It's probably fair to say that everyone wants to be liked.
We enjoy it when people are nice to us, and we get a pat on the back every now and then for a job well done.
But most of the time we really never know what the majority of people think of us. We know what our family and friends think, but as far as the rest of the community, that's tough to judge.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the passing of someone to find out how much they're appreciated.
Andy Barnes was someone most of us knew, either from attending Linton-Stockton High School sporting events or shopping at Angell's in the Linton Shopping Center.
Andy enjoyed rooting for "his" Miners, or sharing a smile and hello at Angell's.
Andy passed away Friday, and the outpouring of love for the man has been amazing.
Since Friday at around 5 p.m., the number of pageviews the story about Andy that was posted on this newspaper's Web site received was nearly double that of any other story from February.
To say Andy was loved by many would be a major understatement.
I'd like to share some of the comments from the Web site:
* "To my friend Andy, I love you and miss you. Unconditional friendship ... that is what he gave."
* "Playing Linton will not ever be the same without Andy on the sidelines."
* "He made everyone's day a little brighter and was a true friend. He will be sorely missed by everyone that had the opportunity to know him as a person. My condolences to his family and friends."
* "A note about my dear friend Andy Barnes: First I would like to say how lucky we all are to live in a small town full of loving people. We all lost a friend this past week. Had this been Indianapolis, just a scant few people and friends would have known of the loss and what a loss it has been. What I want to say is that yes, Andy was Linton Miners No. 1 most dedicated and devoted fan, but he also was a dedicated and devoted Christian. He belonged to the Faith Community Church in Dugger where he played a huge role in our church family. He sung in the choir, helped with communion and offering, was a door greeter, and believe it or not he sung a solo once or twice. Andy loved the Lord and served the Lord to the best of his ability. Now he is home with the Lord. Andy, tell John Booker, I said hello."
* "I have great memories of Andy at Faith Community Church, he was always happy and liked to sing in the choir. He always was for the Miners no matter what anyone said he would tell you that he was a true fan. I am sure that Andy is in heaven with our pastor John Booker that passed away in June 2008. I only wish that more people would be as happy as Andy was. I am very glad to have known Andy as a friend, and brother in Christ. Andy rest in peace"
* "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the whole community of Linton. This wonderful, special man will truly be missed. He will never know all the hearts he touched just by simply being a fan! Not only with the Linton Miners, but all the other Greene County schools as well. God Bless!"
* "If we could be a quarter of the person Andy was this world would be a better place. Andy will be greatly missed but never forgotten! We could never say enough about our No. 1 fan. May God be with the Barnes family during your loss."
Linton-Stockton baseball coach Bart Berns visited my office Monday morning, and he shared a few stories about Andy.
One thing he said really stood out. He mentioned that Andy loved to win like everyone else, but once the game was over for a few minutes, it was time for life to go on.
Andy might be upset after a 10-8 loss, but he was smiling and having a good time five or 10 minutes after the game.
What a great attitude!
Money, material things, and so-called "power" isn't what life is all about.
Andy knew what was important, and he shared it with others.
As you read the comments on the newspaper's Web site, I hope you notice that several people mention that Andy was a Christian and attended church.
God has a purpose for all of us, whether or not we want to accept it or not. For Andy, being nice, upbeat, friendly, and positive appeared to come naturally.
Yes, Linton and the Greene County community are better for having Andy Barnes as a member.
Maybe the next time we get upset over something silly, or we worry about something that really isn't that important ... think of Andy.