Jim's Blog

Miracles & Answered Prayers : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan


You may have seen this story in the news this past week.  A neighbor said the five year old boy’s guardian angel saved him.  Others said that the tree in which he landed slowed his fall and gently dropped him to the ground.  I say both!  Miracles happen all the time but rarely are they reported or caught on camera,  It’s no secret the media BoyFallsScrooged2focuses on bad news but you really can’t blame them.  That’s what people want to see.  Nothing drives ratings like fear.  In the movie Scrogged television network exec Bill Murray says, “”I don’t just want people to watch the upcoming Christmas special, I want them to be scared to miss it!”  And it’s true.  The ratings really soar in a drawn out news story with life and death on the line.  A freaked out father kidnaps his own son and heads for the West Coast and the media loves it because it’s a continuing story.  There’s a can’t miss update every night.  Or if there is a cave-in in a mine somewhere and it takes several days to dig the poor guys out.  People are glued to their set to see if they make it. But good news is usually saved for the smiling wrap up at the end of the broadcast,  It’s like, “Well, the world is falling apart, but this nice thing still happened.”  The truth is that good things happen every day.  We just don’t hear about them.


BoyFall3After the 5-year-old boy got up and walked away from his seven story fall, neighbor Anne Varela told CBS Boston station WBZ, “An angel caught him with the tree.”  The boy was leaning on a screen at the Captain’s Cove condos, in Quincy, Massachusetts, when he fell, according to police.  His fall was broken by a tall tree before he hit the ground. Another resident of the building, Muhammad Khan, said he heard the boy tumbling by his window. “I heard something by my window and it fell down really fast, so I thought it was something random so I just ignored it, and then a few seconds later I heard a lady screaming at the top of her lungs and I saw a kid on the ground and I was like, oh my God, a kid fell.” Khan added, “Then I went back to the balcony and then I actually saw the kid get up, and he started walking.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 8,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every day. That is almost 2.8 million kids a year. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children and teens.  Erecting barriers such as window guards and making sure young children are supervised can help prevent life-threatening falls.  The boy in this case never lost consciousness and was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital. “It is really like a miracle, I think his guardian angel was definitely there,” said Kathy Hogan, a neighbor. ”

Ed O’Connor, another neighbor who saw the fall, said, “They neck-braced him up. He was screaming so that was a good sign. His lungs were good — that’s all we knew at the time.”

Last month, another Massachusetts boy survived tumbling from a second-story window when a stuffed animal broke his fall.  Doctors say the 5-year-old in the latest incident is expected to be fine..

BoyFallsScrooged1Many of us have experienced an answer to prayer that really can’t be explained away.  I’ve had many such experiences.  It seems that most answers to prayer are over a long period and, as such, are easily questioned by others and I’ve had some amazing examples of those, but I’ve had some unusual and very specific answers to prayer as well.  For example, my mother passed away in 2003 and she had moved here from Wichita a few months before because at 93, she knew it was her time and she wanted to be buried next to my dad at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Kankakee. When I picked her up in Wichita, my brother gave me a bank deposit pouch that contained all her insurance policies. Some of these were old Prudential policies from the 30s. My brother had kept them faithfully safe all for 36 years. I put them in a safe place, but when we had to put my Mom in the nursing home where my wife worked, I had to bring the papers down to show them. That was the last time I remembered seeing them. In the next two months I had carted around dozens of teenage boys. I had a basketball time at the College Church gym every week and I had both an all black and an all white team in the high school intramural program. I never gave the papers a second thought. I had also moved my office at this time so I really had no idea where that pouch had gone. Since the days of the teen center, kids didn’t steal from me. Not so much out of gratitude but out of fear for what the other kids would do to them if they found out. Well, my precious mother started to slip away. She who had inspired me to be great as a child. She who convince me I could do anything. Anything maybe except find these insurance papers which my brother had kept faithfully for 36 years and I had lost in two months. The nursing home said I better get all her insurance stuff together because she was going to pass any day. I couldn’t find that pouch anywhere. Finally, I was headed down to Pauley’s to see a friend of mine’s band play and on the way there I prayed as follows: “Lord I need these papers. I need them now. I don’t know how you can do it but I need them now…tonight.”

I went into the restaurant and sat down out on the patio. I was there about ten minutes when a woman I had never seen before asked me if I was James Riordan. I said I was and she said, “My Dad works for the railroad and he was walking along the tracks a month or so ago and he found this pouch. It had some papers with your name on it and we’ve been trying to reach you, but never could get your number.” I told her the pouch was indeed mine and made arrangements to pick it up from her house the next day. Praise God!

Another outrageous answer to prayer came when I lost my wallet for a few days. The last time I remembered having it was around midnight at the all night Shell gas station at River and Washington. I remember setting it on top of my car. Of course the parking lot at the all night Shell is about the worst place to leave your wallet. I prayed about finding it for a few days. I went to the Shell and other places but no such luck. I was donating most of my time and money to helping people in those days and I really got upset about losing the wallet. While driving I shouted out, “Lord, with all I’m doing to help people, you should put that wallet in the palm of my hand!” Of course, getting angry at God is not always wise, but He understands. That night I had acid indigestion late in the night and reached for my tums, but knocked them off of the nightstand by mistake. I reached under the bed to look for them and my hand grasped my wallet. God had put it in the palm of my hand.  Now this is the point where many of you would scoff.  Sure, it is likely that the wallet had fallen out of my pants a few days before. Maybe the rest if all coincidence.  That is a matter of faith.  To me the timing of my finding the wallet was an indication that once again, God had answered a prayer in a very dramatic way.

The media is never going to acknowledge the existence of God (or even “a higher power”) and you will never find Him unless you actively look for Him by opening your mind to the possibility.  Then there is the question of good and evil.  Does God cause everything to happen or does He allow man to have free will.  Mankind has a clear tendency for to take advantage of the week and a twisted propensity for cruelty.  I wrote a song once called “So You Don’t Believe in the Devil”.  One of the lines was “Then who stabs a child forty times?”  It’s crazy to look for justice in a kingdom ruled by men.  As a great rock music philosopher once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might just get what you need.” It is rare that real Faith is just handed to you, but if you look sometimes you might just see the hand of God.







The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com. Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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