An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler,a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny
A woman I had just met said she knew I would love this book. She took my address, so she could mail it to me. To my surprise, the book arrived in the mail just a couple days later. How often have you said you’d do something like that and then actually done it? Please tell me that I’m not the only person with good intentions but doesn’t always follow through!
Anyway, this book arrives at my house, and I placed it on top of the stack of books on my nightstand. I felt an obligation to read this book, since she had taken such an effort to get it to me. And I’m glad I did.
The Basic Story
An Invisible Thread tells of the life-long friendship between Laura Schroff, a busy sales executive, and Maurice, a disadvantaged young boy, and how both of their lives were changed by what began as one small gesture of kindness.
She was a successful ad sales rep in Manhattan. He was a homeless, eleven-year-old panhandler on the street. He asked for spare change; she kept walking. But then something stopped her in her tracks, and she went back. And she continued to go back, again and again. They met up nearly every week for years and built an unexpected, life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost three decades.
Why I Liked It
I’m not a huge fan of overly sentimental books or movies, but this was not that kind of book. In real life, people are complicated and sometimes do good things and sometimes do bad things. An Invisble Thread doesn’t shy away from the complexity of human relationships, and Laura shares the good, bad, and ugly of her own family and Maurice’s family. She reveals the ups and downs of her friendship with Maurcie and when she could have made better decisions. There aren’t heroes and villians in this book, just people doing their best.
Nor is the book an idealistic ploy to get you to invite every kid you walk past home for dinner. What struck me about her story was not just the courage it took turn around and invite Maurice to dinner- and it did take a lot of courage. But it was the source of that courage that touched me. Her courage came from listening to herself. Something inside her told her to stop and go talk to this young kid in dirty clothes. She listened. She continued listening to herself when her friends cautioned her about involving herself in the life of a young man with a troubled home. It isn’t always easy to listen to yourself through the noise of other people’s voices and the clamor of our own fear, and I believe listening to yourself is fundamental to Living Generously.
Maurice’s life today shows the impact of Laura’s courage. It wasn’t easy for him, but he’s grown into a successful man and father who is making a difference in the world, and yet that was not a guarantee. Given his family and economic situation, Maurice could have become a crime statistic, and the story of their friendship confirms what we all know deep inside: connecting with a fellow human being changes the world.