Saturday, January 29, 2011

Prison wisdom on a skillet

Pride, virtually each Jessup prisoner in our Tuesday group will tell you, is the reason they're on the wrong side of the razor-wire fence. They're locked up for beating their wives, using crack, dealing crack, armed robbery, auto theft - the list runs on.
 Daily, they eat cold food, find themselves in minor fights with inmates, get shunned by guards, sleep 24 inches from a snorer, pick trash (gloveless) on roadsides, get mocked for their faith by radical Muslims and look for letters from loved ones that never come.
 They are the luckiest men in the world.
 Most will tell you that.
 They are being humbled.
 They know Jessup is precisely where God wants them.
 "I'm like a choice piece of steak on a skillet in here," said one enormous inmate with a booming smile recently. "God's the chef and he keeps checking on that steak of his, saying: 'Nah, not quite ready yet.' He knows when I'm cooked to perfection. He knows when his steak's just right. He knows when I'm ready to face the world." 
 Every day at work I meet with bricklayers, builders, architects, laborers, truck drivers, contractors. And on Tuesday night when I meet with 20 or so of these inmates, I am reminded of their heightening, jaw-rattling wisdom.
 Pride, they will tell you, was the root of their offense. They'll tell you pride had gotten into their bloodstream and they'd become an empire of self. Their rotten paradises - that seemed to have such high standing as they shucked and jived on the outside - doomed them. Pride was their killer.
 Satan, I believe gets high off our pride - more than anything else.
 Because he knows the cocky stridency of our dyed-in-the-wool humanity will eventually manhandle, degenerate and humilate us. He knows our pride can send us to hell.
 That's why these guys are so lucky.
 They're learning to be humble.
 As St. Augustine once asked: "Do you wish to rise?"
 "Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility."
 These 20 prisoners who keep coming back for scripture, the Eucharist, fellowship and animated talks, know that humility will be the key to lead them back to proper oneness with Christ. They know it's in reversing their pride that they can, alas, begin to reverse the damage they've done to their wives, friends, former bosses, strangers.
 Lucky, they'll tell you. Lucky.
 They're scratching and clawing to get back to God.
 And his graces are taking root. I see it. It's the coolest thing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book sighting/signing

This time two years ago I was in neuro ICU just starting a comeback after an arteriovenous malformation (my brain blew up one night) started to leak blood into my cerebellum.
Almost died.
Didn't die.
Prayers from thousands.
America. Middle East. Ireland. The Vatican.
From you.
God listened.
Lights. Popping. Everywhere.
Uncle Tommy lighting up the room again.
Well ... yesterday, I was handed my finished memoir - "Burst" - as a matter of fact, I was handed 150 of them - at a book signing the nice folks at the National Shrine arranged for me. Seated next to rock star Pro-Life padre Fr. Frank Pavone, I signed 80 or so books for family, friends, strangers and new friends who were in town for today's Pro-Life March. The store manager, Lee, said "we sold way more copies of your book than we thought we would. We were surprised."
 It was the first time I saw my book. It was wonderfully put together by my publisher, Servant Books.
 It was rather embarrassing signing my name on my memoir, but the promotions director from Servant has encouraged me to set up as many of these book signings, readings and radio and TV interviews as I'm able. "If you believe in your message in Burst - spread it. Everywhere," he said.
 And I do believe in the message: God speaks to us in our sufferings, perhaps more so than at any other time. And it is in embracing our crosses, no matter how large, that we will eventually find peace. God's postcards from heaven sometime land on us like manhole covers. Ironically, though, it's because he loves us. Ferociously. He just wants to be in better alignment with his will for us.
 Six people have told me they finished the book. Each has told me they cried and laughed. Three people said they picked it up and didn't put it down until it ended. I asked why they were lying. And they said they weren't lying. Man.
 Drawing emotion is a good thing. That's what I was taught early on in writing classes.
 God bless. Time to say prayers with Gabby, Sean and Shannon - we'll pray for all those unborn kiddies, among other things. Amen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

National Shrine book signing on January 23, 2011

                                                    Kevin signing his book
                                                      Kevin and children

New York Times best selling author Fr. James Martin's endorsement of Burst.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Book signing this Sunday

Kevin will be signing a limited number of books this Sunday, January 23 from 11-5 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Basilica is located at 400 Michigan Ave, Northeast, Washington, DC. Please come out and support Kevin and be one of the first to get a copy of his book!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Burst" Released Tomorrow - Jan 17, 2011

Hi folks,
 First-ever posting - a little wobbly here.
 A book I've written while recovering from brain surgery (I was bored while laying in bed) will be released by Servant Books tomorrow. I hope you'll see that "Burst - A Story of God's Grace When Life Falls Apart" is not a big boo-hoo session, but rather a memoir rich in (attempted) humor, animated story-telling, baseball, love, terror, laughter, Ireland, a giant named Tommy, a savior named Krista, graces and graces and graces - and a big, fat miracle at the end. A real miracle - not one of those, "Oh my goodness, it's a miracle! I found Sparky hiding in the basement after vanishing for 20 minutes."
 Christ's presence is on every page.
 For 10 years I was a sportwriter. Now I like to write about God stuff and my walk in my Catholic faith.
 I was an inch from death a short while ago. But God stretched out his arms and pushed back.
 I'm indebted. ...
 By the way, if you're in Washinton D.C. this Sunday (Jan. 23), the nice folks at the National Shrine have set me up for my first book signing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book coming:

Burst: A Story of God's Grace When Life Falls Apart

About this book: When a vine of vessels in his brain burst one ordinary evening, Kevin Wells' life took an unanticipated turn. The former sports journalist had dealt with infertility, adoption fraud, and the murder of his beloved uncle, Msgr. Tom Wells, but this was a new low. Wells fought back with good humor and persistent faith and offers hard-earned encouragement for those struggling through hard times and looking for a reason to hang on.