An Unexpected Gift

See full size imageA friend once told me that he never got disappointed because he had no expectations. That’s an interesting theory and one I’ve come to adopt myself in light of certain unpredictable situations like cocktail parties and book festivals.  So, I wasn’t completely disappointed that sales were lower than low at the Collingswood event this month. And although I had gone there with some desire to sell books,  I came home with  empty pockets and a blessing—a bit of grace and wisdom which tends to show up in my life (and maybe yours) at the most unexpected of times, in the most unlikely places. This day, it showed up in the person of Thomas E. Pierce.

Pierce is the author of The Last Rose—A True Celebration of Eternal Life.  I was captured by the kindness of Thomas and his wife Lillian, as they offered to share their tent with me if the skies opened. But I was truly captivated as the author explained his book to me. Five years ago, you may remember the news story about the Baltimore Water Taxi that was struck with an unexpected gust of wind that flipped the boat over in Baltimore Harbor.  That day, Pierce lost his wife of 37 years and his 35 year old daughter.  As he so bluntly put it, “What’s an overweight, bald man in his 60’s supposed to do now?”

One of the many things he did was to write and write and write. He wrote about the events, his feelings and finally, what led to the publication of his book, his faith trail, which led him through the darkest of times, the unknown and the unexpected, as his life began to take on a whole new direction. He met with priests, old friends and with a ‘medium’ who brought Pierce visions of the past, the future and an uncanny  foreshadowing of names, numbers, coincidences and connections which seems to invisibly guide us to the place where we need to go.

So Tom, who brought his wife one yellow rose each month on the date of their anniversary, for 37 years lost her unexpectedly, in a most tragic way—and his daughter too. Yet today, he is happily remarried, to the first girl  who caught his eye as a school boy in Philadelphia—-the girl the ‘medium’ brought to his attention during their session. Lillian, who had moved west many years earlier, was newly widowed herself. She lost her husband after many years of marriage, and returned to New Jersey. The two reconnected, and Lillian actually had to leave early that day, for a school reunion with ladies she’s known for decades. Tom’s other daughter  Kathy, is married with two young girls—-seemingly, the lights of Tom’s life which keep him going and laughing.

So, Tom gave me a copy of his book and a reality check that day—something we all need when we tend to get caught up in the minutia of our lives. And I gave Emily and Kayla—his young grandaughters,  copies of my children’s books. Tom’s message is summed up in the line “All the kindness a person puts out into the world works on the hearts and thoughts of mankind.” He’s right. It worked on me that day, and reminded me to pass it on.

 

Chrysa Smith

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3 Comments

  1. October 5, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Chrysa, he must have seen a kindred spirit in you — someone who appreciates a stranger’s backstory and the little gasps in life that a lot of other people don’t hear. I enjoyed reading about Tom and it’s so nice to hear a happy ending once in a while!

  2. October 6, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Beautiful.

    I needed some uplifting today.

    Thank you.

  3. October 6, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Oh what a lovely story. I needed that. Thank you.


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