I was sitting here thinking about you. Which is kind of weird because I don’t know you. But I still consider us friends.
See, when I write, sometimes I envision you reading this. Whoever you are. I can almost see you sitting in your PJs, or your work clothes, or dressed in a gorilla suit.
Maybe you’re sipping your morning coffee, or hot tea, or an ice cold Ensure. Or maybe you’re stopped at a redlight, reading this on your phone, holding up miles of traffic. In which case, you’d better put your phone down because right now everyone wants to harm you.
Over the years I have written some off-the-wall things to you. I once wrote an entire column/blog/whatever-you-call-it about eyebrow hair. Another time I wrote a column where, as a joke, I quoted God. Almost everyone got the joke, but a select few didn’t. These are a select few religious people who might benefit from a little Metamucil in their diets.
But after I quoted God I got some hate mail from these people who obviously have incredible amounts of free time because they went into lengthy detail about what was going to happen to my eternal butt. One guy told me I was going to rot in hell for putting words into God’s mouth.
Normally this kind of thing doesn’t bug me too bad. But getting more than a few hate messages at once can really put you in the dumps. Which is what happened.
But the tides turned. A Catholic gentleman from Maine sent me a bottle of Knob Creek bourbon in the mail. There was a card attached.
It read: “I sure love you. Sincerely, God.”
Somebody I’ve never met guessed that I was having a bad week and took the time to send me the Catholic sacrament of choice, full-proof alcohol. The thing is, I don’t even like bourbon, but it made my whole year. The bottle sits unopened on my pantry shelf because I don’t ever want to forget that guy.
Large swatches of my life have been spent in the dumps. My childhood especially. I don’t think I had clinical depression, but after losing a parent I was probably pretty close to it. There’s no getting away from sadness when it hits you. You don’t simply shirk the blues. You have to ride it like a bucking mule.
I sincerely hope you never feel that way. Not that there’s anything I could do about it if you do. Though, believe me, if there were something I could do, I would. Even if it involved wearing a gorilla suit or force feeding you Metamucil.
Because I remember how it feels. You could say I was sad from my eleventh birthday all the way into my mid-twenties. It wasn’t crippling sadness. I still fake-smiled at the appropriate times. I was a friendly guy. But every single recollection from these decades has gray clouds in it. I cannot recall many sunny days.
I am not speaking figuratively here. I mean that I remember the actual sky as being cloudy. It’s as though my brain replaced all sunny skies with gray ones. Maybe that’s why I write about eyebrow hair. Maybe that’s why I tell jokes where God has a bit of fictional dialogue. Maybe that’s why I try too hard to be cheerful sometimes.
Before the pandemic, a kid recognized me in the grocery store. He was with his grandfather when he called my name. He told me he’d read my book. He seemed downright excited to finally put a face with the name.
Then he told me some of his story. The boy’s father died from pancreatic cancer. It was sudden. His father went fast. The kid said that I sort of reminded him of his dad since his dad used to play guitar like I do, and tell corny jokes. He actually used the word “corny.”
Then without warning the kid gave me a hug. A big one. His grandfather joined the embrace. There we were, three of us holding each other right there in public.
I could see the kid’s granddaddy crying. But the old man didn’t want his grandson to see this, so he wiped his face with his sleeve and sniffed a few times. Because being strong is a full-time job.
I said to the kid, “So what else can you tell me about your father?”
The kid looked at his shoes. “Um, well, I visit him every day.”
The boy had reddish hair. The way I did when my old man died. The child had that same ruddy complexion I have. I have always had splotchy red cheeks. This is why I first grew a beard, to hide my pitiful face.
After we said goodbye, the boy walked away with his grandfather. He yelled one last time, “Bye, Mister Sean!”
I stayed up for most of that night in my hotel room, reading a book while my wife slept. But I couldn’t concentrate. So I just stared at the ceiling. Because something kept going through my mind. And it was you.
