Karen Kingsbury's Inspiring Encounter on the High Line

A chance meeting even this beloved novelist could never have imagined

By Karen Kingsbury, Nashville, Tennessee

As appeared in

I’ve been writing novels for more than 15 years, and I’ll admit it: My imagination can run pretty wild sometimes! I see the stories come to life in my mind way before I ever get them on paper–envisioning the characters and the twists and turns they’ll take on their personal and spiritual journeys.

Then last year something unexpected happened in my own life, something so incredible that even I couldn’t have imagined it.

I’d gone to New York City to meet with my publisher. My daughter, Kelsey, and her husband, Kyle, came with me because they wanted to see the city.

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It was a glorious autumn afternoon. Kelsey, Kyle and I were walking on the High Line–a park built on a historic elevated railroad line above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

That morning I’d had a dream-come-true meeting with my publisher. My novel The Bridge had become an overnight best seller and they’d signed me to a 10-book deal! I felt so blessed, especially to be able to celebrate with Kelsey and Kyle.

Yet, standing there on the High Line, looking up at the bright blue sky, all I could think was, I wish I could tell Dad about all this.

My father had passed away six years earlier. He was my rock. My very first and biggest fan.

“Have I told you lately that I love you, Dad?” I whispered. That was Dad’s favorite song–the Rod Stewart version of “Have I Told You Lately.” He’d called me the first time he’d ever heard it.

“This song is how I feel about you, Mom, our whole family,” he said. “Whenever you hear it I want you to know that I love you.” I was surprised. Dad wasn’t usually into pop music. But the more I listened to Rod’s distinctive raspy voice belting it out, the more I understood what Dad meant.

“Have I told you there’s no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles, that’s what you do.” When one of us heard the song, we’d call the other. Sometimes we’d hear it when we were together and Dad would give me a wink.

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“I can’t say it any better than Rod,” he’d say. The song was that powerful for us. It connected us. So much so that my family had the title engraved on Dad’s headstone.

Not long after Dad died, I began to hear our song at odd but significant moments. Like when my husband, Don, and I were driving home from watching Kelsey and our oldest son, Tyler, in the opening-night performance of the school play–the kind of occasion Dad wouldn’t have missed for the world–and the second we turned on the car radio, there it was.

Or when we took our first family vacation to the Bahamas without Dad. I stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the sparkling sea. “Oh, Dad, you would’ve loved this!” I said. Then I heard a familiar melody.

I looked down onto the deck below and the Bahamian band had switched from playing island music to–yes, you guessed it–“Have I Told You Lately.”

Now here I was, at one of those moments when I knew Dad would have been so proud of me, and I couldn’t share it with him. I missed him more than ever. Lord, I prayed, please tell Dad that I love him.

“How ’bout we take some pictures?” I said to Kelsey and Kyle, hoping to distract myself from missing Dad. “We’ve got this amazing view of the Hudson from up here.”

I pulled out my camera and took some shots of Kelsey, then of her and Kyle together. I wanted to get one of the three of us. I was stretching my arm out, trying to hold the camera far enough away so we were all in the frame, when a man and a woman walked up.

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“I can help take your picture,” the man said to us. He was older than me, dressed stylishly in a sweater and jeans. He had a slight accent. Australian? English? He was a tourist like me, probably. “Would that be okay?”

“Yes!” I said. “Thank you so much.”

“Just show me how to use the camera,” he said.

Kelsey walked over and showed him which button to press, then we got into place again.

