.
Anne-Lise - February 24, 2023 5:18 pm
We all have crosses to bear and it is faith in God, and you, Sean, and other good souls that make healing, and even thriving, possible. Thank God for you, Sean, and all your life experiences that have shaped you, a blessing to us all. As I told you in Hartford, you make every day better. Laughing and singing along with you, then getting my neck hugged, and catching a glimpse of beautiful Jamie, all in the presence of the spirit of my other favorite author, made it my BEST ever Valentine’s Day!! With Gratitude, Hugs and warmest wishes from your “Only Bronx-Friend” ❤️
Karla Meier - February 24, 2023 5:23 pm
This needs to shouted from the rooftops, broadcast on every radio and tv station!! Printed on a flyer and handed out at the grocery store and gas station!!
Thank you for writing this – today I had to remove my 30 year old son from my life due to his life choices. I hope I can still have a relationship with my three grandbabies. I hope he reads this and gets back on track. God Bless you Sean!!
Susie - February 25, 2023 4:08 pm
Karla, please do not feel the guilt of cutting your son off. You did what you had to do. Good for you!!
sjhl7 - February 24, 2023 5:30 pm
And the tears flow … but God is good. He may not stop the pain but he holds you as you sob and beg Him to help you get through this time in your life. He will comfort you if you let Him.
Pat E Prater - February 24, 2023 5:40 pm
Thank you thank you Sean for this morning’s topic “Okayness”! I truly needed to hear these words today.
Sandra - February 24, 2023 5:53 pm
Gayle Wilson - February 24, 2023 6:21 pm
Sean, the old woman and you are right. Sometimes in the valleys it definitely does not feel that way, but there is One who is even in those valleys if we will just trust – it’s going to be okay – and know there is Someone who knows that even more than Sean. Well, Sean knows a whole lot more than what he gives himself credit for, but not as much as Jesus.
I will share you words of wisdom with my daughter this weekend, who is going through a very difficult situation right now. And I will tell her that Sean said so.
Steve Garrett - February 24, 2023 6:25 pm
I look so forward to your post each day… whether smiling, laughing, crying or just summoning memories… I anticipate a wonderful emotional encounter with you ☺️ Thank you.
Al - February 24, 2023 6:49 pm
As I have mentioned before, I volunteer at a special needs ministry and have done so for 10 years. These adults have taught me so much about life. The things we take for granted!! I see joy, happiness and genuine kindness every day. Many are in wheelchairs, cannot talk, cannot walk, cannot lift their arms or use their hands. In spite of their individual circumstances, I believe that they are and will be ok. Don’t really know if they consider their circumstances a burden but if they do, it doesn’t stop them from sharing their joy and happiness. Not to mention an abundance of Hugs. I am so Blessed to have each one of them in my life.
pattymack43 - February 24, 2023 7:46 pm
Love this! Because it’s true!! We all are going to be OK!! Blessings!!
Charlotte - February 24, 2023 8:30 pm
I know you probably don’t have time to read much less respond to the comments you receive but I wanted to say something! Sometimes God sends the words of your column expressly for you & then other times it’s to encourage others…..just a little reminder that you matter to lots of us! Hugs 🤗
Patricia Taylor - February 24, 2023 9:05 pm
Another good story…you have been there, done that, and know what to say. You can’t beat the truth. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
Suellen Heinrich - February 24, 2023 10:13 pm
Still making me cry!
George Robert Leach - February 24, 2023 11:08 pm
Linda Moon - February 24, 2023 11:20 pm
I’ve had a crapi-ish day. Not fully crappy, just ishsy. But I felt less crapish as I continued to read. You see, your life has been wonderful for me, Sean Dietrich, yet I wept a little for you and others. You can bawl in my arms anytime you need to. And one day I’d like to buy you a Texan family preacher’s wife’s favorite beer: Shiner Bock!
Elizabeth - February 25, 2023 2:38 am
Bob E - February 25, 2023 5:43 am
Personally I’ve discovered (rather late in life) that prayer works.
Give it a try.
Keep writing the good stuff!
Gordon Walden - February 25, 2023 10:20 am
One of you best!
Prisi Selfridge - February 25, 2023 4:47 pm
Cannot even convey in words how very much I needed this today. Thanks Sean
Deborah Warner - February 25, 2023 11:01 pm
Thanks for the reminder, needed to hear it today.
Cheryl - February 26, 2023 7:30 pm
Chasity Davis Ritter - February 26, 2023 8:37 pm
I would love to buy you a Miller lite and swap stories. And try some of Jamie’s pound cake or cornbread or cat head biscuits and kiss Marigold and get slobbered on by Otis. I could add those things to my bucket list in a heart beat.
Nancy Grinstead - February 27, 2023 5:39 pm
OMG this hits home hard..
Lisa - March 1, 2023 8:54 pm
I think this was one of your best columns. I needed to hear that everything is going to be ok pretty badly. Yesterday was my birthday, and I can’t believe how fast my life is passing. Thank you for caring,