You’re the person I’m thinking about as I write this. I don’t know why. And I don’t know what you’re feeling right now. So I won’t drag this out any further, you’re probably bored stiff if you’ve read this far. I’ll just cut to the chase:
“I sure love you.”
Janet Gray - February 17, 2020 6:44 am
Well said Sean. It is 2am and I can’t sleep either. Just got the new writing from you. Thank you for thinking about me. Have a great day.
Lisa Pelham - February 17, 2020 6:58 am
Lucky for us that Jesus isn’t going to be asking commenters’ opinions on who should be going to heaven. I don’t think they will be sitting at his right or helping with the pearl gates as some seem to think. Thank you for sharing your stories, your kindness, and making hardships more tolerable.
Tammy S. - February 17, 2020 9:13 am
As always, impeccable timing! Thank you for the reminder: God loves us and He gave you a gift with words!!! We love you too and thanks Mister Sean!!
Harriet White - Atlanta - February 17, 2020 9:37 am
I love that. Now I’m going to search the one you wrote about God. It sounds perfect.
Kitty Preziosi - February 17, 2020 10:41 am
What an amazing way to start my day. Thank you!
oldlibrariansshelf - February 17, 2020 11:44 am
If folks don’t realize that God has a sense of humor they should try standing naked in front of a mirror!
Melissa Armstrong - February 17, 2020 11:51 am
Thank you, Sean. God loves you, too. ♥️
Nell Thomas - February 17, 2020 11:52 am
Thank you, Sean. My phone had a special ding to it this Am. I knew it was from you. So I checked it immediately. Glad I did. A great way to start the day.
Michele - February 17, 2020 12:17 pm
Sean, I gobble up your words every morning even before coffee, and that’s saying something because I can’t do much of anything before coffee. Thank you for being so relatable, so honest and genuine. I’m so fortunate I stumbled on to when I did.
Ann - February 17, 2020 12:24 pm
Good morning….we came home from a very sad trip some years ago and a friend ( or someone 😉) put a large nite on our desk…
“ Good morning, I will be handling your problems today, God”
We see this every day….it helps! Your column/ blog hits all parts of family..and the heart in sorrow, joy and hope…I see our children in different blogs….I feel so happy and giggly in many …warm all over…and sad all over for others….keep on keeping on and I really don’t want to go there about eyebrows…mine are weird!
….let your problems be handled..🥰
Sharon Brock - February 17, 2020 12:26 pm
I love you right back. Not GOD, just me.
Ruthe Short - February 17, 2020 12:34 pm
Thank you with blessings of good will and mercies to come to you and yours. It is hard to expose your true thoughts. Thank you for humbly caring about us, your readers. Yes, you are loved, and we need to hug and tell others that we love them as we have the opportunity. I saw a lot of me in this..happy facade/sadness inside.
Shanda K Lonkhurst - February 17, 2020 12:35 pm
I am an Alabamian who has lived overseas since the early 90’s teaching for the DOD. A few weeks ago we had to move my mother from assisted living into a nursing home. The first one we tried was nothing short of awful! Unkind, overworked nurses and staff (which could account for the unkindness). After their shortcomings nearly cost my mother her life, we got a second chance to move her and chose Hanceville nursing home. To say we have been thrilled with her care would be an understatement. Two days after we moved her there, one of my friends posted your short piece called “The Home”. It moved me to tears! After reading that, I found your website and have thoroughly enjoyed your pieces! It’s a little piece of home for me! Thank you, Sean!!!
RussellMR - February 17, 2020 12:36 pm
I’m convinced God has a sense of humor.. .and He passed on some of it to you. Being ‘religious ‘ and walking daily with God are two very different things. Thanks for the reminder this morning that He loves me ( ‘cause God certainly uses others to show us His love) and thanks for showing His love to that hurting little boy. In my book, that is ‘true religion ‘. . . and come to think of it, that is in God’s book too.
Anne Arthur - February 17, 2020 12:45 pm
LOL. That is so true.
