Physically, Tom Sullivan has been blind since berth. Throughout his life, however, the well-known 65-year-old author/entertainer has witnessed God’s grace and mercy to its fullest extent.
In his latest book As I See It, Sullivan explains how God helped him to see things from the inside out instead of the outside in. It has allowed him to find inner peace while coming to grips with his blindness.
“Most people live in a world in which they are looking at how others affect them, rather than how they affect others,” said Sullivan, who lists television shows like M*A*S*H, WKRP in Cincinnati to his acting credits along with a seven-year stint as a reporter on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“What matters is, am I operating in God’s likeness by taking a loving look at other people I meet? That’s how I have tried to live. It sounds cliché, but I was once blind and now I see.”
Sullivan admits his blindness produced a strong bitterness toward God early on. It disappeared after he was radically saved in 1973, shortly after his then 3-year-old daughter, Blythe, fell into the family swimming pool.
Sullivan, who was distracted by a phone call, dove into the pool but couldn’t find his daughter. After crying out to God for help, he heard air bubbles, then went down nine feet to found Blythe and was able to resuscitate her.
“I just looked up at heaven and asked, ‘How can this happen?’ Sullivan said. “You’ve given me everything—the girl of my dreams, a Harvard education and two beautiful children—and this child is going to die and it’s my fault? I told him if he would grant me this miracle, I would give Him my life.
“I heard the air bubbles. Anyone else wouldn’t have heard them; not because they couldn’t, but because they just wouldn’t. Miracles happen when ordinary people like you and me, through grace, do extraordinary things.”
Sullivan’s bride of 41 years, Patty, helped him to discover his faith.
“Tom is the most extraordinary man of passion, intelligence, and kindness that God could have gifted me with as my husband and best friend in life,” she said.
Sullivan engages in many activities that people of sight take for granted. He regularly enjoys downhill skiing and averages 90 for an 18-hole round of golf.
These days, he can be found on the lecture circuit, where he never misses an opportunity to tell others about Jesus.
“I’ve made the decision to articulate and witness my faith in front of these companies,” he said. “It’s not always favorably received by some companies because they say this isn’t the place for it. But, I’ve chosen to do it anyway. You have to keep putting it out there. That’s front-line faith.”
Sullivan wouldn’t see it any other way.