My friend Karen Kingsbury, the author, sent me the most wonderful suggestion for a story the other day.
It’s about woman named Hope Painter, from Lebanon, Pennsylvania and her nine-year old son, Kingston.
Hope was in lower Manhattan on that fateful Tuesday morning -- 15 years ago.
She was being evacuated when the second plane hit the World Trade Center towers. She saw things -- unspeakable things -- that caused her unimaginable trauma.
The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months yet Hope was unable to escape from the memories of September 11, 2001.
Years later, someone gave her a copy of Karen’s novel about the events of that day called, “One Tuesday Morning.” It’s a story about sacrifice and redemption.
That book saved Hope’s life. She was finally able to emerge from the shadows of where those two towers once stood.
Now, some folks might wonder how a novel -- a work of fiction -- could have such a dramatic impact on a person’s life. To truly understand the answer to that, you should consider reading a Karen Kingsbury novel.
When Kingston was about five-years-old, Hope told her son about “One Tuesday Morning” -- about how that book made such a profound impact on her life.
So moved, the little boy felt compelled to use his birthday money to buy a few copies of Karen’s book.
On the anniversary of the attacks, he joined his mother at Ground Zero and gave the books away to strangers.
Every person he encountered received a book, a smile, and a handwritten note:
“Jesus told me to give you this book. Always remember…God loves you always. Love, Kingston.”
And oh, the stories that have resulted from Kingston’s efforts.
Karen tells me that one lady had her hand on a friend’s name at the 9/11 Memorial when suddenly she felt a child tapping on her arm. It was Kingston.
“The woman read the book all the way home and the clouds of darkness lifted,” Karen said. “Once home, she looked me up and wrote to me. She said she had never heard of me before and wondered if I could help her find the little boy.”
“She said the book changed her life,” Karen told me.
Three years later, Kingston is still using his birthday money to buy copies of that book and on Sunday he will once again make the trek to lower Manhattan with his mother.
But this time, the little boy will be giving away nearly 300 books. You see, Karen told her readers about Kingston’s project and they generously donated additional copies.
Among those donating a case of books was the lady Kingston first encountered two years ago at the Memorial.
“Kingston loves New York City and he doesn’t want anyone to be hurting the way I was hurting before I read Karen’s book,” Hope said. “He believes the book will help anyone. The way it helped me.”
On Sunday in the midst of great sorrow and sadness a little boy will share a story of rebirth -- a story of how Hope found redemption one Tuesday morning.