Anne Arthur - February 17, 2020 12:49 pm
I sort of needed to hear all of it this morning. Depression, painful memories, lovely stories about sweet redheaded boys, writing and reading, and God’s love. Can’t be more real than this. I love you for sure, Mister Sean.
Linda Clifton - February 17, 2020 12:50 pm
Love you to Sean! I created you & you are the best! Love ya! God!
Seymour LaVera - February 17, 2020 12:52 pm
Thank you, well said! 🤗
Stan Tomlin - February 17, 2020 1:00 pm
Love you’re down to earth writing! Wish I could share my childhood memories with you . Keep up the good work . By the way I love your bay .southeast alabama&southwest Georgia boy (72)
Jan - February 17, 2020 1:06 pm
Another home run! Your stories often leave me in tears, but they are good tears because they prove that I can feel others pain and joy through your writing. Thank you!
Jay - February 17, 2020 1:09 pm
From a guy who lost his mom at a young age due to similar circumstances as you, I can relate to those cloudy days. The experience leaves a person with much to deal with and for most requires some introspection to get a grasp on it. And, while we struggle with these emotions and feelings, they together with others, make us who we are. Appears you have handled yours pretty well. You are gifted, Sean, and from all I read, you appear to be a kind, caring and loving soul. One that my God would be proud of. Keep up the good work. Spread kindness. Lord knows we could all use a good dose of this, especially those that are judgmental. Jay, Jacksonville, FL (Hometown is in Big Bend of FL)
Terri - February 17, 2020 1:31 pm
Love you much Sean.
Chip - February 17, 2020 1:44 pm
Thank you God, for your unbelievable LOVE. And thank you Sean for sharing God’s love. Pastor Chip
Phil S. - February 17, 2020 1:49 pm
You are so right, my friend (is it OK for me to call you that?). God does love us ALL – unconditionally. That is so, so hard for us humans to understand because we are imperfect. How can He love us when we cheat on Him so much? Ah, well, best to just accept it and be happy.
P.S. I don’t really care for bourbon, either. Beer, however, is another matter. Ash Wednesday is coming up in another few days, and I always give up alcohol altogether during Lent. It’s not that bad at all, but why is my wife is getting the annual straight jacket out of the closet again?
Thanks to you, Sean, for loving us, too, even those who need Metamucil.
Nina Horn - February 17, 2020 1:57 pm
Great story and a good reminder to be LOVE to other people! All we need is Love, Love Love as John Lennon wrote my favorite song. Sean you are so talented and I appreciate your work, art of writing and painting, singing and playing many instruments.
All you many talents is a true gift, but especially your pen and voice!
Patricia A Schmaltz - February 17, 2020 2:06 pm
Love you back. There are many days when your notes are the highlight. (And I have a pretty good life too.) Just love hearing your thoughts. Thank you, Sean.
Allyson Marxsen - February 17, 2020 2:11 pm
Now you’ve done it. Made me tear up. Thanks for sharing. Love you too.
Lita - February 17, 2020 2:17 pm
Thank you, Sean. “I love you.” Sincerely, God and me.
Mary M Berryman - February 17, 2020 2:18 pm
Thank you, Sean, for thinking about me. I had a “decade of darkness” in my 50’s when so many family members died, my husband being the last. Everyone you meet bears some kind of burden. It helps to know that God’s love is always there.
BeyondLashleyLane - February 17, 2020 2:28 pm
Blogs usually make me tired. Yours doesn’t. Thank you. I hope today brings sun to your sky and the warmth of knowing your words are helpful.
Jewell Wray - February 17, 2020 2:29 pm
Thank you for sharing God’s love and your talent with us I look forward to your words everyday when do we get to read another of your books are you working on one God loves you and so do we❤️
Shelton A. - February 17, 2020 2:35 pm
I laughed so hard, I sneezed. Thank you, Mister Sean.
Lisa Snow - February 17, 2020 2:49 pm
You have no idea how much that was needed today and Sean I’m pretty sure He adores you!
