(Photo: Hattie Kauffman)
Just as I began to come out of my meditation, with my eyes still closed, I felt a palpable sensation of a hand touching the top right side of my head, the way a parent might touch a child in tender love. The warm pressure of the hand upon my hair cupped me just above my right temple. It was lovely and so real that I opened my eyes to see whose hand it might be…
- Hattie Kauffman, author of Falling into Place: A Memoir of Overcoming
Emmy-award winning news correspondent and first-time author Hattie Kauffman wants to make it clear that in her book, Falling into Place – A Memoir of Overcoming, she attempts to answer a question relatable to most everyone – what happens when life doesn't make sense anymore?
"It's about what happens when the floor falls out from beneath your feet," Kauffman told The Christian Post in a recent interview regarding her book. "All the things you think you built your life solidly upon are not solid. In that way, I think it's universal, I don't think that you have to be a believer to read it."
In her book, Kauffman turns her reporter's eye (four Emmy Awards after becoming the first Native American journalist to file a report on a national network evening news broadcast) on her own life, examining both pain and promise. From a Native American reservation to the Projects of Seattle, her parents struggled with poverty and alcohol abuse.
Although she said in a recent interview that she wants to be respectful of her parents, she did reveal that she and her siblings were often left alone for long periods of time. Once they travelled all over town - on their own - trying to find their aunt's apartment in hopes that she would take them in.
Kauffman told CP that in part of her book she describes an aching emptiness inside despite a successful career as a journalist. When her second marriage fell apart, she realized she could no longer ignore her childhood. Revisiting the chaotic early years, Kauffman remembered the one person who had been consistently kind through it all - the aunt who had cared for her and taught her the 23rd Psalm. As a hardened teenager, Kauffman had scorned the idea of "the white man's God." Slowly and tentatively, she began to recognize the redemptive work God had been doing throughout her entire life, ultimately coming to claim a faith of her own.
"To me it's about being shaken to the core and that made me go back and look at my childhood because those feelings that I was feeling during that divorce time, I realized were similar," she said. "I felt this before – the sense of what is going to happen next?"
Deborah Norville, anchor of Inside Edition and New York Times bestselling author, said "Hattie's story of how she 'made it' is the quintessential American success story. Only Hattie's childhood was so impoverished she couldn't afford the bootstraps to pull herself up with. I read, stunned by the challenges she has faced, impressed with her ability to overcome them and grateful for the lessons she has shared."
After searching for answers to her emptiness, and experiencing God in a very real sense, Kauffman, who is no longer behind the broadcast news desk, said she has found comfort in seeking God's will in her life.
"In my story, I do find solid ground and I do find that I was taken care of all along," she said. "I didn't need to run, hide, build a life, work so hard, try to make it on my own … I realized I was trying to create my own safety."
She writes, "I was free. Resting in God meant that I didn't have to scratch for every bit that might be due me. It was a revolution. The literal hunger for food that I had experienced in childhood had created in me a hyper-vigilance for sustenance and safety."
Kauffman told CP that this period in her life has been "a very valuable season to figure out what I want to do next."
"I would never have been able to finish this book if I were still doing day-to-day reporting," she said. Her book publicist adds, "It may have taken her half a lifetime, but Kauffman finally realized, 'The real provision was now inside me.'"
On the Web, http://www.hattiekauffman.com.