“Never Alone” the Story of a Miraculous God
Sometimes the backstory of a book is almost as interesting as the contents. Such is the case with Never Alone: Present from Birth and Beyond. Released in early April by a regional publisher in southern Ohio, this spiritual memoir highlights the ways a good friend, Romey Swanson, has seen God move in miraculous ways in his life.
As the editor who also wrote the foreword, I naturally have a favorable opinion of it.
Still, my familiarity with the author and his life shouldn’t detract from the reality that it’s a great book.
Having first met in 1990, Romey and I got to know each other more closely when I helped him craft his first book in 2008-09.
It was an account of how God healed his marriage. And, then, gave Romey the strength to withstand his wife’s slow decline as she suffered from early-onset dementia.
She died 11 years later at the age of 65.
Writing about their relationship proved to be great therapy for Romey.
Later, he wrote an account of how God drew him and a previous acquaintance together as husband and wife. They will soon celebrate their tenth anniversary.
After we finished that project, Romey talked about wanting to do a book about some of the ways he had seen God work in his life.
He mentioned a few possible stories.
“Romey, if you want a real book, you’ll have to come up with at least 10 chapters,” I replied. “It has to be substantial enough that folks will want to read it.”
Glancing back with a somewhat overwhelmed and perplexed look, he replied, “How am I going to do that?”
The answer slowly unfolded over the next two years. I coached him on a few possibilities, and he put on his thinking cap and did some hard work (and prayer).
Romey thought and wrote. I edited and revised. He rewrote and I re-edited.
Back and forth we went, with me marveling at the way his initially vague recollections turned into a masterful testimony.
It’s one that holds together as a coherent tale instead of a collection of individual, random stories.
I had completed my rough edits of a couple chapters when he sent me one titled “A Miraculous Birth.”
As soon as I finished my first review of it, I told him: “This is chapter 1.”
It is fascinating to read the encompassing detail that Romey includes about his childhood.
Born into what many would call poverty-stricken circumstances, he relates the kind of minutiae and recollections that are the stock of great literature.
Not only does he recount the circumstances of his family’s background, he does so against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II that were part of his formative years.
One More Try
Then comes the kicker. When Romey was in his early 50s, his father shared with him that he had been stillborn.
After several attempts at smacking him to life, the doctor shook his head and said, “There’s nothing more I can do.”
Romey Swanson Sr. turned around and prayed that God would give life to his son, and promised to raise him to serve the Lord. Then he turned back and asked the doc to give it “one more try.” What followed were several “waaa’s!”
That’s where the subtitle came from. Once Romey learned the circumstances of his birth—which he confirmed with two older sisters—he knew why he had felt that someone had always been watching over him.
The Miraculous God who had brought him back to life has walked with him ever since.