Connie Havard Ryland - February 17, 2020 2:56 pm
Thank you. Love you back. Have a wonderful day full of all good things. You deserve it.
Mary MacDonald - February 17, 2020 3:11 pm
Thank you Sean. +May your skies be wonderful+ Cheers!
Karen C Dees - February 17, 2020 3:12 pm
Thanks, Sean. I needed that !
Darla OConnor - February 17, 2020 3:35 pm
Thank you Sean! Strangely, I think of you often too. I think of how the world needs more humans like you. I think of how you embody so much of what is good about the South. Without a doubt God loves you. In fact, I feel safe in saying you are one of the apples of His eye. I suspect hundreds of strangers love you too … I know I sure do!
Karen Templet Irby - February 17, 2020 3:47 pm
You are a precious soul and I love you dearly…
Another child of God (aka Karen Irby!)
Patsy - February 17, 2020 3:57 pm
Your heart is as big as all outdoors and as soft as cotton candy! You are loved….
Jennifer Stultz - February 17, 2020 4:03 pm
Loved you first!
Marge - February 17, 2020 4:15 pm
Thank you for your love, Sean! My “fake it” face is weary. You bring me words of love every day. Your eyes and heart see things children of God see and you write like I am guessing you talk. You are a constant joy each day. God is smiling and so am I.
johnallenberry - February 17, 2020 4:17 pm
How’d you know about the gorilla suit?
Ala Red Clay Girl - February 17, 2020 4:36 pm
God put us here together on this swirly blue marble to love one another and to share our joys, sorrows, hopes, and dreams. Thank you, Sean, for reminding us of this every day. You are definitely loved by all of us!
Margaret Cade - February 17, 2020 4:40 pm
You have such a big heart. ❤️
Afi - February 17, 2020 5:07 pm
This one is a keeper. I’ll be coming back to it. Thanks.
Nancy - February 17, 2020 5:09 pm
I suffer from depression. I take medication, but still have cloudy days. Your columns are a day of sunshine. Thank you, and God says keep up the good work. I love you.
Cassie Levy - February 17, 2020 5:13 pm
I read this sitting in the Bluegrass Cafe eating lunch with my 97-yr-old Mama. Aren’t we all glad that it is God and not some of our uptight fellow Christians who does the final judging. God bless you. I hope you’re having a wonderful day.
Linda Moon - February 17, 2020 5:51 pm
I’m happy that you have an Eternal butt, but I’m sorry to hear you don’t like Bourbon. I do. Lots of us, whoever we are, know how to ride a bucking mule, and sometimes our butts can get real sore from it. Your columns that bounce off walls make my aching butt, and heart, feel better. ……”For God So Loved”…. Thank you for quoting God to us. I love you, Mister, and I’ll be giving you a Big Hug pretty soon!!
Vivian Brown - February 17, 2020 5:56 pm
Sean, today it sounded like you were talking straight to me. And I really needed it! You are so special…you restore my faith in the human race. Is God whispering in your ear? Love you!
Linda Chipman - February 17, 2020 6:33 pm
Thank you Sean. You sure can make a body feel loved.
Denise DeVries - February 17, 2020 6:54 pm
WOW. I’m crying , for a little tubby redheaded boy , & for the scrawney girl with stringy hair sitting in the corner. Depression doesn’t have to be clinical to be real.
turtlekid - February 17, 2020 7:02 pm
So happy you know HIM. Wish my three grown sons would recognize the comfort of having that peace and love in their lives. I bought your “Stars” book on an audio disc and loved listening to it while I quilted. I think I will do the same for the “Circle” book. Grateful that God put you on this planet to give smiles to the rest of us creatures. We are all so unique, but you manage to connect with all of us.
