Featured #TellHisStory Writers: Tim Kreider (with Shawn Smucker)

March 25, 2014 | 0 comments

#TellHisStory Storytellers Series


Story has the power to change the world, one paragraph at a time. I share this space, once a week, with some great storytellers I’ve met during my years of writing.

This week’s featured storytellers are Tim Kreider and Shawn Smucker. 

Be sure to come back Wednesday to link your own stories or photos with us in the #TellHisStory community.

Refuse to Drown (an excerpt)
by Tim Kreider (with Shawn Smucker

The counselor, Alec’s mother, and I watched him process this new information, trying to determine the next step in the discussion, but my son Alec began laughing quietly to himself and shaking his head. After a few seconds, he looked at me and waved his hand toward me.

“You need to get out of here,” he said.

“Just me?”

“Both you and mom.”

We sat in stunned silence, but the counselor spoke up.

“Perhaps the two of you should step out for a few moments and let me speak with Alec.”

We agreed. I wasn’t surprised that the conversation had gone this way, but I still had hope that we could work through it. I knew this represented yet another hurdle for Alec, so Diane and I waited patiently outside of the counseling room. I hoped the backwards step this brought about wouldn’t undo all the progress he had made in the last week.

We talked briefly about his reaction, how hard that first rejection can be, and what those crushes can be like. I understood the pain he might be feeling, and his disappointment didn’t surprise me. We speculated as to what else he might be feeling, but besides that, we sat quietly in some chairs just outside the office waiting to find out just how difficult it was going to be to get Alec over this new hurdle.

When the therapist opened the door, a grave expression covered her face.

“Could you come back in please?” she asked quietly.

I nodded, and we followed her back into the room. She moved slowly, tenderly, and her demeanor was drastically different. I immediately wondered what new, disturbing revelation Alec had shared. She sat down, and we took our seats. She leaned back, as if debating with herself on how to move forward.

“Alec has something to tell you,” she said, her hands in her lap, looking not at Alec, but at us. Her expression was filled with compassion but also fear, as if she was already hurting for us. These changes that took place in her were unnerving.

What could Alec have possibly told her? I wondered.

Everything I have told you so far in this story has been my effort to provide you with an understanding and picture of the events, emotions, and history leading up to this very moment. What I was about to hear changed the course of my life forever and tested me in ways I didn’t know possible, as a man and a father.

I looked at Alec, as if to encourage him to go ahead and say it.

He glanced at me, then at his mother, then back at me.

“I killed Kevin and his parents,” he said.

Refuse To Drown is the true story of a father’s despair and the type of

perseverance that can lead to hope and healing. You can find out more about the book at the Refuse To Drown Facebook page or website, and you can purchase the book on Amazon (in paperback or Kindle formats).


Tim Kreider is passionate about helping people find healing and wholeness. He shares his story at churches, businesses, youth groups and other gatherings, and he started a non-profit organization called Also-Me that encourages people not to live life alone. He lives in Womelsdorf, PA with his wife Lynn.Shawn Smucker is the author of eight books, including Dying Out Loud, How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp, and Building a Life Out of Words. He loves helping people share their stories. Shawn lives in Holtwood, PA, with his wife and four children, and he blogs at shawnsmucker.com

by | March 25, 2014 | 0 comments


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