Reluctant Angel

This is his story.

Bryan was walking along the Arkansas highway shoulder with only the moon to guide him. He had a backpack slung over his shoulder. It was cold. Blisteringly cold.

He was a kid, 23 years young. This was not a friendly evening, weather-wise. Tonight it was colder than a brass toilet seat in Nova Scotia. And it was sleeting.

He had a long way to go before he hit the nearest town. He was wet. His feet hurt. His back hurt. His whole mind hurt.

His family was a downright mess, and his homelife was a wreck. He had decided, tonight on this walk, that he was going to end it all. He didn’t have the details worked out, but he’d made up his mind nonetheless.

A pickup truck practically materialized out of nowhere. The headlights were blinding. The vehicle pulled over, crunching on gravel.

Inside was an older woman. The heater was blaring.

“Get in,” said the lady.

And she didn’t say it as a question.

Bryan piled into the bench seat. The heat felt good on his wet body. They shook hands and swapped names.

“Where you headin’?” she said.

Her hair was gray and messy, like it hadn’t been combed since the Crimean War. Her eyes were wild.

“Don’t know,” said Bryan. “I’ll go anywhere you’re going.”

She just looked at him.

“Are you an angel?” she said.

He laughed. “What?”

“Tell me the truth.”

He wasn’t sure if this old woman was pulling his leg.

“I’m no angel,” he said.

She stared at him like she was boring a hole through limestone.

“I can take you as far as Little Rock,” she said. “That’s where I’m going, I’m meeting my granddaughter tonight.”

“Little Rock would be great.”

In a few moments, they were careening down the highway. Bryan noticed the woman kept staring at him with an odd look on her face.

The interior of her truck was plastered in religious paraphernalia. The kind of devout garb that old people are known for in certain parts of the Bible Belt.

A Jesus air freshener. A dashboard compass that said, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life.” A crucifix gear shifter.

The old woman broke the silence first.

“My granddaughter’s in labor. She’s having her baby as we speak.”


“Yep. You’re looking at an honest-to-goodness great-grandmother.”


She stared again. Longer this time. “Did God send you?”

This gal was stone-cold nuts.

“Nobody sent me,” he said.

“Then what were you doing on the side of the highway in the middle of the night?”

He looked out the window.

“It’s complicated,” he said.

“Maybe you’re one of God’s messengers, not a full blown angel. Are you a messenger?”


During their long drive, the lady received a phone call. It was her granddaughter. There were complications with the birth.

After the truck squealed into the hospital parking lot, the woman rushed into the maternity ward while Bryan changed out of his dripping clothes in the bathroom.

Once he was dressed he went to find the old woman to say goodbye, and to give her gas money for her trouble. But when he found her in the waiting room of the maternity wing, she was weeping uncontrollably.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

“The doctors,” she said, “they don’t know if my great-grandson is going to live. They say he might die.”

Bryan could think of nothing else to do. So he held the frail old woman as she wept into his chest. And he stayed with her that evening. The two of them survived on cheap coffee and Funyuns.

Four hours later, a doctor came into the waiting room. The doc gave the old woman good news. Her great-grandbaby would live.

The old woman shot to her feet. She grabbed the young vagrant by the arm and together they went into the hospital room to see the child.

No sooner had Great-Granny entered the room than she presented the infant to the young man.

At first he declined to hold the child, but the old lady was insistent.

He took the newborn into his arms. He pressed the baby against his chest and felt the warmth of its little body. He smelled the scent of its flawless skin. He touched its smooth features.

“We’re naming him after his guardian angel,” the old woman announced. “His name will be Bryan.”

“I don’t care who you are,” said Bryan in an email he sent to me today. “I believe we are all someone’s angel. And that’s a good enough reason to keep living.”


  1. Christian Vowell - March 25, 2022 9:36 am

    Amen, Bryan.

  2. Leigh Amiot - March 25, 2022 9:56 am

    It sounds as if they were each other’s angel during intersecting crises.

    • Kristi - March 29, 2022 7:02 am

      I agree 🙏❤

  3. Joy Jacobs - March 25, 2022 9:58 am

    Sweet ❤️

  4. Steve McCaleb - March 25, 2022 10:09 am

    Amen indeed. About now would be good time to remember Tolkien’s wisdom…”all those who wander are not lost”. Ain’t it the truth Lord…ain’t it the truth ?

  5. Naomi Smith - March 25, 2022 10:29 am

    Thank you for sharing that story. Thank God for Great Grandmothers. Thank God for sometime Angels named Bryan. We are all intertwined in some way and we all have a part to play in this world. We can’t give up on life or we miss our chances to be a blessing to someone else. As someone with a brother who left here prematurely, I know what a heartache it is to those left behind. We always face that question, What could I have done, that I didn’t do?