Kim R - February 17, 2020 7:14 pm
and the tears are falling…it’s been a rough day so far, this first day of “Kindness Week” and I appreciate your reminder of how it feels to be human. I am so thankful for my God who does sure love me. And for guys with talents like yours to observe and share.
jnearen2013 - February 17, 2020 7:35 pm
Love you back God (and you too Sean). Jim
Chasity Davis Ritter - February 17, 2020 8:06 pm
I needed this today thanks. Dear God, I love you too! And please watch over my friend Sean and his family. Amen.
catladymac - February 17, 2020 8:11 pm
Well, Sean, my Dad died unexpectedly when I was 11. So I’ve been there. Hard to carry oon sometimes, but what else can you do?
Melanie - February 17, 2020 10:12 pm
Nancy Morse - February 17, 2020 11:57 pm
I wait until evening to read your column, so I can read the comments as well. All the love shared back and forth.
Love, Nancy M
Mary Lou - February 18, 2020 1:18 am
I felt like you wrote this for me today Sean. I lost my 40 yr old sister to lung cancer on this day 10 years ago. On this same day one year later my mother died after a long illness but I know my mother picked this same date to be reunited with my sister. So February 17th has been a heartbreaking day for me. I just want to say thanks for thinking about me today.
P.S. I am an Ohio Yankee but lived in SW GA for 20 years and your posts sure make me miss the South.
Trent Brown - February 18, 2020 1:37 am
I really enjoy all your columns. I’m from LA (lower alabama) and I am a simple man . I’m not good with gadgets and such but I can relate to your stories so much. This one got me good, I had to wipe my eyes a couple of times . I just got a soft spot for kids. Keep up the good work and thanks for thinking about all of us! We love you too!
Mark - February 18, 2020 3:10 am
That is awesome! Thank you.
Denise DeVries - February 18, 2020 1:29 pm
I hope you realize how loved you are, by God and by us.
Neil Mathews - February 18, 2020 1:58 pm
My father and I were estranged for many years, for some time it felt like death, he was just not there. I missed him. I did not have a father/son relationship, and depression was my companion. So, thank you for letting your readers (and me) that you love them. God promises to always, always be with all of us. Scripture of that promise Matthew 28:20 – “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Carolyn Huggins SC - February 18, 2020 3:27 pm
Thank you; I love you, too!
I iust read your post for 17th…with cup of hot tea in my
‘good ‘ hand.Slippery shoes sent me flying down my stairs this past week..and lets just say I didn’t make an olympic 10 landing. I’m a very energetic “Nana” who doesn’t do well with broken bones nor imposed sitting on the sidelines, but I’m a writer and the mishap didn’t break my mind nor my writing hand. So, banged up as I am, there are always things to be thankful for, and I have been “counting them”; it is truly amazing the things we take for granted!
I just wanted to thank you for “seeing me” sitting here sipping my cup of hot tea, feeling a bit “down-in-the-dumps”—reading your words made me smile!
Penny Tillery - February 20, 2020 12:51 pm
This one gave me a warm feeling all over. I had surgery yesterday on my right hand. I prayed hard and everything went great. I needed to hear God loves me now I know I’m going to have a full recovery. Thank you and God loves you too
maryann fannin - February 21, 2020 10:44 pm
I’m sure glad you’re thinking of me. Don’t worry about those people that didn’t like your God comment. As our preacher always says, “I’m sure three of y’all don’t agree with me.”
Phillip L Johnson Sr - February 22, 2020 9:58 pm
Sean, I am certainly not God, but I have a personal knowledge of and with the Christian God. Your writings have been appropriate enough with human truth that emulates what God has taught us that I have posted, on several occasions, a full copy of your daily blog on our church FB page. My church is Episcopalian…that is to say your writing had to worthy to be posted there. Thanks for all you do…May God’s Peace be with you.
Karen - March 23, 2020 2:31 am
I sure love you, Mister Sean. Thanks for loving us.
Donna McPherson - March 23, 2020 2:37 pm
Been a long life full of those cloudy days you mentioned. I think that is why my eyes and sometimes ears search for the tiniest bits of beauty. People and things that can make me smile are priceless. You are priceless. Love you right back!