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Your Comments (27)

I have only been reading your books for a few years now but I love them. Someone at work brought in the 911 series and I read them and I was hooked. I have only found one other author that I would ever rank as high as you and that would be Nicholas Sparks. I have read almost all of your books(and his),(I started from the beginning) and when it is a series I get them all first (if their available)and start reading. I hate to put them down. Needless to say I don't get much housework done when I am reading any of your books. I love you and I love your books. Keep writing with the best of health, happiness and love. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

I have lost track of your latest book so can you tell me the last 5 titles so I can make sure I have them on my kindle. I am friends with you on Facebook so maybe I can keep up with it from now on. I guess I got lost since I haven't heard anything lately. You are my favorite author. I'm so glad you got signed for 10 more books. Looking for something to read right now that I haven't already read. Love in Christ, Linda Roberts

Hi Linda. Your best bet might be to check out Karen's website. You'll find info on all her books there. http://www.karenkingsbury.com/books

I love Karen Kingsbury novels, this really touches my heart. I know my wonderful mother sends me messages from the other side. God bless you for believing and acknowledging them.

How beautiful! My mother used to say the same to me, "Have I told you lately that I Love you". I'm not even sure she heard or knew about Rod Stewart's song. She passed away in June,1996, just one day after my birthday. I still say she held on one more day! I truly know how you feel. God is so good to us and our loved ones will always be with us! Keep on writing and sharing your meaningful inspirations!

HI Karen I enjoyed reading about your touching experience.I am an amish wife and mother, we have 2 daughters and 1 son, and a little daughter Judy in heaven.Our dear Lord took her home when she was almost eight.She had cystinosis, a rare kidney disease.And oh how I miss her so very much.I had a very beautiful vivid dream one night[Jesus, angels,golden crowns etc.that i would like to write about and have it published,to help,if it could millions of people.I believe God gave it to me to help me and our family through our pain and sorrow. If only I knew how to go about it. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings Eileen

Oh wow. Karen, you are one of my absolutely favorite writers. This story touched my heart so much!!

God is so awesome! :)

Hi Karen, I am from Syracuse, NY, the mother of 6 children the youngest one who is 26 has Down syndrome. We are blessed to have a cabin in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains where I am right now. I just finished reading "This side of Heaven" which I enjoyed very much. I found the book on our bookshelf a couple of weeks ago, not sure how it got there
but for some reason it was meant to be. I plan to read more of your books very soon. Thanks for some good reading. Kathy Schwanke

I just recently discovered you. Can you believe that what with all the books you have written? I just wanted to let you know what a blessing your books have been to me. I hope to read everything you have written as the ones I have read so far have meant so much to me. Thank you for using this gift God has given you.

God has done the same with me using Chariots of Fire

God is so good!! Please your next book..PLEASE!!!!!!

I love your books and have read almost all of them !!! I can't wait till the next one comes out I saw the next one is due out at the end of October. Keep writing ,Karen!!! Your books are amazing and very encouraging,. I take notes out of them and use them to share at my recovery groups!!!

This was a really uplifting story I really needed to hear this, because we no that miracles still happens..Blessing to all of your family and I love all of your books, you are an awesome writer & can tell you are a christian woman of God.

What a fabulous story & testimony!
God never misses an opportunity to bless us and amaze us, if we just pay attention.
This is a very heart warming story!
Thank you for sharing!

God has been trying to help me let go of something good for something better. It is risky and requires sacrifice. You just reminded me He sees and knows our heart's desires and He loves us enough to orchestrate the details of our lives to show us.

What an awesome story. I lost my Dad in 2009. He was a Baptist Minister and raised me in a Christian Home. My Dad was my Hero and I miss him so much. I was the boy he never had. I was the one who went fishing, hunting, frog gigging, I didn't care as long as I was with him. Several months after Dad died I had a dream which I realized was not a dream at all. My Dad came to me in my sleep to tell me he loved me. I could feel him, touch him even smell him and though it was only for a moment, I have been at perfect peace since.

I love your books. Reading them brought my MOM out of her depression after Dads death. Thank you for such wonderful books. I feel like I know your characters. They are friends of mine if only in my mind.

