Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

 
 
Below is a *wonderful* story I found in the Parade section of our Sunday (1.27.13) newspaper -
 
 
 The Power of  "Thank You"
 
Views: Brad Meltzer on the Power of 'Thanks'
A Gathering Of The Troops -  Brad Meltzer (in black) visiting with troops stationed in Kuwait last October
 
 
A note from a service member sent this author on a journey that taught him one of life's most important lessons.


Shortly after 9/11, I got an email from a sailor stationed on a submarine. He had found one of my novels on the boat and was writing to say thank you for entertaining him.

The note struck me. If a novel could help take a service member's mind off things, I wanted to send many more books overseas. I called my publisher to see if we could make a donation to the USO.

"Sure," she replied, and we shipped off 10,000 thrillers. It was so easy, I called another publisher, and another. All in all, the USO delivered 40,000 books to troops. Fast-forward 11 years: I was on a USO tour with other authors last fall. We planned to visit eight bases in 10 days. About halfway through the trip, we were sharing stories with some soldiers in a briefing room when a dark-haired captain from Albuquerque turned to me and said, "I want to thank you for donating all those books."

"What do you mean?" I asked. I'd hardly told anyone about the donations.

The captain explained that 10 years ago, he'd found stacks of my novels in a makeshift library. I almost fell out of my chair. I had traveled there to "repay" the thanks from the sailor on the submarine. But here was this captain thanking me. For the next few hours, we hung out and played pool, marveling at one undeniable fact: There's nothing like the power of "thanks."

When I got home, I decided to track down the sailor from the submarine. I called him and tried to express how his note had touched me, but he seemed quiet, so I asked if he was okay. After a long pause, he told me that he'd lost his mother to breast cancer a few days earlier.

As the blood seeped from my face, I told him that my mother had recently died of breast cancer, too. Right then, I understood the real reason I was talking to him. "I think I'm supposed to give you a message," I said, my voice cracking. With that, I shared the most helpful piece of advice I'd received in the weeks after my mom passed: Our mothers never leave us. Ever.

I could hear him crying quietly on the other end of the line. More than a decade ago, this man's note had put me on a path that led me halfway around the world; later, it brought me back to him at the very moment he was in need. Sometimes we feel alone in the universe. But sometimes it is clear that we are profoundly connected.
 
 
---It's wonderful how a "thank you" came around full circle.   =)


6 comments:

suemac said...

Wow. That is a really moving story. Makes you think twice about the connections between all of us. I am doing a Pay It Forward since I received my gift from my quilty friend in Luxembourg. I would like to add you to the list of people I want to send a handmade gift to if it is okay with you.

Amys Crafty Shenanigans said...

That is so wonderful - I am crying. How amazing. People come into our lives for reasons not known at the time and how lovely that you were there for each other years later.

Chatty Crone said...

Wow that tugged at my heart. What an amazing story! We may never know why some people are in our lives and then sometimes we do find out . . .

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

What a great story. God moves in very mysterious ways, and this proves it.

desertskyquilts said...

That is a great story. I've long been convinced that God brings us who we need when we need them.

LimeRiot said...

I need a Kleenex!! What a special story, Annie. Thank you for sharing it. I'm passing the laptop to my hubby now so he can read too :).