  6. suzi - March 25, 2022 11:00 am

    Bless you Bryan and Sean for sharing

    Just for today Jesus, let me be someone’s angel

  7. Anne Arthur - March 25, 2022 11:02 am

    Amen to that. God works in mysterious ways.

  8. Lynn S. - March 25, 2022 11:09 am

    I just prayed earlier this morning that I would be sensitive to the ways the Lord needed to use me today. Thank you for writing this validating story.

  9. Richard Baker - March 25, 2022 12:02 pm


  10. Nancy Wright - March 25, 2022 12:06 pm


  11. Pete Blackk - March 25, 2022 12:20 pm

    Great story! Love your angel stories! They are some of your best. Hope you’ll publish a book of angel stories one day.

  12. Jan - March 25, 2022 12:36 pm

    Beautiful! God is so good. He can use anyone … even a sinner like me! Thank you, Sean. Thank you, Bryan! Thank you, Lord!

  13. Teresa Blankenship - March 25, 2022 12:46 pm

    Well said❤️

  14. Pat Deas - March 25, 2022 1:06 pm

    As one of your daily readers I truly believe you are one of Gods guardian angels! You will never know how many people you have touched or will touch in a positive way. How you come up with your stories/experiences and embellished events are simply amazing. You take your readers along with you on your journey of life in such a meaningful and visual way it’s astonishing .

  15. Rich - March 25, 2022 1:29 pm

    Thanks, Sean, for your stories. And, as I have said before, Lewis Grizzard is smiling down on you.

  16. Susan - March 25, 2022 1:54 pm

    Thank you. I think EVERYONE needs to read (hear) this.

  17. AlaRedClayGirl - March 25, 2022 2:06 pm

    Nothing is by chance….

  18. Tom Wallin - March 25, 2022 2:21 pm

    Love this story. Amen.

  19. Connie Shepherd - March 25, 2022 3:04 pm


  20. oldandblessed - March 25, 2022 3:26 pm

    Love this story! Love to read something that happened in my hometown, Little Rock. Love to see the world encompasses more than Florida and Alabama. 😂

  21. Cynthia Russell - March 25, 2022 3:28 pm


  22. Randall Kemp - March 25, 2022 3:30 pm

    Sean, You are an amazing teller of story’s, I’m sure its a gift God has given you so that so many of us can emotionally feel what you write. Thank you for writing for us.

  23. Paula - March 25, 2022 3:32 pm

    I was feeling pretty low hopeless myself this morning it was a great read. Thanks.

  24. David Thompson - March 25, 2022 4:09 pm

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a 10x fold improvement in your already amazing writing skills since your recent zip code change? RT Brother.

  25. Linda Moon - March 25, 2022 5:48 pm

    Ending it all. I hate those words. But I sure love Bryan’s words he emailed to you. There are Angels among us…just pay attention, you’ll find them. I found them in this here email post from Sean of the South, and they told me Sean is one of them. Yes, David, I’ve noticed a difference, but since one can’t improve perfection maybe it’s just because of Sean being here in the real South. It’s a Southern thing…those of us who’ve been here a long time know what it is.

  26. Leeis - March 25, 2022 6:45 pm

    I think angels are a different ilk from humans. But I do believe God intends us to love and care for each other . . . everybody, everywhere, all the time. Great story!

  27. MAM - March 25, 2022 8:11 pm

    Leaky eyes here. A wonderful story, but all your stories are always well told. Sean, you have a true God-given talent that you share with all of us on this page and more you don’t hear from. And you so cleverly remind us about what IS important. Thank you everyday, Sean.

  28. Albert Nigh - March 25, 2022 9:12 pm

    My son’s name is Bryan and we have two grandchildren who were adopted at birth! We say that they were gifts from God!

  29. Patricia Gibson - March 25, 2022 11:16 pm

    Amen Amen Amen

  30. Debbie - March 26, 2022 11:36 am

    What a beautiful story. We never know the impact we have on another soul.

  31. Bonnie - March 26, 2022 3:17 pm


  32. Susan W Fitch - March 26, 2022 9:24 pm

    Amazing Grace!!!!

  33. Dianne - March 29, 2022 3:02 am

    Angels are among us every day. Sometimes we recognize them, and other times we miss wonderful opportunities by missing their visits. Bryan was blessed by his angel.

  34. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - March 29, 2022 4:28 am

  35. Judy Riley - March 29, 2022 5:10 pm

    All I can say is…..WOW!!!!

  36. Connie - March 29, 2022 5:35 pm


  37. B. Hester - March 29, 2022 11:04 pm

    My favorite of all your writing that I have read. Excellent!

  38. KATY 11:21 am - March 30, 2022 3:21 pm


  39. Kathy Cross - April 22, 2022 2:11 pm

    Beautiful story and lesson Sean


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