Dear Karen
I have been so blessed to read the above story - 'Have I told you lately' - WOW how amazing is our God. This is a lovely story line for another book! How about it?
I have been so blessed by your books and have read most of them, some still to read. I particularly like that your choose one or two themes, so that by the time the books is read the reader has come to learn how to cope with a problem or if the reader is a personal worker the content has helped on how to deal with those specific problems. You give important Biblical truths as you weave them around stories that are so true to life.
I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and can't wait to read "15 minutes' I think the most amazing - actually all your books are amazing - but most profound is Unlocked. I just cannot put your books down once I start. THANKS KAREN FOR ALLOWING THE LORD TO WORK THROUGH YOU IN YOUR BOOKS TO TOUCH SO MANY LIVES - MAY OUR DEAR LORD BLESS YOU REAL GOOD! Also I am sure your dad is looking down at you from heaven and telling everyone up there that that's his daughter!

Such a precious story! Mine is not as dramatic, but I lost my dad a year ago in June. Daddy died after an accident but he had struggled with heart disease and had had multiple heart caths through the years. He said he'd been told that he and his siblings had very small coronary arteries. Daddy's birthday was Sept 5th and I always tried to make it to see him over Labor Day weekend. The Sept after his death in June, I spent Labor Day at the local hospital with chest pain and was sent for a heart cath a few days later. Daddy was so on my mind with being where he'd been so often, thinking of my own mortality, and missing him on his birthday and labor day weekend. I told the doctor what Daddy had said about the small arteries and as they injected the dye, I heard the doctor say, "Well, there are those small arteries she got from her dad." But all was well with my heart except needing to take some medication. I was relieved and as the words sunk in that all was well, Bob Seger's Like A Rock began to play over the stereo speakers in the room. That song was my song for Daddy--the lyrics are so him. So much so that I'd cross stitched a cowboy and had the lyrics done in calligraphy for him for Christmas one year. I began to weep, knowing that Daddy knew where I was and what was happening with me. God is so faithful to let us know His love. Thanks again for sharing such a great story!

Absolutely loved your amazing story about "Have I told you lately." My husband of 38 years will sometimes say, out of the blue, the same thing. Miss you so much in Vancouver.

I couldn't even get through that story without wiping my eyes and thanking God for the knowledge of Rod Stewart's confirmation of his faith. And of course, how very blessed you are to have divine coverage in every way. God bless

That story just made my day,about meeting Rod Stewart when you were missing your dad.Wow,God is so good to know what we need just when we need it.May God continue to inspire you with writing so I can enjoy reading them!!

Beautiful how God works in our lives! I have lost so many family members when they were way too young, a father, brother,sister all to leukemia, but the hardest and most heart-breaking was my granddaughter when she died suddenly and unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm at the age of 15. When we look back, we know she was a miracle child, the only one my son and his wife were able to have. The greatest love in her life was Jesus. From the age of 4, she tried to tell us she was only here for a short time. No one could have asked for a more wonderful child, and no one was around her for long without hearing of her love for her Savior. It sounds trite, but she so loved butterflies. There is on on her headstone. Every time I see one, I see her dancing and singing of Jesus, so I understand what your special moment meant to you.

Wow! This story is so touching! I love the mysterious ways God works! I'm also a big Rod Stewart fan and love that song. Thank you so much for sharing. Moved to tears!

What an awesome story!

He really does love us.... It is just so AWESOME when he reminds us in such a way! <3

Thanks for sharing your story. Currently my best friend, Shelley is losing her Mom, Sandy. Although we know that she will be with the Lord, letting go is not easy. I prayed for a miracle and God showed me that His Miracle can and could be that he is taking Sandy home...Miracles are beyond our understanding until it is our time to go home and be with the Lord. Please pray for peace and love to surround this family. I will truly miss Sandy
when the Lord takes her home.

Just so you know You Are Used.......my daughter and I were planning a trip to NYC when I recalled your story I JUST read from the EWC in Greenville this spring. I too believe God directs our paths for just those precious moments. Thank you for your writing and for sharing this today.........I am going to call my daughter right now! Blessings