book The Healing Tree.
In the tradition of The Christmas Box and The Five People You Meet in Heaven,
Joe Tye’s new book The Healing Tree is a heart-warming story
that also includes an important life lesson. After a speeding
drunk driver plowed into her car, killing her husband and smashing
her legs, Carrie Anne Murphy looked down upon her broken body
from a high corner of the emergency room as the trauma team fought
desperately to save her life. When she made the decision to come
back, Carrie Anne had no idea how much pain she would have to
endure. She also could not have dreamed of the blessings that
this tragedy would bring into her life – if she could only endure
Fortunately, Carrie Anne doesn’t have to cope alone. Mysterious Maggie, the hospital’s
poetry therapist and mermaid for drowning souls, helps Carrie
Anne reclaim her soul and find her voice. Losing her legs, Carrie
Anne discovers, was what it took for her to stop running away
from a dream that had been chasing her since she was in ninth
grade – the dream of sharing her heart in the words of her poems.
unique feature of this book is the original poetry of both
Maggie and Carrie Anne.
Excerpt from the book:
You know the feeling you get when you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight,
eyes straight ahead, minding your own business, and you can somehow
tell that the person in the adjacent car is staring at you? That’s
what it was like the first time I met Maggie. I’d been lying
in my hospital bed staring at the clouds that never moved and
the birds that didn’t fly, wondering if Mark was really up there
somewhere beyond that fake sky, waiting for me to join him. Her
voice came to me as a whisper in the woods.
“Would you like to hear
Who knows how long she’d been standing there
at my bedside waiting for the right moment to ask me that question.
my head to the left, I tried to make my eyes refocus. She
was thin as a darning needle and had the wildest mane of
I’d seen outside of the zoo or a Dr. Seuss book. A redheaded
dandelion with mint green eyes and the smile of a two-year-old
who’s just been given an ice cream cone.
I squinted to see
what was written on her T-shirt. When was the last time you
did something for the first time?
I got the impression it was a struggle for her to stand
in one place without vibrating, and that the last time
for the first time was about five minutes ago. “My poem?”
“Yeah. It’s one of the benefits of being a
patient at Memorial Hospital. Room service poetry readings.”
She opened the pink journal that had been tucked under her arm
and held it in front of her, like one of those carolers you see
in the Christmas pictures.
“So, you must be Maggie.” I stated
Maggie flushed crimson and put her hand over
her mouth, then touched my arm. “Oh, I’m sorry! I should have
introduced myself. I’ve been here so many times
– but you were always
She laughed and her eyes sparkled and the room
must have warmed up
by ten degrees. “Yeah, I’m Maggie. I’m one of
volunteers here. I specialize in writing poems for
patients.” She gave
me a conspiratorial wink. “That’s why I can get
away without wearing
one of those stuffy volunteer uniforms – they
expect poets to be weird, you know.”
I shrugged. “I’ve never met
a real poet before. So I guess I wouldn’t know.”
Maggie laughed again. “Oh, I’m not a real poet.”
She leaned closer and half-whispered, “I’m
really a mermaid.”
“A mermaid!” I didn’t know whether to laugh
or press the nurse call button, since the
obvious option of
running away was not
open to me.
“Yes,” she replied, evidently
pleased with having elicited the desired reaction. “You
I nodded, even though
it was news to me that mermaids rescued drowning sailors.
“I rescue drowning
“You rescue drowning souls?”
“Yeah. There are lots of people drowning
here. Drowning in pain and despair,
drowning in hopelessness
self-pity. My poems
are life preservers for drowning
souls. Just a little something they can hang
to keep them
You know, until they can swim on
their own again.” Maggie looked
down into the pages of her pink journal,
at me. “Do you want to hear your
poem?” She said it as though
a real live mermaid in your hospital
room was no big deal.
I nodded. “Sure, Maggie. Read me
She smiled, closed her
eyes for a second as if composing herself,
She cleared her throat
and tried to look serious. Then
Make welcome the unwelcome
Let her in through the hole in
Let go for a time what you
Trust in God’s
time a new path will unfold.
When you’re lost in the waves
you can’t see the beach;
when your soul has been splintered
help seems beyond reach.
So open your heart to the terror
Give new wounds time
to become ancient scars.
Sing for yourself the
songs of your sadness,
share with new friends
the words of your hope.
snow in the mountains
will melt in the spring;
and angels on earth fly
with invisible wings.